Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Francis Miksa

The FRBR Blog just posted up a thing on Fran Miksa. Follow the links and listen to him speak! I listened to him for quite awhile as my cataloging professor. Miksa is still the most coherent organizational theoritician I've ever heard (or read). For those who do not know, his father was an amateur mathematician, who worked for the phone company during the day and worked on magic squares at night (sounds very super-heroey, doesn't it?). Incidentally, his name was also Francis. Makes for some confusion at UT Austin, where the elder Miksa's papers are housed at the Center for American History.
Anyway, Fran Miksa's daughter Shawne is also a cataloging professor, at the University of North Texas. You can see the progression here? A family of like-minded people.
Miksa takes organizational theory to places that few catalogers dare to tread. I remember him talking about FRBR, not understanding half of what he said, but his passion for reform was palpable. It was one of the only times I've ever been excited about FRBR. He was also the first person I knew to condone subjective cataloging. One student in particular in my class would constantly ask "is this right?" whenever she made a decision about her cataloging. Finally Miksa told her that she should stop comparing herself to Job; God wouldn't strike her down just for making a call how whether to put in an added author or not. I believe that Miksa was also a seminarian.
Anyway, go listen to him. It's nice to see that Miksa is still getting the recognition that he truly deserves.

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"Wicked people never have time for reading. It's one of the reasons for their wickedness." —Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril.