Francis L. Miksa
April 24th, 2014
Francis Miksa received his A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago, Graduate Library School. He served on the faculty of the School of Library and Information Science at Louisiana State University from 1972 to 1984, participating heavily in teaching (including the creation of several courses), and on committees both in the school and in the university. From 1982-1984 he was instrumental in bringing computerization to the school, and in 1983 served both as Acting Assistant Dean and as Acting Dean. While at the school, his research was focused first on library history and subsequently on the idea of the “subject” in intellectual access to information. He also worked with the State Library Documents Division in research related to implementing name vocabulary control for Louisiana state documents, and participated very actively in a grant to study the feasibility of setting up a state agency information network. (The latter resulted in the creation of the Louisiana Governmental Information Network—LAGIN)
Since 1984, Professor Miksa has been at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at The University of Texas at Austin, renamed in 2002 as the School of Information. As coordinator of doctoral studies from 1985-1991 he was instrumental in reviving the GSLIS’s Ph.D. program. From 1986 to 1987 he received a partial University of Texas faculty research leave to serve as Visiting Distinguished Scholar in the Office of Research at the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) in Dublin, Ohio. His research at the latter was on how classification and categorization have been implemented across diverse disciplines, and on the development of classification in the field of library and information science.
Professor Miksa has authored several grant initiatives including a major proposal in the NSF digital library initiative (1993-94). He was also an active participant in the initial digital library movement, particularly in the form of GSLIS’s cooperative work with the Texas A & M Hypermedia Laboratory and its Center for the Study of Digital Libraries. The latter led to his participating in the creation of the first two national digital library conferences (DL ‘94 and DL ‘95), the second of which was held in Austin in June 1995 and for which he functioned as local arrangements coordinator. He also participated in DL ’96 (ACM) as a referee.
Professor Miksa has made active contributions to the GSLIS creation of a Vision Plan for technological advancement. Within the University of Texas at Austin he served two terms as a member of the Graduate Assembly and for two years (1995-96) served on the University’s Faculty Computer Committee and Multimedia Instruction Committee. He also served as a member of the Dean Search Committee in 1989, chaired the GSLIS Dean Search Committee in 1996-97, and served as Acting Dean of GSLIS in 1997.
During the 1990s Professor Miksa’s chief area of research has been intellectual access to information entities (both traditional print-based items and those consisting of digital objects) including the categorization of such entities on the basis of content characteristics. Since 1991 he has been investigating the fundamental nature of document attributes in document representation. In 1998 he received a University of Texas faculty research appointment to explore the implementation of an electronic Web-based graduate level course and text on providing intellectual access to information entities. And, in 2000 he (with Dr. Irene Travis) created a general course on information organization for the MSIS core curriculum.
With the arrival of Dean Andrew Dillon in 2002, and the change of the school’s name to The University of Texas at Austin School of Information, Professor Miksa has been active on the Faculty Recruitment Committee, as well as the Curriculum and Doctoral Studies Committees.
Professor Miksa entered a phased retirement program in 2005 and fully retired in May of 2008.