Robert Taylor

Dean 1972-1981

Robert S. Taylor (1918 to 2009) was a visionary who took bold and well-calculated risks to lead the field of library science into the information age. He published numerous scholarly works, including two seminal pieces “Question-Negotiation and Information-Seeking in Libraries” (1967) and Value Added Processes in Information Systems (1986).

He served as dean of the Syracuse University School of Information Studies from 1972 to 1981. One of his most memorable accomplishments at the school was changing its name from library science to the more comprehensive wording, information studies. “The change in name is not a cosmetic cover, but a recognition that the activities and courses we presently have can no longer be called library science,” he said at the time. “Simply put, ‘Information Studies’ better represents what we are doing and the direction we are going.”

Reflecting on the decision to change the school’s name, Taylor said in July 2007 that he accepted the deanship at Syracuse with the hopes of creating a new kind of school focused specifically on information. “I came here to Syracuse because this was the one library science school in the country that had a potential—a real potential—for change,” he said. “I wanted the word ‘information’ in there, so eventually we arrived at Information Studies—ambiguous enough to cover almost anything, as it has.”

He founded the nation’s first master’s degree in information resource management (which is now called information management) in 1980.

Among his many honors, Taylor received the 1992 American Society for Information Science’s (now ASIST) highest award, the Award of Merit; and the 1972 American Society for Information Science’s Best Book award for The Making of a Library (based on his experiences in designing the Hampshire College Library Center).


Robert S. Taylor, dean emeritus of the School of Information Studies (iSchool), passed away Thursday, January 1, 2009, at the Francis House in Syracuse after a lengthy illness. He was 90.

He served as dean of the Syracuse University School of Information Studies from 1972 to 1981. One of his most memorable accomplishments at the school was changing its name from library science to the more comprehensive wording, information studies. “The change in name is not a cosmetic cover, but a recognition that the activities and courses we presently have can no longer be called library science,” he said at the time. “Simply put, ‘Information Studies’ better represents what we are doing and the direction we are going.”

Reflecting on the decision to change the school’s name, Taylor said in July 2007 that he accepted the deanship at Syracuse with the hopes of creating a new kind of school focused specifically on information. “I came here to Syracuse because this was the one library science school in the country that had a potential—a real potential—for change,” he said. “I wanted the word ‘information’ in there, so eventually we arrived at Information Studies—ambiguous enough to cover almost anything, as it has.”

Taylor also credited the late Raymond F. von Dran (dean from 1996-2007) with carrying out the vision he had for the field back in 1974. “Ray has truly given body to my dreams and I thank him,” he said during a memorial celebration for von Dran in July 2007.

Taylor founded the nation’s first master’s degree in information resource management (which is now called information management) in 1980.

In an October 30, 2008, interview, he said he was thrilled to see the development of the iSchool movement and the emergence of more “information schools” or “iSchools.” “iSchool—I couldn’t have thought of a better word,” he said. During this conversation, he also shared his recipe for the school’s continued success: “Imagination and work,” he said.

Two of his seminal works, “Question-Negotiation and Information-Seeking in Libraries” (1967) and Value Added Processes in Information Systems (1986), continue to be quoted and relevant to shaping scholarly discussions today. His works have been donated to the Syracuse University Library Special Collections, and his life is being chronicled in a biography by local writer, Russ Tarby.

Among his many honors, Taylor was recognized in 1972 with the American Society for Information Science’s Best Book Award for The Making of a Library, and in 1992, he received the American Society for Information Science’s highest recognition, the Award of Merit. In November, the School of Information Studies Board of Advisors formally acknowledged his contributions with a resolution in his honor.

An Ithaca, N.Y., native, Taylor earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Cornell University and worked for a short stint as a sports reporter before being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942. He became a member of the Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps until returning to the United States in 1947.

He enrolled in Columbia University’s library science program on the GI Bill, earning an M.S. in Library Science in 1950. He was named a Fulbright Lecturer in 1956. He went on to work as a librarian, professor, and director of information science at Lehigh University, and then a professor and director of the Library Center at Hampshire College.

Taylor was predeceased by his first wife, Leni Reichenberger Taylor, to whom he was married for nearly 50 years. He is survived by his second wife of 10 years, Fay Inman Taylor; his stepsons, Anton Reichenberger of Long Island, David Golden and wife Karen of Savannah, Ga., Dan Golden of Hacienda Heights, Calif.; and grandsons William and Max Golden; as well as nieces and nephews most of whom live in the Dallas, Texas area.

Robert Taylor’s Contributions to the Field

Robert Taylor made significant contributions to the field of information studies though his leadership and scholarly accomplishments. Taylor’s work continues to be quoted and relevant to shaping scholarly discussions today.


iSchool Board of Advisors Resolution

Fay and Robert Taylor Scholarship

The Fay and Robert Taylor Scholarship provides partial scholarship and financial assistance to a deserving graduate student in the M.S. in Library and Information Science program in the School of Information Studies. Academic merit and relevant experience will be the criterion used to determine selection. To support this scholarship, please click here.

In Your Words:

I have the warmest, most vivid memories of Bob, who was both our locally vibrant dean and the internationally recognized founder of the new field of Information Studies at the time that I applied to and was admitted to the PhD program in the newly renamed School of Information Studies. What I remember most from my interview with Bob as Dean and myself as PhD applicant, was that he was truly open to my less than traditional views and goals of study and his excitement for where the traditional field of library science was headed. In the years that followed, when I joined the faculty, and then started a company within the university, Bob was always extremely open and supportive. Bob always listened and learned and shared back from his own experiences in such a beneficial way that enabled many others, including me, to accomplish our goals. Bob made tremendous contributions to a field that continues to expand its pivotal role in our increasingly information-centric world. His strong presence and enduring support will be greatly missed by the iSchool at Syracuse and the whole field he founded.

The faculty of the School of Information at the University of Michigan join our friends and colleagues at Syracuse in mourning the loss of Dean Taylor, a true pioneer in the field. His important contributions will live on in the work of the many scholars he influenced.

When I left the faculty at Syracuse, colleagues gave me a T-shirt that says “everything I learned, I learned at Syracuse”–(you know how long ago that was that it didn’t use the “@” sign. Bob taught me a new way to think about the field and I am deeply grateful for that. I am grateful, too, for all the colleagues–people Bob hired; and the amazing collaborative and intellectually vibrant environment he created. So, to those who are still alive, thanks to all of you. And grateful rememberances of Bob for his many gifts.

In 1979, Bob hired me to work at the School of Information Studies as a part-time administrator and teacher. As you can imagine, Bob was pretty intimidating – a larger-than-life presence. Bob had a soft voice (and laugh) that disarmed you to his probing questions and keen insights.

He challenged me professionally and personally, first to justify the school library media field as part of the blossoming information field, and later to see myself as a scholar as well as practitioner.

Bob’s scholarly contributions are also extraordinary. At Washington, our students still read his 1968 College and Research Libraries article, “Question-negotiation and information seeking in libraries,” one of the most cited articles in the history of our field.

Further, I personally teach his value-added approach to all of my undergrad and graduate students. I find this conceptual work to be the most insightful and useful framework and approach for analyzing and developing systems and systems processes from a user perspective.

Bob’s vision – for broad-based information schools and user-centered information systems and services – was a guiding influence on me and others in establishing our Information School at the University of Washington. To be sure, we forged our own vision and identity and achieved much that is unique and exceptional. But along with Syracuse and the other information schools, we are part of Bob Taylor’s legacy.



Although I didn’t know Dean Taylor until late in his life, I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to talk with him and to hear him speak. He was a true visionary and a thoughtful risk-taker.

At the 2008 iConference at UCLA, Washington iSchool Dean Emeritus Mike Eisenberg presented on Dean Taylor’s paper, Value-Added Processes, and how it stood the test of time. In an age where new technologies are old tomorrow and news is old as soon as it is read, it was very impressive that Taylor’s two decade old work still shaped how we think about information management. I was proud to be representing the school that could lay claim to Robert Taylor.

I first heard of Taylor when researching the 30th anniversary of the school’s name change from library science to information studies. He was the man that risked angering the library alums to bring the school into the Information Age. He was thrilled with Dean Raymond F. von Dran’s initiative to start the iSchool movement. He felt like Ray carried out what he had started and gave life to his dream.

Taylor made waves with his bold decision, but it is because of his foresight and action that this school has secured its position as an innovative and forward-looking place. It is now part of our history–part of what it means to be at Syrcause–to push the boundaries and take well-calculated risks to move the field forward.

I was frankly surprised to discover how modest he was. I assumed someone with this much confidence and courage must be aware of his greatness. No, in fact, he called me “screwy” for praising his accomplishments. It’s a title I’ll wear with pride!

Thank you for creating a legacy of innovation here.

Bob was instrumental in my decision to pursue a career in library and information science. My curiosity was first piqued by a sign outside the building on Euclid Avenue that I passed each day on my way to and from the campus. When I arrived in Syracuse in 1971 it read “School of Library Science”, but by 1975, when I was searching for a career change after years of graduate study in South Asian history, it became the “School of Information Studies.” I was warmly greeted by Bob, the Dean, who reassured me that there was a place for my skills and interests in this broad and exciting field. I was sold on the school from the first day of orientation, when all the faculty introduced themselves, a tradition we maintain to this day. I was stretched in new directions, thanks to Bob’s forward-looking vision of the information field. And I am proud to have been a part of the school he helped build. I will miss seeing Bob seated near the stage at graduation each year, when he must have been very proud of the tremendous strides we have made. Every graduate owes Bob a debt of thanks for his contributions to their experience at Syracuse.

Barbara Settel
MLS ‘76

Dean Taylor was such an impressive figure to me. There in that little white house on Euclid, in 1980, was this very tall man who looked nothing like a librarian (I so dislike it when people say that) and every bit the secret agent he almost became (out of the OSS after WWII.) He enjoyed telling students how similar the work of a librarian is to an investigative agent of the CIA. He was so focused on the future, so scholarly, and unassuming. He is a giant in our profession.

–Inga H. Barnello, M.L.S ’81

I remember Dean Taylor as kind of a sage; I enjoyed his quiet smile, his reliance on M.J. Dustin for the day-to-day details, and one specific thing: his insight into negotiating the reference question, i.e., To answer a question satisfactorily, one first has to find out what the real question is, what the real information need is. That insight has been useful to me every day since the spring afternoon in 1973 when he shared it with me. Thanks, Bob.

Due to the long distance, the University of Arizona arranged for me to interview for consideration with its library school with the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. I lived in Syracuse. Arizona arranged a meeting with Dean Robert Taylor. During the interview, Dean Taylor shared many of his perspectives of information sharing. My own personal interest was to apply my knowledge of Spanish with community library services. Finally, he asked, “Why don’t you study here?” My reply was immediate and fiercely direct….”Because I live here!” He nodded, smiled, understood what I meant, and offered to help with covering expenses for my studies, and I never will forgive him for this!

The school, then, was separated among several small houses. The school was always hopping with activity and served as a dynamic gathering place. The faculty were always approachable. I never called Dean Taylor anything other than Dean Taylor, except among fellow students when we would refer to him as T(he) Dean. He was also my advisor. We would mimick some of his more popular refrains, to paraphrase, “where is the information lost in wisdom, where is the wisdom lost in information..?”

The work most remembered for me was his brief study on the Economics of Information Dissemination: A Symposium (1974). Again, his special interest in the students made the experience at SU tolerable. I also met my future wife at the library school! He supported the student-sponsored event for a seminar. We brought in speakers and, of course, it was the worst blizzard of the month (that’s saying a lot for Syracuse). He invited one of the speakers to stay at his home. We had students from Mexico also, who are well established in library administration positions in Mexico and still close friends!

I always felt the library faculty got along very well not only with each other but also with the students, opening their homes for visits and other get-togethers. He did so much to make the entire program of study a program of life, and, again, I’ll always remember him for this. In deepest sympathy for our loss.

It seems as if an era is coming to an end. I always thought of Bob as one of the “great thinkers” in information science and a pillar of the iSchool at Syracuse. He was always such a gentleman. And he always asked questions. And did I mention that he was also a brilliant racenteur, a dying breed of story teller which is becoming rare in our nanosecond world.

I took a seminar with Bob in the late 1980s, value-added information processes. Rather than him dryly pontificating at we mere doctoral students, he actually made class stimulating and fun! It seemed as if every week someone would ask a question and he would ponder “this new can of worms.” At the end of the semester we gave him a can of worms which he very graciously and with humor received.

Bob was on my dissertation committee. I was actually looking at one of his propositions about information behaviors which was as yet not “tested.” Bob not only encouraged me to do so, but was excited when I found parts of his model existed, as well as finding pieces which did not appear to be integral to this model. He was especially fascinated by the new pieces which came out in the data and had not been in his model. His humility and his pursuit of knowledge made this a truly memorable time of growth in my life.

I thank you, Bob, for enriching my life in your wry and delightful manner!

My dad was a Lehigh professor in the 1960s and knew Bob Taylor well. By the time I arrived as a freshman in the Center for the Information Sciences, Bob had departed. I never met him. But he inspired many of the people who shaped my earliest vision of the information sciences. I am grateful to Bob, and ever mindful of the effects that all of us can have on young people we might never even meet.

When I was an undergraduate at SU, I wanted to take some graduate courses in which at that time was unheard of in the School of Information Studies. I ask Dr. Taylor if I may take some courses in which I proceeded to tell him how much I wanted to be a librarian in that I could make a difference in the library community. He granted me 18 credit hours of work that I took with the enthusiasm and joy that after almost 30 years of my working experience, it still excites me to know that I was given an opportunity to try for a field that I could share with everyone I touched. And further more, Fay Golden Taylor was my mentor and inspiration in encouraging me to use my creative talents in being a great school/public librarian. Thanks to both of them. My condolences to Fay and her family. God Bless.

My foremost memory of Dean Taylor is that of host, when he would hold one of his occasional evenings of conversation at his home. An invitation to an evening at the Dean’s was indeed an honor.

Without meaning to detract from subsequent deans, in my estimation Robert Taylor ranks above all others as the founding father of the Information School.

I think many will agree with me when I say that Dean Taylor had the virtue of transforming students into actual disciples. One of the first courses I took at the School of Information Studies was with him. It was called The Information Environment. I struggled, but this course gave me a full view of the potential of the profession I was about to enter. This was in September 1976, and it has shaped my whole career by providing me with a progressive framework to everything I have done professionally.

I am eternally grateful to him, as well as to other faculty members of that wonderful place in time that was the SIS in 1976-1977, when I was there for my MLS. Dean Taylor was patient, and yet rigorous, always enticing us to be creative, and to think beyond the box.

Although I now live and work in Texas, I was one of the students from Mexico that Stephen Marvin mentions in his remarks above. One of my fondest memories is when he invited several of his students to celebrate Thanksgiving at his house. It was my very first Thanksgiving dinner, and it was truly memorable! Thank you forever Dean Taylor.

Dean Taylor taught the first course I took at the School of Information Studies, the basic reference course. I was very tentative about my decision to apply to the school, but after taking his course, I was sold on the idea of being an academic librarian. I greatly valued his respect for students.

Bob Taylor was a leader. The hard part about leadership is to set a vision that many may disagree with but you believe in and can convince a few courageous souls to help you accomplish. Bob did this by setting a broad path toward information science and management which stood on a strong foundation of library science. I always enjoyed his stories of the letters he received when the name of the school at Syracuse was changed. He had his critics in those early days, but he was a leader who stood strong and set a vision for the field.

Bob was a scholar, leader, and patron saint of library and information science. We will miss you.

Bob became Dean of the School of Information Studies during a period of tension at the School. A few years earlier, the Ph.D. program had been established, and many social scientists had joined a faculty of predominantly library scientists. Bob started the faculty bonding that years later became the faculty of one. One way he did this was to involve most of the faculty in creating the information resources management master’s degree program.

To clarify where IRM came from, Bob was in close contact with Woody Horton, the one in charge of computers in Carter’s White House. When Woody incorporated the information resources management concept into the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, he asked Bob to start up a program in IRM so trained graduates would be available to fill federal jobs.

Bob was always intellectually curious. His special love was the behavior of information users, and how people valued information. While we were a small school, Bob led by making it a hothouse for young scholars. The school definitely did not have visibility, resources, or centrality at the university, but he knew that someday that might happen. Thanks to Bob and many others, the School of Information Studies is now living that dream.

I knew “of him” and all his great contributions to the school and information field for quite a while before we ever met face to face.

In December 2004, Bob, Fay, Gisela and I talked over lunch at Phoebe’s. Gisela announced that she and Ray were making the initial gift to establish the Fay and Robert Taylor Scholarship as a wonderful way to remember Bob at the iSchool. Bob and Fay were thrilled and immediately added to the scholarship as well. Ironically, all those funds have lasted to this day and are helping fund a current LIS student, but the balance is now depleted. I sincerely hope many new gifts will sustain the scholarship indefinitely as part of Bob’s great legacy.

On a personal note, since I had come to SU from Cornell and lived in the Ithaca area a long time, I was fascinated by Bob’s lifelong interest and knowledge of the history of Ithaca and Tompkins County and all the stories and facts that he shared with such elegance and wit.

I first learned of Bob Taylor through Woody Horton in Washington, DC in the mid-1970s. Woody and Bob were pioneers in developing the concept of information resource management that looked at all forms of information as key resources for government agencies and companies to actively manage.

As a young professor in public administration and later professor of information systems in the business school at the University of South Carolina,I saw Woody’s work in the federal government and Bob’s work in Information Studies and information science as visionary–bringing an interdisciplinary view of information management to disparate functions and technologies in organizations and different disciplines in academia.

My life came full circle around Bob’s vision when I accepted the opportiunity to take his vision to another level as Dean of the School of Information Studies from 1987-1994. During these seven years, Bob watched the progress of the school with satisfaction and quiet encouragement as the undergraduate and graduate degree programs moved forward. For me as a Dean and professor, it was a wonderful experience to enable Bob’s vision to develop as a signature school at Syracuse University.

With Dean von Dran, the iSchool concept came forward not just at SU but across the country!I last saw Bob at the dedication of the new building for the iSchool on the Main Campus Quad.It was such a proud moment and a great feeling for two former deans to see what the “information studies” vision had become. Bob,in his quiet way, somehow knew it would happen.

We celebrate Bob both for the journey he took in his life and work and for his passing among so many friends and colleagues that respected and cared for his vision, his pioneering thought and his actions to make it all happen.

–Don Marchand, former Dean and current advisory board member, the School of Information Studies, Syracuse University

Robert Taylor had a way of penetrating the most complex of issues and articulating the essential insights needed to address the problems of the time. He produced timeless insights time and time again. We worked together in the late 1960s and the 1970s to build information science and ASIS, and to help actualize what came to be the i-School movement.

In the early 1970s he invited me to present to the Syracuse faculty and to be his overnight guest at his home. I told him that he was forming a very fundamental vision at Syracuse that would transform the field. He said in a matter of fact way “Give me five years and you will see a big change taking place.”

He also told me about his Army World War II days when Henry Kissenger was his close work partner. And he later related his insight that came while sitting at a reference desk and asking “Why in the hell am I here?” He answered to himself “Because this is my place and I am here to make an original contribution.”

Bob’s Question Negotiation article became one of our great classics. I cited his seminal work as the basis for a paper I presented at the 2007 RUSA conference, “Unconscious cognition in the genesis of reference queries,” which received the top comference paper award.

Yes, Bob made a durable imprint on the field and his spirit remains with us.

I first met Bob when I was deciding what “second career” I wanted to pursue after leaving teaching in the early 1970s. I vividly remember meeting Bob in his office in the white house on Euclid. After his soft-spoken, yet inspiring and motivating, “pitch” of the library science program and the field, I immediately signed up for my first course. The next time I saw Bob was as his student, in my final course of my master’s program. That course had a major impact on my life in so many ways.

It was, of course, a thrill for me when I joined the iSchool faculty and had the opportunity to reconnect with Bob. From my very first year on the faculty, I taught my students (both undergrads and grads) his value-added model. I also used it as a framework for some of my research. His model is as relevant today as it was when he first developed it, more than 30 years ago.

Over the past 20 years I have seen Bob at numerous iSchool events, some sad but most very happy. The last time I saw him was in the doctor’s office waiting room. Fay was at his side, of course. We had a lovely conversation about the School and the field, which he loved so much.

I will always cherish my memories of this gentle giant. He will be greatly missed.

When I was applying for my first academic position here at SU, I learned that Bob Taylor had been asked to comment on my work and to add his voice of support, which he did, and for which I am so grateful.

It wasn’t a conventional dissertation, and I knew his review would have been critical. Later, when the dissertation was finally completed he asked to go for a walk to talk it over — one of his steps to every two of mine, and here’s how he started: “Well, I read it straight through and enjoyed it very much, but I didn’t encounter any cognitive speed bumps.” To which I said,”Did you want cognitive speed bumps?” And he answered, “It’s just that I wasn’t sure if it was good or that in reading so smoothly I slipped by the problems. Maybe you can tell what you think the problems might be.”

And that’s how we started an interesting set of discussions over the years, but I still think of not having “cognitive speed bumps” as my best compliment, even though I never did find out if that was entirely a good thing in his mind or not.

I’ll miss his elegance and good humor, as well as his quiet teasing that showed affection and support to scholars just starting out. Barbara

Dean Taylor (as I always knew him) taught the basic class on Infomation Science to me in 1978. When ASIS changed its name to ASIST, I remembered how he had told our class that he had been president of the organization when it became the American Society for Information Science and how they had made a mistake then and should have added “Technology” so they were ASIST. I hoped he was glad for the change.

I also remember saying that I thought it would be great to have a single access point to all information and Dean Taylor expressing doubt as to whether that would be desirable. When I use Google I wonder what he thought of it- the closest we’ve come to that universal access, so far.

I met Bob Taylor at an ASIS&T meeting in the Sixties, and we immediately befriended because Bob and I were both very interested in trying to find ways to convince the librarianship communities that the “wave of the future,” in our view, lay in an enlarged role the profession was destined to play in advancing the paradigm that information, itself, not just books, serials, recorded information and documentation, is a resource that could, and should be made far more widely available to every individual in all walks of life, and to all institutions, public or private, and in all sectors.

After he became Dean, and the first iSchool was born, we met often in both Washington and Syracuse, and held many happy conversations at our homes to talk about “cabbages and kings.” I remember well his irrepressible sense of humor – – always a twinkle in his eye, no matter how serious the subject.

I admired his professional courage and his keen grasp of the many inter-disciplinary aspects implicitly involved in advancing the idea of treating information as a resource (which led to the IRM – now IM – graduate degree program being offered) and the recruitment of stellar faculty members with highly diverse professional interests, not just in librarianship, but in what we now call “ICT,” and in what is still often called in Europe especially “informatics” and in the inter-relationships between human intelligence and cognitive psychology and librarianship.

I have had the privilege of knowing all of the Syracuse iSchool deans since Bob, and I shall sorely miss a courageous comrade in arms, a dear friend, and a bon vivant host, all combined into one precious human being!
Woody Horton, Washington, D.C., Jan. 14, 2009.

I had a nice letter from Bob just about five years ago. The last paragraph follows:

“I remember (I am blessed – or cursed with a good memory)some of our early conversations in a tiny cubicle you called your office on the second floor of a pharmaceutical firm (I’ve forgotten name) on Arch Street. Probably about 1955-56, just before I left for a Fulbright lectureship in Holland. At that time you were producing subject-oriented title page publications. The citation index was not yet in production.”

Yes, Bob came to see me at Smith, Kline and French Labs, which was located on 1500 Spring Garden Street. Ironically, ThomsonReuters Scientific(nee ISI) is now moving its staff back to that building since the ISI HQ building has been sold to Drexel University.

I also remember Bob when he was Librarian at Lehigh, but
our paths crossed mainly due to our mutual interests in deveoping the field of information science. Hence, our active participation in ASIS before it became ASIST. Indeed, it was when we were still called documentalists.

I remember Bob’s smiling face and extremely pleasant and open personality. He was truly a giant in our profession and a great credit to his extended family. My heart goes out to them, but hope they take satisfaction in knowing that in his lifetime he truly made a difference and left the world a better and more informed place.

Gene Garfield

I count myself among those fortunate enough to benefit from Robert Taylor’s visionary perspective and leadership.

As a MLS student during 1979-1980, my career and professional perspective were permanently shaped by his forward-looking view of the value and role of information resources and information professionals in a transformational timeframe.

I have carried those perspectives each day in my IBM career working in the intersection of information and technology for the past 27 years. We, his students and colleagues, have the privilege of carrying on and developing these ideas.

Laura Challman Anderson
MLS ’80

So the birds won’t come and watch Bob anymore!

It is such a sad scene.

Bob has been fortunate to live an extraordinary life.

We were even more fortunate to cross paths with him, benefit from his inspiring reflections and even more from constructive dialogues. His legacy is deeply embedded in modern concepts of our field.

He will stay with us because of this and also his rare human qualities.

May the birds I am watching through my window bring him my salute.

Michel Menou

While working on my doctorate at Syracuse I was fortunate to have seminars with Professor Taylor. His approach was to challenge and provoke with scenarios that often seemed impossible. Not one to back off from an opportunity to negotiate, I benefited greatly from his training. Much of my work in the standards arena required justifying, clarifying, and simplifying. These were some of the traits that Taylor honed for me.

Bob taught the very first class on my schedule when I arrived at Syracuse; it was his first year as dean emeritus. He was a role model for me in never getting a Ph.D. (probably never had time, and the field was so young then). He was a canny leader and capable teacher, as well as a visionary.

His work on information environments is becoming a “first principle” to which I am returning more frequently to these many years later. His career just missed the advent of the World Wide Web, but he will live on in our blogs, our contributions for which he laid the foundation, and our impulses of originality. I thank him for opening the door of my professional mind.

Bob Taylor is the reason I chose the School of Information Studies at Syracuse for my MLS. His essay in the school catalog sold me. He wrote about the need to develop information professionals with skills and perspectives that could apply in many settings. He said we needed to be tolerant of ambiguity. I didn’t fully understand what he meant then, but his vision struck a chord. I get it now. He was right. And I am grateful for his contribution to the profession, to the School, and to my life.

Julia Woody Schaeffer
Silver Spring, Maryland

Our paths crossed less than a dozen times. We read each other’s work but talked occasionally by phone (in pre email times). Yet, Bob’s presence on this planet and in my world has been profoundly important to me. Not only did he have smarts, insights, and determination but he had extraordinary courage and the capacity to be graciously honest and to stand firm even when that was difficult. I will always remember and love him.

I met Bob Taylor in the mid-1980s when I worked for Digital Equipment Corporation’s library network. We had invited him to speak at a seminar in Massachusetts, he graciously accepted, and I had the honor of hosting him during his brief visit. As an outcome of that acquaintance, I had several opportunities to communicate with him over the next couple years, and even visited him in Syracuse on one occasion. Those conversations were for me very transformative, and they shaped how I came to view many issues regarding information, knowledge, and evaluation of services. Above all, I remember that many of his ideas were beyond me at the time, and they took me years to absorb. Reading his works and reflecting on our conversations has helped create a significant thread in my overall professional development. I remember also that he was a very kind person, and his willingness to take the time to educate a young unknown, with no connection to his institution, has stayed with me as a living example of how to treat others in the profession.