As an academic he taught in the 1960s on "Intellectual Freedom and Censorship". As an author, he edited Kister's Best Encyclopedias and Kister's Best Dictionaries, and has written on the history of librarianship.
He is also the biographer of influential librarian and editor Eric Moon.
Kister in 1994 gave a qualitative and quantitative comparison of Collier's Encyclopedia with two comparable encyclopaedias, Encyclopædia Britannica and the Encyclopedia Americana. For the quantitative analysis, ten articles were selected at random (circumcision, Charles Drew, Galileo, Philip Glass, heart disease, IQ, panda bear, sexual harassment, Shroud of Turin and Uzbekistan) and letter grades (A-D, F) were awarded in four categories: coverage, accuracy, clarity, and recency. In all four categories and for all three encyclopaedias, the four average grades fell between B- and B+, chiefly because not one encyclopaedia had an article on sexual harassment in 1994. In the accuracy category, Collier's received one D and seven As. Encyclopedia Americana received eight As, and the Britannica received one D and eight As; thus, Collier's received an average score of 92% for accuracy to Americana's 95% and Britannica's 92%. In the timeliness category, Collier's averaged an 85% to Americana 90% and Britannica' 86%. After a more thorough qualitative comparison of all three encyclopedias, Kister recommended Collier's Encyclopedia primarily on the strength of its writing, presentation and navigation.
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