OCLC Founder Fred Kilgour dies at age 92

August 3, 2006

I was saddened to hear of Fred Kilgour’s death on July 31, 2006. Dr. Kilgour addressed ALAO members at the closing session of the 1987 Annual Conference held at the Holiday Inn on the Lane, Columbus. His talk was entitled EIDOS: Electronic Information Delivery On-Line System. Although I no longer recall anything of his presentation, I remember clearly my sense of admiration and excitment over his vision of electronic access to scholarly materials. As a relatively young librarian, fairly new to Ohio, it seemed remarkable to be hearing from the very founder of OCLC. OCLC was a distant, mysterious place when I first learned about it in my cataloging course at the University of Rhode Island. Along with Chemical Abstracts Service, it was the destination of my first working field trip once I moved to Ohio. OCLC and Chemical Abstracts, both on the same day – two amazing places that churned out the stuff I’d been working with for many years, yet had only a glimmer of understanding of how they operated. I remember feeling very fortunate to be a librarian in Ohio, with these internationally known and essential services just two hours down the interstate.

It seems now that Dr. Kilgour’s vision for EIDOS has been realized in many ways by OhioLINK. The groundbreaking work of the Ohio College Library Center helped create an environment that was conducive to OhioLINK’s mission today, and Dr. Kilgour’s efforts were a large part of that continuum. I am honored to have made his acquaintance, and still feel very fortunate to be an Ohio librarian.

Read more, at American Libraries news online.