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For Erik Naggum, in appreciation

Reading Michael Sperberg-McQueen’s blog over the weekend, I came across news that Erik Naggum, an active member of the SGML community, going back many years, has died.

Michael writes:

Erik Naggum, dead? Is it possible? One person fewer who remembers the old days.

I never myself had any direct interactions with Erik, but I can say that it seems to me he did quite a lot to ensure that the old days would be remembered by those who came after. At least I can say that he helped me learn quite a lot about the history of the community and some of its important technologies — because, at the time when I first learning about XML and SGML, I discovered in the SGML/XML Archive Sites section of Robin Cover’s Cover Pages site a link to an SGML Repository at the University of Oslo Department of Informatics, with a note saying that the archive was “created and is supported by Erik Naggum.”

Among the exhaustive range of resources there that can no longer be found anywhere else (including everything from PostScript sources for particular documents to complete archives of long-gone mailing lists), anybody with half an interest in SGML or even XML is likely to find something invaluable (in my case, one part that I’m particularly thankful for being able to find there were items related to the history and evolution of DocBook).

I never got around to contacting Erik to say thanks while he was still alive. So I hope this posting here can make up a little for my neglecting to have done that.

Erik, thanks.

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