Tag Archives: obituaries

Ann Wolpert, director of libraries, has died at 70

“Ann Wolpert, MIT’s director of libraries since 1996, has died after a brief illness. She was 70 years old.Wolpert was a pioneer in digital stewardship, bringing to the MIT community a deep understanding of scholarship, of research, and of the library’s broader mission to preserve and disseminate knowledge. Under her leadership, the MIT Libraries developed DSpace, a milestone in digital libraries that catalyzed the institutional repository movement.” (via MIT News Office)

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Former West Publishing Co. president dies at 89

“The former president of West Publishing Co., credited with leading the company into the digital age, has died at age 89.Dwight Opperman died Thursday at his home in Beverly Hill, Calif., according to his son, Vance Opperman. The elder Opperman became president of West Publishing Co. in 1968, when the company was based in St. Paul, and was instrumental in leading the company into delivering its services electronically and creating Westlaw, a major online legal research service. West Publishing was sold to Thomson Reuters in 1996 for $3.4 billion.” (via AP)

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‘Eccentric genius’ contributed to revolutionizing library cataloging

“The first CD-ROMs started making their way into businesses in 1984. Based on laser disc technology, CD-ROMs could hold more than 400 times as much data as a floppy disc on a single CD. In 1985, Brower Roberts (then known as Brower Murphy) published the first CD-ROM cataloging software for libraries. BiblioFile was hailed as an innovative software in 1990 at the Optical Publishing Association’s Fifth Annual Conference on CD-ROM.” (via Tampa Bay Times)

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Edward de Grazia, Lawyer Who Fought Censorship, Is Dead at 86

“Edward de Grazia, a lawyer and teacher who in the 1950s and ’60s broadened the scope of what Americans would be allowed to read by helping to defeat government bans on sexually explicit books, died on April 11 in Potomac, Md. He was 86.” (via NYTimes.com)

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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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George ‘Ray’ Mitchell, 77: Dedicated life to libraries, reading

AJC – “Inspired by his mother, a civil rights activist in Atlanta during the turbulent 1960s, George “Ray” Mitchell took a courageous stand in 1971 in the South Georgia library district where he was newly hired. “There was a sign that advertised story hours. He put another sign up saying, everyone is welcome at the library,” said Mr. Mitchell’s daughter, Sarah Yates of Savannah. Mrs. Yates said she and her siblings were not told the details of what happened next, “but I know at the board level and in the community, he stood them down – my father was very strong. First of all he was 6-foot-4, a tremendous person to be in the presence of. He was not much for words. But they knew he meant it, and no one fought it in the end.”

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Project Gutenberg founder Michael S. Hart has died

Jacket Copy – “Project Gutenberg announced Wednesday that founder Michael S. Hart has died. Hart, 64, died Tuesday in Illinois. Project Gutenberg provides free e-books of thousands of works that are in the public domain. Hart first got the idea of sharing significant documents electronically early, in 1971.”

Read the obituary

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She Put a Stamp on Copyright Law

WSJ – “Barbara A. Ringer, a scrivener in an odd niche of the federal bureaucracy who died April 9 at age 83, negotiated and drafted the Copyright Act of 1976, the first major revision in seven decades of a basic law governing intellectual property.”

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