Jerome Rubin, who helped bring to market the commercial online research database today known as LexisNexis and the display technology behind millions of Amazon Kindles and other e-readers, has died in New York. He was 86.
Rubin was trained as a physicist and attorney, but in the 1970s was hired by an Ohio-based company to make commercially viable what was then a novel product — a computer “search and retrieval system” or database of state case law.
Rubin helped lead the launch of the database in 1973, initially built to run on customized terminals. It was joined a few years later by Nexis, focused on news, including wire service and newspaper articles.
Rubin later worked as an executive at the Times Mirror Co., in a specialized publishing division, before retiring in the early 1990s and joining the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Laboratory, where he led a consortium called “News in the Future.” It was out of this work that he helped co-found E Ink in 1997, a company devoted to developing electronic paper for publishing, said Russ Wilcox, who founded E Ink with Rubin and three others.
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