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Joe BarkerIt is with great sadness that we pass on the news that veteran Infopeople instructor Joe Barker passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly last night. At this time, we have no details in regard to cause, arrangements for memorial service, etc. As soon as we know any more, we will post another message.

Until June 2007, Joe was a full-time reference and instruction librarian at the Doe Library and Moffit Undergraduate Library at UC Berkeley. He held an MLIS from Berkeley and a PhD in French Literature from Emory University. He was a third generation California native who grew up in the foothills between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe.

From 2000 through 2009, Joe taught 135 classes for Infopeople, mostly on web searching, with an emphasis on answering reference questions. The specific titles included PowerSearch, State of the Art Web Searching, Extreme Googling, Making the Most of the Post-Google Web, and Web 2.0: Searching Innovations.

Joe had a unique awareness of what library staff and librarians need to know to step into the post-Google future that now includes the world of blogs and the convenience of RSS feeds. His latest class, Advanced Web Search Tools and Tricks for 2009, was designed to capture ways to explore, use, and find quality information and track trends in web searching. The class was scheduled to start tomorrow, April 7.

Joe will be greatly missed here at Infopeople. If you would like to share a memory or thought of or about Joe, please use the comments section of this blog entry. We will be sure they get passed along to his partner.

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I will miss Joe very much. It was a privilege, and a genuine learning experience, to work with him. One part of Joe's teaching legacy that still lives on is the online tutorial, "Finding Information on the Internet," which he created to accompany his web searching workshops at UC Berkeley: This has become one of the most heavily used and linked-to tutorials on web search and evaluation in the world. It has been translated into Spanish, French, Hebrew, Polish, Russian, German, Dutch and other languages, and adapted for use in libraries and schools from Laredo to Nairobi. It consistently accounts for a major portion of the traffic to the Cal library's website. Perhaps most telling of all, in a world of "perpetual beta" and frequent redesigns: while the tutorial has been updated since Joe's retirement, it still very much reflects his original thinking and writing. There aren't very many people who can create something like that.

I feel honored to have learned from Joe these past few months in our Infopeople online course. I will continue to pass along all the knowledge he shared with us. He will be missed.

We were very saddened to hear of Joe's passing. His legacy will live on through all of us he taught to be better researchers and Internet users. Thank you, Joe, for all your patience and willingness to lead the courses.

Wouldn't say that I knew Joe well, but I did have delightful encounters with him via Infopeple and other groups over a several-year period, and absolutely adored the online course I took with him through Infopeople last year. (It wouldn't be an understatement to say that what he and Sarah offered via Infopeople gave me a great advantage as I began my MLIS studies.) As I said to Sarah, the news hit me unexpectedly hard, and I really feel a terrible void in our community of learners right now. --Paul Dear Holly I am very sad to hear this news also, but thank you for sharing it. I was a colleague of Joe's for many years at UCB, and he always had my back. This is just happening to too many people I know as of late! --Laura Moody Holly Oh so sad am I to hear about Joe. Back in the 80’s we worked together planning programs for NCTPG Spring Conferences and a “Business of Acquisitions” program for ALA. I have more recently attended several of Joe’s Infopeople classes to keep up with online reference sources. He will be missed throughout our California libraries where he touched so many library staff. Brenda Crotts Oroville Branch Librarian Holly, Thanks for letting us know. I only got to take one of these classes, but it was a rare pleasure, and I’m happy to say that I sent him a raving fan letter the next day. Roz Rosalind Kutler, M.L.I.S.

From Corliss Lee, a link to the obituary that Rebecca Green of UC Berkeley Library put together for Joe: