Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Fred Kilgour 1914-2006

I learned that Fred Kilgour died yesterday. He was one of the great librarians of the 20th century. One of the first librarians to recognize how useful computing technologies could be to libraries, he founded a computerized system that enabled academic libraries in Ohio to share cataloging records called OCLC. Sharing online cataloging records meant that only one library had to originally catalog a book, all the others could simply link to that record and download the record to their own catalog. This was a huge saving in terms of labor. The system also improved how libraries found out what other libraries owned, and enabled libraries to borrow and lend those materials. This union catalog has grown into what we know today as WorldCat.

A great librarian; creative, effective, visionary. He will be sadly missed.

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