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Remembering a Colleague: Brian Vickery

2010-04-07

Campus in the fog

"Brian Vickery was a true pioneer of Anglo-American information science, the embodiment of a style, both scholarly and personal, that is today little in evidence. He made lasting contributions to the field and will be missed greatly by many." [Blaise Cronin]

The most recent issue of the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (Volume 61, Issue 4, 2010, pages 850-851) includes an article SLIS Dean Blaise Cronin titled:

• In Memoriam - Brian Vickery: An Appreciation

The full text of the article is available through Wiley InterScience. Excerpts are included here:
  • "B.C. Vickery, who died at the age of 91, was born in Sydney, Australia, on September 11, 1918… Brian attended schools in Australia, Egypt (Cairo), and England (Canterbury) before going up to Oxford to read Chemistry…
  • Brian Vickery was in every sense a scholar and a gentleman, engagingly diffident, curious, and intelligent, but not, it must be said, wholly lacking in self-regard. After the war, he became the librarian at the Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) Akers Research Laboratories, where his lifelong interest in information analysis and faceted classification took root…
  • Having worked in industry (ICI), the public sector (NLLST), academia (UMIST), and also for a nonprofit association (Aslib), Brian returned to academia for the concluding phase of his professional career, though not this time as a librarian but as Professor and Director of the School of Library, Archive and Information Studies at University College London (UCL), for which position he had been head-hunted…
  • Brian retired as Professor Emeritus in 1983 and proceeded to live the life of an independent scholar, to no one's great surprise, continuing to write on topics as diverse as information retrieval and the nature of the mind. Some years after leaving UCL, he published yet another monograph, this time with Alina Vickery (née Gralewska), whom he had married in1967 and with whom he collaborated on a variety of projects over the years. Information Science in Theory and Practice, also published by Butterworths, was characteristic of Brian: lucid and accessible, devoid of either ornament or bombast. In fact, I used it as a set text in the late 1980s when teaching undergraduate Information Science students at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Among his later writings is a personal memoir, A Long Search for Information, which captures the life, times, and character of the man (Vickery, [2004])…"

Posted April 07, 2010