Don R. Swanson, information science pioneer, 1924–2012

“Don R. Swanson believed laboratories weren’t the only source of new scientific discoveries. Swanson, a specialist in the relationship between natural and computer languages, thought electronic databases also held the key to medical knowledge. A trailblazing information scientist, Swanson died Nov. 18 at age 88. Concerned that excessive specialization could inhibit scientific creativity, Swanson pioneered the field of literature-based discovery, which uses existing research to create new knowledge. The three-term dean of the University of Chicago’s Graduate Library School and professor emeritus in the Humanities Division believed that unearthing unseen links between two distinct areas of study could yield new discoveries—what he called “undiscovered public knowledge.”

via The University of Chicago Library News

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