The UC San Diego Library initiated the SDTA project and conducted its first oral histories because of the importance of San Diego’s technology development to the region and because of the significant role that UC San Diego played in that development.
The development of a thriving advanced technology sector in San Diego had at least three major components. The earliest consisted of the local civic leaders who, after World War II, were determined to create an environment that would encourage the continuation of wartime military-sponsored scientific research projects – particularly in aerospace, telecommunications, electronics, and materials. These civic leaders promoted zoning decisions to create ‘the mesa’ in La Jolla and Sorrento Valley as an environment conducive to research activities, promote the growth of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, enable the establishment of the Salk Institute, and of course, create the University of California San Diego. This environment was crucial for creating the second component: the establishment in La Jolla of a growing pool of remarkable scientific and engineering talent. In a synergistic way, this talent pool attracted other outstanding researchers to the region. These researchers built the academic departments at UC San Diego and the research institutes on the mesa, and in time launched their own private enterprises. These private ventures would not have been possible without capital investment, and this capital investment highlights the third crucial component: the availability of venture capital. Particularly from the 1980s forward, venture capitalists noted with growing interest the innovations emerging from diverse sources including the UC San Diego Medical School, Salk Institute, Scripps Research Institute, and the VA Hospital. These were innovations that enabled creative ideas to be transformed into tangible goods and services.
Now known internationally as a successful high technology hub, San Diego’s technology environment has become the focus of scholars and researchers who wish to understand how such clusters emerge and flourish. The SDTA is beginning to be, and will continue to be, an important resource for scholarly studies in history of science, technology, medicine, business, sociology, and the social dynamics of knowledge. The SDTA is clearly significant for San Diego, and its relevance extends to the entire State of California as well.
The oral histories presented in the SDTA follow established academic protocols, with each interview sometimes requiring up to four hours. After professional processing by UC San Diego Library staff, each interview is catalogued to be made available online, providing world-wide access for scholars, interested members of the technology community, and the public.
The SDTA is in the early stages; through the Archive, we have just begun telling San Diego's compelling and amazing technology story. Please check the SDTA site regularly for additional SDTA news and content. Future upgrades to the site will include the ability for Web site visitors like you to tell your version of San Diego's high-tech story and confer and connect with others about San Diego's entrepreneurial past, present, and future online. By facilitating a broad-based capture of details from founding employees and early participants in the companies, research institutions, and service firms that are comprised in the San Diego high-tech community, we expect that this online and participant-driven Archive will grow into a unique and rich virtual space.
UC San Diego, its faculty, and its alumni have been integral to San Diego's emergence as a destination for high-tech business formation. The UC San Diego Library, among the top 20 public academic research libraries in North America, is recognized as a leader in the development and implementation of digital technologies that support San Diego's research and teaching institutions. Consequently, the UC San Diego Library is well poised to initiate and steward the history of the San Diego region's unique, synergistic, and collaborative technology industries.
The UC San Diego Library plays a critical role in advancing and supporting the university's research, teaching, patient care, and public service missions. The world-renowned research for which UC San Diego is known starts at the UC San Diego Library, which provides the foundation of knowledge needed to advance cutting-edge discoveries in a wide range of disciplines, from healthcare and science to public policy and the arts.