Life is a Mystery

10 February 2009

Herbert Van de Sompel

I just want to take a moment to acknowledge one of the giants in the field of library science today: Herbert. John MacColl posted a wonderful summary of a Herbert retrospective at the 9th International Bielefeld Conference last week.

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Herbert is fearless, jumping into problems with abandon, always certain that he and his teams can make a contribution. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes not so much. But the failures are often as interesting as the successes, full of discoveries and insights.

His conclusion last week, after looking back at his work of the past decade: we do what we do in order to optimize the time of researchers.

That deserves a good ponder. Do new systems optimize the time of researchers? How does leveraging tools already out there in the infoecosystem balance with developing specialized tools to facilitate their research? Does this statement miss the need to facilitate collaboration as well as research? I love it when Herbert makes me think!

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Eric Celeste / Saint Paul, Minnesota / 651.323.2009 / efc@clst.org