Allen C. Benson, Writer, Photographer, Librarian

One of the earliest notable events in my life was when I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in music from the University of Minnesota in 1974. Paula Culp, with whom I studied for five years, was a great influence on my approach to percussion performance and music composition. I served as percussion instructor at St. Olaf College, the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and as Artist in Residence at Augsburg College from 1975-1979. In 1979, I won an audition to perform percussion with the United States Military Academy Band at West Point, New York, a position I held until the summer of 1982. During my career in music my interests included composition, instrument building, and the history and interpretation of French Tambour d’Ordonnance, Swiss Basel Trommel, and early American drum codes.

In a radical move commencing in 1983, I departed from the music profession to begin a career in real estate. My interests in real estate focused on sales, brokerage, and building renovation. This experience evolved into a back-to-the-land adventure in the Ozark Mountains lasting three years from 1989 through 1992.

In the spring of 1990 my interests took another unexpected turn, this time towards libraries. Still living in the Ozark outback, I accepted a position directing the county library system in Searcy County, Arkansas, a position I held for two years. In the summer of 1992, with some reluctance, I left the Ozarks to earn my Master's Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Alabama. My best experience was studying under Michael Malinconico and Marion Paris, both of whom still influence my thinking in Library and Information Science. After graduation, I returned to directing libraries and also began my career as a writer. My first book, The Complete Internet Companion for Librarians (1995), was one of the earliest works written on the subject of integrating Internet resources and services into traditional library practices and in 1998 was ranked by Library Journal as one of the library profession's most outstanding pieces of literature.

More recently I directed the U. Grant Miller Library at Washington & Jefferson College from July 2002 through November 2007. It was during this time that I became an artist member at Pittsburgh Filmmakers and started studying black & white photography.

In Februrary 2008, I traveled to Prague where I practiced my photography and spent one month earning my TEFL certification. In the fall of 2008, I entered the PhD program in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. My dissertation advisor was Chris Tomer and my research interests included ontology of the photograph, knowledge representation, and content and ontological analysis of relationship types. In June 2011, I successfully defended my disseration. My current research interests include the Scone Knowledge-Base project and symbolic representation. I perform this work with Scott Fahlman at Carnegie Mellon University.

© 2010 Allen C. Benson. All Rights Reserved