Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Frederick G. Kilgour, founder of OCLC, dies at 92

Frederick G. Kilgour, founder of OCLC, dies at 92

Frederick G. Kilgour, a librarian and educator who created an international computer library network and database that changed the way people use libraries, died on July 31, 2006. He was 92 years old and had lived since 1990 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Kilgour is widely recognized as one of the leading figures in 20th- century librarianship for using computer networks to increase access to information in libraries around the world. He was among the earliest proponents of adapting computer technology to library processes. At the dawn of library automation in the early 1970's, he founded OCLC Online Computer Library Center and led the creation of a library network that today links 55,000 institutions in 110 countries.

"Fred Kilgour lived a rich life that was full of accomplishment," said Jay Jordan, OCLC President and CEO. "He leaves us with a great legacy and an exciting future. His innovations have vastly increased the availability of library resources for millions of people around the world. His vision continues to influence the evolution of research, scholarship and education in the digital age."

In 1971, he developed a database, WorldCat, that now contains more than 70 million entries for books and other materials and more than one billion location listings for these materials in libraries around the world, and it is available on the World Wide Web. It is regarded as the world's largest computerized library catalog, including not only entries from large institutions such as the Library of Congress, the British Library, the Russian State Library and Singapore National Library, but also from small public libraries, art museums and historical societies. It contains descriptions of library materials and their locations. More recently, the database provides access to the electronic full text of articles and books as well as images and sound recordings. It spans 4,000 years of recorded knowledge. Every 10 seconds a library adds a new record.

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