The history of the online information industry and its main participants from the industry’s emergence in the early 1970s to the mid-1990s, when it was swallowed by the next wave of the information revolution, the web is our topic. The appearance of the first end-user systems and their very limited success at this stage is examined. The controversy between the rapid progress in computing and the insignificant changes in the online retrieval techniques and interfaces are discussed. The searcher, a new specialist within the information profession, way the new professional was educated and trained during the decades is described with a critical review of academe’s slow response to the emergence of a new academic occupation. Pricing policies, the ways profits were allotted between the players of the new industry mirror the relationships and the changing atmosphere within the industry. Developing a retrieval language for documents written in a highly inflected language, containing an extremely high number of homonyms, spelled without vowels and in several different dialects, the creation of the first Hebrew database is portrayed.