Professor White received the B.Sc. in Chemistry from the College of the City of New York and the M.Sc. in Library Science from Syracuse University. In 1975 he came to IU as a professor, and for a decade beginning in 1980 served as dean of IU's School of Library and Information Science. He was awarded the title of Distinguished Professor in 1991.
The author of more than 200 books and articles on topics of library administration, supervision and library automation, he has been a frequent speaker and presenter at seminars and workshops. In retirement, he continues adjunct teaching at the University of Arizona, writing and lecturing.
Under White's leadership the IU School of Library and Information Science grew in prestige and importance. The school's master and doctoral programs consistently have ranked among the top five library schools in the country.
Before coming to IU, White worked as an industrial and government consultant on a national and international basis. His appointments included serving as librarian at the Library of Congress and Atomic Energy Commission, program manager of the IBM Corporate Technical Information Center, and as executive director of the NASA Scientific Technical Information Facility in Bethesda, Maryland, and as Vice President for Operations of the Institute of Scientific Information, Philadelphia.
Among his awards have been the American Library Association Melvil Dewey Medal, the American Society for Information Science Award of Merit, Watson Davis Award, Book of the Year and Information Science Pioneer Award, and the Beta Phi Mu, Chi Chapter lifetime Service Award (1995). He is past-president of both the Special Libraries Association and the American Society of Information Science. His international recognitions include Executive Board membership of the Federation for Information and Documentation and the Federation of Information Processing Societies.
Syracuse University School of Information Studies named White its first Distinguished Alumnus, and he was a recipient of the Indiana Library Association's first Lifetime Professional Award. In May 2003, White was awarded an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Indiana University at Bloomington graduation ceremonies.