[Asis-l] Harold Wooster, compute rand IS poineer
rhill at asis.org
Fri Jun 3 12:26:45 EDT 2005
Word was received (Washington Post, June 3) of the death of Harold Wooster,
86, of a heart attack on May 20.
Among his writings for ASIS&T were a book review in JASIST 41 (8): 611-612.
1990; in JASIST, 38 (5) 321 - 335, Wooster has an article, "Historical Note:
Shining Palaces, Shifting Sands: National Information Systems." Towards the
end, page 325, He has a personal note which gives some of his personal
He wrote an ARIST chapter (Volume 17), "Biomedical Communications," and
co-edited Proceedings (Vol 18) with Lois Lunin and Madeline Henderson.
>From the Washington Post"
"Harold Wooster, whose decades-long career in information science
influenced the development of computer technology and medical television,
died of a heart attack May 20 at the Carlisle (Pa.) Regional Medical Center.
He was 86."
"As chief of the information sciences division of the Air Force Office of
Scientific Research in the 1960s, Dr. Wooster awarded crucial early grants
to many of the scientists and engineers whose research spurred the
development of the Internet and personal computer. In the 1970s, while
working at the National Library of Medicine, he supervised pioneering
experiments in telemedicine.
"In his prescient role as grantmaker, Dr. Wooster funded the early work of
MIT Professor Marvin Minsky [on artificial intelligence], Internet pioneer
J.C.R. Licklider, computer theorist Ted Nelson., and computer mouse inventor
"He also funded projects on how to search, retrieve and store information.
Some of those projects involve how microfilm or microfiche is read today and
how key word searches are used on search engines, such as Google.
"He was good at spotting promising young talent and giving them money
early," said his son, Martin Morse Wooster, a writer and philanthropy
expert. "He realized that these people were doing research that was going to
be important. When people write the history of the computer age, they will
look at research that my father funded."
"Dr. Wooster, deemed keenly imaginative and open to new ideas, was also
known for sponsoring somewhat offbeat exploratory research projects,
reportedly including one on how gnats could stay in a swarm.
"From 1970 to 1984, Dr. Wooster worked at the National Library of
Medicine's Lister Hill Center for Biomedical Communications. He supervised
experiments using television to connect patients in remote areas to doctors.
Under his direction, the New Hampshire-Vermont Interactive Network was
built, allowing rural doctors to participate in medical meetings long
Richard B. Hill
American Society for Information Science and Technology
1320 Fenwick Lane, Suite 510
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Fax: (301) 495-0810
Voice: (301) 495-0900
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