Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The "Patron Saints" of Our Profession

The founder of OCLC, Frederick G. Kilgour, died Monday, age 92.

We don’t often celebrate the "patron saints" of our profession, the people who laid the intellectual foundations of what we do everyday. Panizzi, Dewey, Cutter, Lubetzky, Ranganathan, Garfield, Vannevar Bush, Vincent Cerf. And Kilgour.

When you stop to think of it, we would be drowning in one huge mess had it not been for our predecessors who came up with the rules for cataloguing, the field of citation analysis, the logic of hypertext or the structure for OCLC.

My favourite pioneer was a British working-class misfit named George Boole for whom Boolean operators are named. He published "The Laws of Thought" some 150 years ago, in which he outlined concepts that form the underpinnings of the modern computer and of online searching.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:56 pm

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