NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

Dr. Michael Q. Hooks, historian with dozen years' experience building and maintaining institutional archives, has been appointed archivist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Archives are the non-current records of government, business, other organization or, rarely, an individual -- something like the scientific data base collected by space mission, except that the materials are historical, economic or biographical rather than dealing with physics or geology.

"These records are part of JPL's memory," said Hooks. "They need to be both safe and retrievable." He believes that the first utility of institutional archives is to internal managers, but they are also valuable to historians and other scholars.

A Texan with degrees in American history and doctoral thesis on Texas urban history, Hooks worked with the Southwest Collection at Texas Tech University and then established the archives of the state's General Land Office. At JPL, he confronts about 40,000 cubic feet of documents. Some of these were catalogued and filed in the 1970s by JPL history office, but most remain treasure trove of about 50 years of the Laboratory's past.


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