24 Martii 2009

Bess Sadler: library geek

This post fulfills my Ada Lovelace Day pledge.

I met Bess in 2007, when the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries took place near her old hometown. Bess is a geek’s geek, fantastic company, and a role model for me and for everyone.

Bess’s undergrad degree—one of them, anyway—is in Information Systems, putting her in pretty rarefied company. If that’s not enough, she’s done plenty of open-source development, most recently as project lead for the open-source Blacklight library catalog. I would say that Bess subscribes to my beat-things-with-rocks philosophy, except that Bess actually knows what she’s doing, and gets it right without resorting to rocks.

She also works hard to bring the benefits of open-source software to the developing world, as tireless worker for and promoter of Electronic Information for Libraries—Free and Open Source Software. Many first-world open-source advocates talk a great game about open-source saving the world. Bess? Bess is making it happen.

And a personal note…

Bess took me under her wing at JCDL, alerting me to the best coffee-and-dessert joint in town. As we sat enjoying some serious dessert, she hazarded that she might, possibly, know about a good comic shop in the area, and would I be interested in checking it out?

See, you never know how even a relatively geeky woman is going to respond to that. Maybe she’s a comics geek. In all likelihood she isn’t, and she’ll think comics are for guys… and fairly skeevy guys at that. Sometimes that impression is based on sad experience, too. Fortunately, I love me some good sequential art, so she and I dropped by and recommended each other some favorites and had a grand old time.

I’ve been admiring her ever since.

Bess’s blog is Solvitur ambulando. I don’t see how on earth she has time to keep up a blog, but I’m glad she does.

Edited to add: More of the Bess-love from eIFL.