Andrew K. Pace: March 2008 Archives
I told her I had an idea for a new column and that I was calling it "First Principles," the notion being that there is nothing new under the sun, and that approaching technology from the starting point of the library science's first principles would create better services. I have a vivid memory of standing on my back porch trying to explain this idea on the phone to a more than patient Kathy. The polite silence and occasion hem-and-haw on the other end of the phone made me think I had blown my chances of ever seeing my name in print--I was sure I had lost the job before I had typed my first word. Thankfully, my somewhat obtuse notion for a column, with Kathy's help, turned into a pretty nice run as "Coming Full Circle."
So here I am, glutton for punishment, returning to first principles again. The last thing I want to do in my new job with OCLC is to give the impression that I have too much time on my hands, but I will admit to having spent some time a couple of weeks ago with the papers of Fred Kilgour. Wow. Here's what his report, co-authored with Ralph Parker, in 1965 said about the purpose of what would become OCLC two years later:
- Fast, complete bibliographic information retrieval
- On-line acquisition of machine-readable catalogue records from the Library of Congress
- Machine searching of machine-readable indexes such as those produced by MEDLARS and Chemical Abstracts
- Supplying bibliographic information for acquisition procedures
- Provision of central, real-time computer services for processing serials and circulation records
- Shared cataloging and online union catalog
- Interlibrary lending
- Serials Control
- Public service including online local catalogs
- Circulation control
First Principles indeed.
I've also had a fair number of cultural lessons. I know now that one should not suggest "tabling" a topic in a meeting because over here that means you want to talk about it. I figure out the money, that was pretty easy, except the dollar is in a declined position at the moment.
I've also had a fantastic time getting to know some of my European colleagues better. I've been busy enough not to meet as many people as I might have liked, but it's been a productive week despite the long travel back and forth. It's been a great week but I am also anxious to get home.
Actually, I never really left, but like the kids say about library content, if it ain't online it doesn't exist. Or as Peter Wojtowicz put it: