Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Toward 100 Percent Availability

The title above comes from a 1989 Library Journal article by Frederick Kilgour. He was the founder of OCLC, the big bibliographic network we belong to and use for Interlibrary Loan. From the original network of 54 libraries in 1971, it has grown to 55,000 institutions in 110 countries. It works. 'Every 4 seconds an OCLC member library fills an interlibrary loan request...' (see oclc stats)

Dr. Kilgour died at age 92 this week, and tributes to him are appearing here and there around Libraryland. (1)(2)(3). In his long career he never lost track of exactly what his purpose was: to make it possible for everyone to find the book they want, more or less right away, more or less every time.

Of course it's not possible. But 'Toward 100 Percent Availability' is an intention worth photocopying really large and hanging on the wall. Thank you, Dr. Kilgour. Frederick G. Kilgour, "Toward 100 Percent Availability," Library Journal 114 (Nov. 15, 1989).

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