Information yesterday and today

Twelve years ago, I was asking to the Dean assistant of the Information School in Syracuse University (NY) if they planned to offer a distance program for IST in the coming months. SU had been offering in the last year some graduate courses over the Internet that already had started on commercial basis one year earlier.

I was suprised when 7 months later, in June 1996, the Dean assistant told me I had 30 days to enroll to the new distance Master degree program starting the following August. I was excited because this was the only chance I had to follow a Master Degre on InformationResources Management, that in Europe did not exist. I had a job, that I did no wanted to quit and I couldn’t leave my home, because my son was only two and my wife nedded other two hands. But the distance program was possible thanks to the new IT. I could not imagine what I was beginning. I jumped into the new era of information.

My first contact with the Internet had been by chance. In my office they’ve bought a new Mac and a modem to exchange data with othe offices. The modem came with some floppy disks with a connection software of Compuserve. My colleagues where impressed with the colour screen of my Mac, and the way how I could jump from one information to another just by clicking on the links.

Once in Syracuse, I realised that this was nothing compared to what I was going to learn in the next 24 months. Syracuse’s Information School had been the first School of Librarianship in the US (almost 100 years old in 1997). IN the 1980’s they decided to innovate by educating the future Information Resources Managers, that the Paper Reduction Act of Jimmy Carter’s Administration had been forseeing. The proposal was so convincing that the Clinton administration laid on SU Information School to train the IRM’s of their administration in Washington.

The Master degree in Syracuse was more or less similar to the one in Washington, and as a public employee of the Catalan Government I was convinced that i could take much advantage in studying in SU. Between 1998, when I finished the IRM master degree and 2005, when I left the Catalan Government, I had the opportunity to experience the passion and illusion of designing, developing, implementing and managing several new IT projects adapting all the information on tourism of Catalonia to the digital times.

The system that my team and I have built is still running, and it cost 1/50th of the budget that the Spanish Government spent the same year 2002 for his projecte of Tourism Information Web.

Today, I have seen in the web Turismo 2.0 this video broadcasted in YouTube and it reminded me how much has been done since then in the information business, and how lucky I was to experience this as a first mover.

About Oriol

Professor dels Estudis d'Economia i Empresa de la UOC Lecturer of the Department of Economics and Business Administration Universitat Oberta de Catalunya - Barcelona- Spain
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