Most of these remembrances were posted on the AIIP (Association of Independent Information Professionals) listserv or sent via email in June and July 1999.
Some AIIP list members knew Sue through her book. She "told it like it is", and was an inspiration to many. I receive calls every week from people starting businesses or considering becoming independent information professionals. Invariably they volunteer the information that they have a copy of the Information Broker’s Handbook, and praise Sue’s effort.
Others knew her as a colleague - fellow AIIP members met her at the annual conference; some of the newer members attended her seminar on the Information Brokering Business; and some of us have known her much longer, considering her a dear, dear friend.
I got to know Sue very well as we traveled the country doing IPI seminars over the past few years. Evenings after the seminars were over we would have dinner together, share a glass of wine, and talk about our families, our work, our ideas.... Sue was truly a remarkable person in many ways.
I will miss her.
I am still finding it hard to write about Sue using the past tense, but for Sue’s sake, I really would like to share some comments about her from my perspective from another continent.
When I arranged to attend the Online meeting in New York in 1991, the Dialog rep in Sydney (Jenny Affleck who many AIIPers know) suggested I should attend Sue Rugge’s seminar in NY. I had already set up this business, and wondered whether I would learn much by attending. Thank heavens I decided to attend, as I learned an enormous amount of very practical know-how and met a very special person. At the end of the day I looked at Sue and thought to myself - "There is an absolutely amazingly generous person with a huge heart who just gave out everything she knew to everyone in the room".
I returned to Australia and suggested to the Information Science Section that we invite her to our 1993 online conference. Again I was so impressed with Sue’s practical knowledge, her knowledge about marketing and how information is actually used by our clients and how skillfully she was able to share this knowledge. She was very intrigued about the corporate structure of the business I had established as a joint venture with a large library. She talked to me a lot about AIIP and we also talked about running her seminar in Sydney. Eventually we decided to run the seminar jointly in Sydney in February 1995 as a satellite event to the next online conference. I was to cover those aspects governed by Australian law for example such as setting up companies etc. 50+ people attended from all over Australia, some I think from New Zealand and certainly some from the other side of this continent. She was thrilled. So was I. So were the people who attended.
It was when Sue was here for that second visit in 1995 I told her of Ruth Ward, a Sydney information broker who was in hospital with breast cancer and who badly wanted to meet Sue again but was too ill to attend the conference. Ruth had met Sue on Sue’s earlier visit to Sydney in 1993 so was keen to meet her again. Without hesitation, Sue agreed to visit Ruth in hospital where she greeted Ruth like a long lost friend hugging her and chatting to her about the business of being an information broker. Ruth was so happy that she had not missed seeing Sue Rugge despite her hospitalisation. After affectionate farewell’s, Sue and I left the hospital about 8pm the night before we were giving Sue’s seminar the next morning. We were both tired of course and we had heaps to do to get ready for the following morning. As we walked to the car, I thanked Sue for making the time available to visit Ruth and I said "You greeted her so warmly you obviously remembered her". "No" she said "but I was so happy to try and give her some support". Ruth died about 2 months later but I will always remember how very kind and generous Sue was in this personal way also.
After the seminar there was an opportunity to take Sue to the members enclosure at the races in Sydney - that too was great fun - watching her terrify the bookies (i.e. bookmakers!)! And for a long walk on a very hot day along the cliffs overlooking a very blue Pacific Ocean followed by a cooling swim.
So I was looking forward to seeing Sue on her home ground and I feel very sad that we did not get the opportunity for her to show me her favourite haunts near home when I was able to attend the recent conference in Berkeley. I was basically two weeks late.
Many in AIIP knew Sue for a lot longer than I did and met her much more frequently and had much closer friendships I am sure. But although I only met Sue face to face a few times - once in New York and a few times in Sydney - and we corresponded fairly sporadically by email - it was very easy to discern what a special and very warm and generous person Sue was which is why so many of us will miss her so much.
I don't have words to express all that is in my heart, so, instead, I send you Sue Rugge's words. She wrote the following to me on my 50th birthday, just a little more than a week before she left for Italy........
We are all born to a world of change, though we may never know why.
We grow and learn, despair, wonder, and laugh, and cry...
And the days fly by.
And some look back with little more than regret and a wistful sigh,
or worry their way toward the future, or do their best to deny
that the days fly by...
Each moment in time is a gift that comes and goes in the blink of an eye.
We question, as always, the meaning of life, and "to live" is the only reply.
So I celebrate you in the here and now. May you live as well as life will allow.
And may your spirits be ever high, so they too, fly..
as the days fly by....
And now, dearest Sue, I celebrate YOU in the here and now, and in the forever.
It's all still too fresh for me to express coherently how much Sue meant to me.
We'd worked together since 1981, when I joined Information on Demand as a researcher. She was my first, and best, client when I went into the online research business for myself. We roomed together on business trips and talked long, long into the night. Jerry and I socialized regularly with her and Hank. Even after I moved out of the immediate Bay Area, Sue and I kept up our ritual of meeting for sushi twice a year, around her birthday and around mine-sushi, because neither of our husbands could stand it, and the two of us adored it.
She and Hank were scheduled to spend next weekend, June 18-20, here at Sea Ranch with us. I haven't had the heart to scratch the date from my calendar.
Sue Rugge was a pioneer and the founder of our profession. She was a risk taker. She tantalized and scandalized the established library profession with her vigor. She made them uncomfortable, because she demonstrated that it was possible to achieve the "impossible" in service and in innovation. No one was less hidebound by tradition.
We laughed and admired her for her inability to NOT turn some idea into a business. Even her own illness became the roots of an organization.
I didn't meet Sue until she came to the second annual meeting of AIIP-and was promptly elected President-elect. What do I remember of her? Her diffidence. She simply didn't know how good she was, or how effective. And yet, that lack of self-importance never stopped her from getting things done, or lacing into you to do something yourself. She was the quintessential mixture of cheerleader and practical mentor. She spouted ideas, and minimized problems. She wasn't pompous, but she knew what needed to get done, and she galvanized people into action.
She was also a great booster of everyone else. One year, she decided my business needed to increase, and started sending job finding work my way. It wasn't what I did, but she was right, I COULD do it, and did.
Another thing I recall fondly about Sue is that she shrugged off setbacks and obstacles. When her house burned, she characteristically mentioned that she kept looking for things that went up in flames, and then said that most things could be replaced.
We had dinner together once at a Chinese restaurant. We ordered hot stuff because she said her sense of taste was going. We talked about families, and kids, and other things, not business. But what I remain amazed at was her statement that she felt somehow inadequate because she had so little formal education. How could she, who had been our guide, our groundbreaker and mentor ever imagine that she needed a piece of paper to validate her worth?
I hope that a library school somewhere will realize that, even posthumously, she would like an honorary degree, and award her a Ph.D. Just like the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, she needed proof of what she knew. She deserves it for moving information professionals from complacency to activism. She made us all business people, and she found a niche for risk takers in the information profession.
One of the most full-of-life people we all know is now gone, and we are all the poorer for it.
I can't remember how I met Sue Rugge, but many years ago, she called me up and asked if I had a guest room since she was coming to Boston to give a class. So, Sue stayed at my house and I watched, amazed, as the phone rang - for her - for days. It wasn't so much that she was conducting business, as that she followed up on all pleas for her time.
She was always willing to give her time to people she didn't know, as well as those she did. She wasn't looking to sell them something (although that often happened), but was looking to learn something from them. She was convinced that others had wonderful skills and advice that she could learn from.
She was coming home from staying at my house when she learned that her house had burned down, and so I always felt kind of a part of that incident.
We eventually joined together in giving seminars and joined with Helen Burwell to found the Information Professionals Institute. So, I saw Sue and Helen several extra times during the year. It was fun, but tiring, jetting around to various cities, so I called it quits. But, Sue and Helen kept going. I remember one frantic moment when Sue realized she had left her teaching notes in a cab. Somehow, she pulled it off; I'm not quite sure how. I think she charmed the cab driver into coming back to deliver them to her.
AIIPers should remember that it was Sue who arranged with all the conference organizers to have a free AIIP booth at the online conferences. For many years, Sue personally unpacked the boxes and did "booth duty", enjoying speaking to all comers about AIIP. She also packed up the boxes afterwards and shipped them on. Although she often had helpers, she was prepared to do the whole job herself, and sometimes did.
People found her warm, unassuming, interested in them, and willing to help them succeed. Sue inspired me and I am happy to say she was my friend.
Back in the Compuserve list days I posted a notice asking if anyone was interested in a flight in my airplane from Palo Alto Airport CA to the Truckee airport in the Sierra, an hour's flight, to go skiing for a day. There were no takers, except for Sue, who was not a skier but had an aunt in Truckee. Well I'm flexible and so I changed my perception from a skiing flight to an aunt-visiting flight, except I wanted to continue on to a small town in Nevada (Yerington) where I had to do a bit of business (pick up my mail, actually). Sue proposed that instead of dropping her off in Truckee we could pick up her aunt and they would keep me company on the rest of the trip. Excellent! That's exactly how it went. Sue and her aunt were delightful company, forced a fine meal on me in Yerington and we had a spectacular trip back through the snow-covered mountains to Truckee and Palo Alto.
Rest in peace, Sue. So sad that you had to endure the suffering and reach the end of your days too soon. You deserved the best.
7 years ago, I had never heard of Sue Rugge. In a very short time, she became many very important things to me. First, she was the author of a book which inspired me to quit a high paying job and enter the world of information. Next, she was an inspiring teacher who taught me many things that would help me survive and even prosper.
Most importantly, she became a dear friend in many conversations, late drinks and emails. I can say no more except that I will miss her terribly and my world is a smaller place without her.
She has earned our tears and prayers.
I can name three people who have literally changed the course of my life and Sue was one of them. I first meet her at her Information Broker's seminar in May of 1992. I was standing in the back of the room reading literature on the table when a woman came up to me and said "Hi, my name is Sue." We chatted about information brokering and I was startled to realize when the class started that she was our teacher!
I spoke with her just weeks before she went to Italy when Lynn Peterson referred her to me for some legal research. Her sunny voice did not foretell what was to be a short time later. I am greatly saddened by our loss.
When I had been in business for about a year or maybe two, I started doing a great deal of sub-contract research for a larger research firm. Out of the blue, I received an e-mail from Sue, who I had met but not really known except by her reputation and book. Her note said that she had thought her researchers were the best, but had heard from this firm that I was better.
Her message not only made my day, but it remained on my bulletin board for the next couple of years, when it made its way to my scrapbook. I will treasure it always.
As I just returned from a weekend out of town and turn on my computer, I am shocked and saddened to learn of Sue's passing. I was so confident that Sue would pull out of her illness, but I know that the odds were against her. I have to believe that she is at peace now and I am comforted by that.
Although my eyes are filled with tears, by mouth has a big smile. I can't get my best memory of Sue out of my head.
I joined AIIP because of people like Sue Rugge. I admired all that she did. When I was elected president elect of AIIP at the Orlando conference, I remember how flattered I was that Sue sought me out in the crowd and congratulated me and wished me well. I was so flattered that she made this effort. We talked about a bunch of things during that conversation and then we found ourselves in near the arcade room at the hotel. I joked and asked her if she wanted to play pinball. Without a blink, she said she had never played before, but sure she'd like to try. I taught Sue Rugge something, how to play pinball and we laughed and enjoyed several games together.
I smile thinking of Sue. I will do my best to keep her memory alive and I wish her family and close friends comfort by her memories.
My most vivid memory of Sue is the evening I spent at her home, where she and Hank made a batch of spaghetti, as we talked in their kitchen.
Sue was so excited that I was there. She said that too often Hank disappeared when her information colleagues came over, since our shop talk was as foreign to him as his would be to us. But tonight would be different. In fact, this time, Hank and I talked shop - FDA regulations, medical device news, the troubles in getting new devices to market - while Sue puttered in the kitchen.
I'll never forget how sweet Sue was, that she cared so much that Hank have someone to talk shop with.
I too took the weekend off and was, oh - what is the word for saddened and relieved, to get the news of Sue's death. Saddened that we have lost her in the physical and relieved that her pain is now over.
Here are some of my memorable Sue experiences.
1) Via a phone call to set up the IOD account for the corporate library I was working for then. Ended that call figuring that it wouldn't be hard working with her.
2) My business up to that point had been working with small start-ups in the Silicon Valley, well the recession was hitting and I was now a few hundred miles down the road and a lot of my clients weren't on the Internet. So, let's just say I had way too much time on my hands. I decided to call Sue, as president of AIIP, to see if there was some task I could take on. Just a little something to keep the brain cells functioning, while trying to figure out how I was going to restructure my business in the hinterland. Sue was glad to hear from me wanted to know how things were going....then simply said, "well I need someone to be Secretary" It seems that someone had resigned the post and Sue needed to make an appointment. I was positively sure I could not handle the task, it sounded much more important than anything I had done up till then. By the time we got off the phone I had said sure, and was sure I could do the job. Only a few hours later did I start questioning my self only to hear the echoes of Sue's reassurances from the phone call.
3) By now, I have moved back to the bay area changed husbands etc.... Cliff calls me from Australia with excitement in his voice you know the kind where you can see the grin across the phone lines. And says you'll never guess who I ran into on the bus to something or other the conference was putting on. It seems he and Sue had a lovely time catching up half way around the world.
4) Just a few months back, on our regular Saturday afternoon visit to the Border's across the street Cliff and I were checking out the new releases table when I literally ran into Hank. Which lead to hugs all around and then the standard lines followed about funny meeting you here! What conference are we at? What cosmic forces were in play that we were all home at the same time? Sue's last words to us were we should get together in the spring calendars permitting.
If someone's spirit lives on in all that were touched by that spirit, there is a lot of Sue still here.
I heard of Sue before I first met her, from a third person who had some rather negative things to say about her. When I met Sue I asked her about that, and was surprised and impressed that she would not say anything negative about the other person or their relationship, but only commented on the good times and opportunities they'd shared.
As I got to know Sue I realized that this was completely characteristic of her approach: seeing not only glasses that were at least half-full, but also the opportunities those glasses represent - an opportunity to establish a specialized glass-filling service, as well as a water filtration service, a water delivery service, an attitude adjustment and teaching service, etc.
We worked together on a volunteer effort to search for and distribute information about alternate treatments for AIDS in the pre-protease inhibitor days (I think I followed in Reva's esteemed footsteps as searcher); this was also completely characteristic of Sue, that she would leverage her unique skills where they would help others the most, at no charge. It was pure karma that this effort kept business coming her way for years - and yes, again this success was characteristic of Sue.
Sue was so proud when she addressed the graduating class of San Jose State Library School, and so unassuming and funny, and a completely down-to-earth and grounded business person. She saw opportunities everywhere and was courageous about following them up. I knew I'd internalized her teachings when I started quoting some of her sayings back to her (She said "That sounds familiar"...).
I owe Sue a lot. I was pleased to help her with medical searching, and privileged to know her. I'll really miss her.
I think she had a clue at times about how much she was treasured in the community. I'm glad she's no longer in pain.
I never had the opportunity to meet Sue Rugge herself - but her famous book encouraged me in a tremendous way to start as an IB at the end of last year. And if I need some "spiritual" help solving the every-day-problems or just a little kick to go on in this wonderful profession: I just read in Sue´s Information Broker´s Handbook.
She influenced my life and the life of my whole family.
Reading your mails during the last three days reminds me of a sentence, Sue Rugge wrote to AIIP-members after she lost her house in a fire and got so much help and sympathy: " ... and (I´m) proud to be a member of AIIP".
I feel with her family and wish they´ll find the strength to overcome such a loss.
I am a small fry in this big IB world but I too would like to share my sadness over Sue Rugge's passing. I had the opportunity to meet her at the St. Louis conference, after reading her IB handbook cover to cover. I even asked her to sign it. What amazed me was her surprise that I would want such a thing from her. We talked for several minutes and although she probably would never remember me or our conversation it has stayed with me as an example of the kind of person I would strive to be: Humble, kind and always giving.
I consider it a great priviledge to have met her and to have gotten to learn from her. Her presence in this world has made it a better place and she will be greatly missed.
In the late seventies I was working at Sonoma County Public Library and saw a demonstration of Dialog. In 1981, the library director decided that the library should begin using Dialog and all adult reference librarians were trained in early December. I was not content with my library job at that time and was seeking new opportunites but didn't want to leave Sonoma County. A couple of weeks later, in the same December of 1981, I went to the Californai Library Assocation Conference in San Francisco. I think it was at the Hilton on O'Farrell. As a I walked the exhibit floor, I came to an exhibit booth for Information on Demand (IOD). I watched as someone at the booth ran a search and printed Dialog-generated answers from a teletypwriter terminal. Sue Rugge was at the booth and as soon as I saw her and learned of her business, I knew that I was going to do the same thing - well at least a version of it. This was the key to my future.
At that time, Sue had not written her book and did not consult for IBs. But Sue became an icon to me at once, to use Marty's word to describe her. I called her on a pay phone once from the library during my coffee break but she preferred not to talk to me at that time, maybe seeing me as a potential competitor - or maybe not wanting to talk to someone who didn't know what she was doing at the time. Several years later, I saw her at a advertising trade show in San Jose and talked to her about this incident and we laughed.
One day, a training seminar offered by BRS was held at IOD. I think that was in 1982 or 1983. I attended because I wanted to learn BRS but also because I wanted to see the woman who ran IOD. As part of the BRS experience, Sue Rugge offered to give our class a tour of the IOD building. My memories are vague but I was deeply impressed with Sue, operating a unique buisness yet seemingly such a genuinely nice and gentle person. She took us through the research department and I think upstairs (Reva was there an upstairs?) to the document delivery department. She took us right into her office. There was a lot of stuff in it-stacks and piles and things. Why am I remembering popcorn too? She was kind of dressed like Berkeley people dress-and she was the president of her own comany. I was enthralled. It was like being a little kid in an ice cream factory on a tour with ice cream treats for all. Afterwards, I followed my heart and my plan to become an independent information professional, inspired by Sue Rugge.
From 1992-1996 I taught a course on information brokering at San Jose' Graduate School in Library and Information Science. I invited Sue to my class as a guest speaker every year, following a precendent set by my predecessor, Rose Falanga, who knew Sue, and who had also invited Sue to speak to graduate students. And Sue came every year, even the year when she was dealing with the aftermath of the fire when her house was burnt to the ground. We spoke a little each time after class before she left. And at some point, Sue had stopped driving because of medication she was required to take and she asked me if I could pick her up at her house to take her to school with me. We had the chance to talk all the way to San Jose - an hour drive. She told me more about her life. My course was all day and Sue had to return home after her talk to get other things done and so she took public transportation that year. I don't think I would have wanted to do that. Another unique Sueism - doing for others at her own inconvenience. She did this for me and she did this for all those students who wanted an opporutnity to hear her speak. And she always spent two hours of her time in my classes. And she never once asked for a fee, although I don't know how she could do what seemed to me a lot of pro bono work. She did sell her book to students, which was required reading of course, and I know that was important to her.
In 1993, I attended my first AIIP conference in Baltimore at the urging of Mary Ellen Bates. My son had just passed away a few months earlier and I needed emotional support from my signficant other to travel out into the big wide world. Richard attended with me ( and continued to for four years). As Richard and I came down for the banquet, we bumped into Sue. We were a little late and she was too. She invited us to sit at her table. I was so very pleased and honored. She liked Richard immediately. I don't remember if there was wine at the table but don't think so because Sue and Richard left together and came back about 15 minutes later with a bottle of white and a bottle of red for all at our table to share. They ordered glasses and a corkscrew and we all celebrated being together. This was the start of a great friendship. The year we went to Albuquerqe, we invited Sue and Hank to our suite and enjoyed conversations about wine and food.
I went to Boston to give a seminar for IPI one year and Sue and I shared a room. She came in late, after she had dinner with a local good friend and information professional, Suzanne Bjorner. That night, she and I talked half the night like two little girls at a slumber party. Teaching the next day was really hard for me but this is a memory I'll always treasure.
Sue wanted to come visit me at my home with Hank. She started our friendship. She made it happen, something I am forever grateful for. Sue and Hank and Richard and I began to get together for dinners a couple of years ago and one Christmas day we ate left over prime rib from Christmas eve at their house. Richard helped prepare the prime rib leftovers because Sue didn't think she would do it right - or maybe it was to include Richard, who she knew loves to cook.
Our meals out alternated between the the Bay Area and Sonoma or Napa Counties. We went to the French Laundry in Napa first-on Valentine's day in 1997. What an expensive place. I think we dropped $250 per couple and yes it was good but it was the company that mattered. We decided that we would eat less expensively in the future, especially since Hank knew of terrific places without the price tag.
At AIIP in St. Louis last year, Sue made a dream happen for me. I hope this won't embarrass you Roger if you are listening but Sue asked me if I would like to join her for dinner and told me that she had invited Roger Summit, founder of Dialog. Helen, Linda Cooper, Ruth Orenstein, Sue and Roger and I ate dinner together. I don't know if Sue knew how wonderful I felt about this because I didn't tell her-yet Sue knew so much. With Sue and Roger in one spot together, I sat at the table with two of the most important people in my professional life and three other distingushed contributors to the information industry.
Last summer I had an invitation to go to Europe to speak. I decided that Richard and I must go to Italy to one of Sue's places. I looked at the Italia Rervations Web site and was overwhelmed by all the choices. I called Sue. At once Sue told me which place was right for us, espeically because it had a wonderful kitchen where Richard could cook to his heart's content. In fact, Richard cooked four of our seven days while there and the all the fresh food from the local supermarket was excellent. We stayed at one of the Umbrian places, Casa Carina, in the hill country. Sue and Hank and Richard and I met in Mill Valley for dinner in November at the Buckeye Roadhouse before our trip to Europe to talk about last minute details about traveling in Italy and to see each other. Hank ate a hamburger - he prefers meat to fish and we shared these terrific onion rings. I can't remember what Sue ordered for sure but it might have been liver and onions because that's on the menu and she loved organ meats.
Sue Rugge and Bodega Bay: Richard knew of Sue Rugge before he knew Sue Rugge. He used to work at the Tides Wharf Restaurant in Bodega Bay. One day he came home and said that a credit card with her name had been left at the restaurant. He asked, "Isn't that the friend you always mention?"
One day, a man from Bodega Bay called me. He had found my ad in the yellow pages of the Sonoma County phone book under Information. He was looking for a woman he had met on an airplane who told him all about information brokers - and he needed one. I told him, "Oh, you want Sue Rugge." I gave him her phone number.
Sue and Hank ate dinner with us at the Willowside Cafe here in Sonoma County in March. We had cancelled the first date because Sue had a cold and I think Hank was very busy. I thought that they may want to cancel again for similar reasons and that it would be fine because I knew I would see Sue in April at AIIP, upon her return from Italy. I called Sue to let to see how she was and told her it was if then needed to cancel. She said, "oh no...she wouldn't thinking of canceling twice." We met. I'm so glad I got to see Sue in March and missed her terribly in April during the onset of this recent illness.
We did food things together but Sue also referred clients to both to my research and mentoring business and we loved talking about the information world. One of Sue's special gifts was in connecting people to herself and each other. Sue spoke to me of those who she admired and respected and I've heard that she spoke to others of me. There are people out there that I know but don't know, because of Sue.
Sue Rugge is my beacon and always will be.
Amelia Kassel wrote:
>She took us through the research department and I think upstairs (Reva was there an upstairs?) to the document delivery >department.
Yes, there was. That would have been the Berkeley Way building. The Research Dept. and Sue's office were on the ground floor, and doc del was upstairs. There was no interior staircase; we had to go outside, turn the corner, go down a little alleyway and climb a flight of outside stairs. During the winter, when it rained, everybody got drenched.
I'm trying to picture the front part of the office during those years. Sue's office used to be adjacent to the research department, but later, after the acquisition by Pergamon, she and Christine Maxwell moved around the corner and into the expanded space. In that earlier period, though, Sue liked to keep the sliding window open between her office and the research department. She loved to listen to our conversations, not just the research strategizing and brainstorming we'd do together, but also the wisecracks, wordplay and banter that went on among the 5 of 6 of us on the research staff. Whenever she closed her window, we knew that she had to be speaking to a =very= important client ,or on a very confidential matter.
We had a similar arrangement in the previous office on Channing Way, just off Telegraph Avenue. There, when I was first hired, I did a lot of telephone research, and my desk was right under Sue's office window. Occasionally she'd lean out the window and say "I know you've probably thought of this, but have you tried...?"
Food, oh my yes. I'll never forget flying cross-country to some conference, probably National Online, in NYC. Sue had made reservations for the two of us at the River Cafe, which was then THE trendy restaurant in New York; she'd had to book weeks in advance. My plane was late getting in, and I was sure I'd blown it. I called from the airport and left a message for Sue at the hotel =and= at the restaurant, saying I'd be there as soon as possible (I had no idea whether she'd left for the restaurant or been forced to cancel the rez, so I opted to go to the hotel rather than directly to the restaurant). I arrived at the hotel around the time we were due to be seated at the restaurant, and found a message from her saying that she was sending her cabbie right back to the hotel with instructions to wait for me if necessary-the location was kind of esoteric, the cab had gotten lost on the way there, but now that the guy knew his way, she wasn't going to take any chances. And she did, and he did, and by the time I got there, she'd thoroughly charmed the restaurant staff, who took very good care of us. The food was excellent, too.
>She saw opportunities everywhere and was courageous about following them up.
I remember Sue saying "NEVER go anywhere without your business cards." It was amazing to watch her do marketing, not just at conferences and from behind exhibit booths, but on airplanes, in hotel lobbies, at parties that ostensibly had nothing to do with business at all I remember her networking with my stepdaughter, who owned a software company, at my wedding!
One rule she established at IOD: The company would pay for us to attend local SLA chapter meetings, but ONLY if we could come back and report on who we sat next to-on =both= sides-and what we were able to tell them about IOD. If we sat next to our IOD colleagues, we were not to expect reimbursement.
It is Monday morning in Sydney and I feel so sad to check my email and find out the sad news about Sue. She had fought and hung on for so long I was confident she would recover slowly. She was an enormously generous person - generous in her support, in sharing her knowledge and in her day to day relationships with so many. I will miss her too even though I live so far away.
I was out of town, without my laptop, and just found out today about Sue. I appreciate everyone's comments, and especially those of you who knew her for a very long time.
I heard about Sue after founding my business. I would travel to Oakland for the Bay Area Group 3-4 times a year. Sue was always encouraging. After we moved to Houston and visited California, Sue and Hank invited us to dinner. I spent some quality time with her at the 1998 Conference.
If there is one thing I would have wanted for Sue, it is for her to realize how intelligent and smart she was. I will miss her.
just got a call from a stranger who wanted to know what to call herself in her new business-information broker or research consultant. the usual back and forth, concluding with the conclusion that you need some clarity so clients know what you do. and if you have to have clarity with some negative connotations, it's better to be seen as dangerous (takes the fbi to catch us!) than benignly inert (marian the librarian with a DBA).
but basically then, like always, i told her to call... no, can't do that anymore... to buy sue's book. she already had it on order from amazon.com.
and by the way, do we aiip-ers have an associate program with amazon.com to recommend books over our web site for new members or interested parties? we could get 15% commission and do good for members and maybe even potential clients. let's start that and call it the Rugge Reading Room with an online plaque explaining why we named the room for mother sue.
This has been a challenging few days for AIIP. I am touched by the way we have all pulled together and supported one another. Please be assured that AIIP will celebrate and honor Sue Rugge's life by creating a lasting tribute in her name. The board has received several suggestions for tributes and will be happy to receive any suggestions you may have (please send email to email@example.com). We will evaluate the alternatives and seek to find a tribute appropriate to Sue's spirit and the wishes of her family.
It was 1992. I was just beginning to test the research waters and knew nothing about the industry. Being primarily a telephone researcher, I, of course, looked in the yellow pages for Oakland and San Francisco to see who in the world did this. I called someone who told me about a Bay Area Info Group meeting and said that I'd be welcome. Sue was there and mentioned her book and seminar. A few days later I decided that I should read the book and called the Rugge Group to see if there was a copy available that I could purchase.
Sue's house had burned and the Rugge Group was operating out of her colleague Cindy's house in the Oakland hills, 10 minutes away from me. Sue gave me directions and said "come on up" - so up I went. I bought the book and Sue and I chatted for a few minutes. We talked a bit about telephone research - it turned out that their telephone researcher had just left unexpectedly the day before.
"Can you start tomorrow?" Sue asked. "
"No problem" I said - having NO idea that I was dealing with a founding member of the profession - an "icon" as John said.
I arrived the next day and dove into work with Sue and Cindy - the three of us down in the large basement office - phones ringing, faxes flying, online searches going. Sometime in those first few days I was talking to a senior v.p. of a major rental car company on a project dealing with stolen rental cars. He was, as it turned out, both our client and an expert in the field. As usual, I was lost to the world, wrapped up in the conversation. "Well that's just great, Charlie. Thanks so much, you've been a peach" I said, in my not disrespectful, but I fear, a bit irreverent manner (since he had, in fact, been a peach). I hung up, remembered where I was and thought "Oh lord, what have I just done?! I'm not just representing myself anymore, I'm representing the Rugge Group."
I looked up to see Sue watching me from across the room. She'd followed my whole end of the conversation to get a feel for her new researcher. I thought "Oi!", but Sue grinned at me from ear to ear. "That was great" she said. "You're a natural."
Over the rest of the time until she sold the Rugge Group, she handed me projects from water rights to computers. I learned from her, and laughed with her, and watched her go into overdrive to solve difficult problems.
As the months passed, I read her book, took her seminar and realized more and more that she was one of the giants in the industry.
Luckily, by then she was "just Sue" - down to earth, funny, bright, professional and supportive - because had I known her stature to begin with, I would have been way too freaked to jump in with an airy "No problem".
Over the years Sue and Hank routinely held the Bay Area Info meetings at their rebuilt home. Hank and I would talk about wines, Sue would share her latest art acquisitions and plans for Italy.
I saw her just before we left Oakland to go travelling for a few years. Sue was so pleased and excited for us. We talked about our respective adventures - ours on the road being gypsies, hers in Italy.
Rest well Sue. You lived your adventures to the full with energy and joy.
From my interview with Sue Rugge in 1997, published in InfoThink: Practical Strategies for Using Information in Business, Scarecrow Press, 1998, pp.148-149:
On October 20, 1991, Sue Rugge's world fell apart. Upon returning to her home in Oakland from a business trip, she was greeted at the airport by the news that her home had burned to the ground in the Oakland-Berkeley Hills fires. In her home was her business and all of her records which were destroyed. Shortly thereafter, a message went out to Section Zero, a bulletin boardon Compuserve for AIIP members:
A Heartfelt thanks from Sue Rugge (76220,454)
I want to thank all of you in Section Zero for your immediate and continuous outpouring of notes, calls, and cash. Once again, the generosity, camaraderie, and caring that is so unique to our industry has evidenced itself. I am both humbled and proud to be a member of AIIP.Next to my garden--which I hope will grow again someday--music brings me the most pleasure. To receive the hand-picked recordings complete with handmade covers and the hardware on which to play it was fantastic. to hear the beautiful arias of Puccini and Verdi enabled my husband Hank and I to believe tht our world could be put back together...when you lose everything--business, home, and personal effects--you are immediately reminded of what is most important--people. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being there when I needed it most.
I met Sue many years ago. I was a student at Cal and did some running for her from the campus libraries. When I dropped off work at her home office, she was always happy to share her experiences with me and offer advice about growing my business. She probably did not think much about the support she was so willing to extend to me but without her help and unasked for assistance with key business contacts my life course might have been very different.
My time with Sue and the stories I have read here, remind me of James Stewart's character George Bailey in "It's A Wonderful Life". I believe the number of lives changed by Sue Rugge's knowledge and natural generosity would surprise all of us.
Although I met Sue on several occasions, she never knew that she was indirectly responsible for my entering the IB field and starting my business.
A bit over 3 years ago, I was "down-sized" from my job at a consulting firm, where I had been doing a lot of market research work. During my time there, I had become fascinated with the work our corporate librarian was doing. I had said to the librarian on more than one occasion, if I were younger and had the energy to go back to school and earn yet another degree, I would definitely work on my MLS.
Shortly after I left the company, I received a flyer in the mail that had been forwarded to me by the librarian's assistant. It was a flyer for one of Sue's seminars that was going to be held in the DC area. The note attached indicated that the woman who had sent it knew nothing about the seminar and nothing about Sue, but she had sent it as she thought it might be something I would be interested in. I became very excited when reading about the seminar(s) as it mentioned Information Brokering, a term I had never heard before, and it did indeed sound like something I would be very interested in. While I had worked in market research and related fields for many years, I was still searching for what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I called the librarian at my former company and asked her if she had ever heard of Sue Rugge. She bubbled over with information about Sue and let me know that yes, the seminars mentioned were legitimate seminars and would be well worth my while. Unfortunately, this was at a time when I couldn't afford to attend any of the seminars.
I immediately sought out Sue's book and it was the first thing about the IB field I ever read. After that, I continued to research the field, read everything I could get my hands on, and eventually started by business. I was thrilled when I actually met Sue the following spring at the Orlando conference. I'm sorry that I never took the opportunity to tell her the unsuspecting role she played in my life.
I will share here just another small vignette about Sue. In my first week on the job as Director of the Engineering Societies Library, I found document delivery runners from many different services fighting it out in the stacks and reading room, some even misshelving materials so keep track of them for their own purposes. Georgia Finnegan was at my doorstep within a few days requesting permission to install their fax machines turning our main reading room into a branch office, competing and winning against the Library's own service, and sometimes damaging the collection in the process.
As a librarian I had only known the document delivery business as a user. Now I was on the other side, squarely IN the document delivery business, complicated by being the keeper of a large and heavily used collection.
Only one thing to do! Get smart fast! I called Sue Rugge, who had been known to me then (1990) only through her reputation and IOD. Wow. She spent a long time on the phone with me, time that was worth months of learning to me. Through AIIP I subsequently did meet her in person and got a glimmer of her very sharing personality. I'm trying now to remember if I ever really let her know just how valuable her generosity with her time was to me during that first telephone conversation. I hope so.
She did indeed touch many people.
In the early days of Dialog I recall how important we felt Information On Demand and subsequent companies were to the information retrieval movement. Although we made considerable progress acquainting institutional librarians with the utility of using computers in this regard, we had no way of reaching true end-users, something the information professionals were quite adept at (as well as acting consultatively to librarians as well).
Sue was always a pleasure to work with for we had much the same missionary objective - that of increasing awareness of the new technology and how it could empower the individual. Sue has been one of the greatest contributors to getting out the word what with her courses, books, and individual consultations.
Now I regret not having spent more time with her.
The triangle scarves: The pattern came from the yarn shop here in Colorado Springs. I took Sue there when she came to visit, and she loved the yarns (the brighter the better, as those of you who have the scarves well know) and the pattern. My mom and I had been weaving triangle scarves; Sue took to knitting them on LARGE needles, especially when traveling. She said it made for great conversation openers with the stuffy business types sitting around her.
The Oakland Fire: The worst moments were trying to call her the night of the fire when all the phone lines rang busy. The lines had melted. I didn't know that she was just arriving at the airport, so you knw how relieved I was to hear her voice the next day! The best moments were later answering those same phone lines which had been forwarded to mine. Explaining to callers that yes, The Rugge Group was fully operational (just slightly untrue) and asking what could we do for them made me feel at least partially useful in the face of that horrible disaster. Sue, of course, met the challenge of rebuilding both a home and a company with her usual energy and cheerfulness. What an example for all of us!
Most convoluted "how I met Sue" story: While I was in Customer Services at DIALOG in Palo Alto, I taught a class in L.A. which was attended by a private investigator from Alaska who needed a short vacation in the sun. After I moved to Colorado, I became a member of his investigators organization which was based in Arizona where he had relocated. He suggested I talk to Sue about working for her, so I called her in Oakland, and we agreed to meet at a conference in Washington DC. Thanks, Leroy, for facilitating a great friendship!
I met Sue at my first and only AIIP conference 2 years ago in Orlando. I remember getting to the hotel there about 1 AM, and as I was checking in, here comes this other lady laden down with luggage, boxes and desperately in need of a dolly to get everything upstairs. I felt so sorry for this poor person, because there was no staff in sight to help her. She checked in and waited and waited for someone to come.help her with everything. I think she finally just took the dolly upstairs with her. In the morning when I went to my first seminar, I was so surprised to see this same lady up, wide awake and full of energy, while I was half asleep but determined to get through this seminar I signed up for. The person giving the seminar was Sue of course. It was my first seminar on learning to become an info broker. She did manage to hold my interest for the day, and I was deeply indebted to her for imparting all this knowledge and enthusiasm for her subject matter. I acquired such respect for her that day, and looked at her as a kind of role-model of someone who could accomplish anything she had a real passion for. She was the one who told us all in that class, "do what you do best, and have someone else do the rest"...(that may be a misquote), but it is what I remember the most about Sue..she was an expert in marketing herself and her companies. The other people she worked with did the research, and she knew her strengths and her weaknesses. So many people are still trying to find theirs. Sue was a complete person it seems to me, and those people are too few. She had the humor, and the true ability to listen and empathize. I did not get to know her well, but I too will miss her.
Like many of my colleagues, I know Sue primarily from this list and her work. But I also remember our Mexican dinner at the AIIP conference in San Diego, and her good cheer and uplifting words. She was truly one of a kind and will be sorely missed.
Although my only direct contact with Sue was at the seminar three years ago, she left me a strong impression as a person who had passion in her work, a down-to-earth personality and generous spirit. Her seminar was realistic and pragmatic so that we would have no illusion about what we would be getting into if we chose the field. I particularly noticed her generous spirit in the material we got at the seminar - it included actual samples from her own practice to show us how to do things.
Our friend, and my friend, Sue is gone.
It's hard to believe that the ICON of the industry has passed away. All too soon.
To her husband, Hank, and her son Jim, may G_D comfort you during this time of your sorrow.
I will miss her terribly.
I was only able to know her through e-mails and phone calls from the past year. She thoroughly encouraged me, a complete stranger who was testing the waters in the IB business at that time.
When Sue found out about the September '98 layoff from my regular job, she she advised: "...you should read, read, and reread and work with Amelia [Kassel]. I have total faith that you will make it, what ever you decide to do. Your colleague, Sue." I knew we had clicked somehow when she considered me a colleague and that gave me a boost.
One good thing out of all this is that we are learning about each other and I believe this is bringing us closer together, as professionals and friends.
The memories are unique. I'd love to see these and more compiled into a book I'd read over and over just for the love and encouragement each story brings. Sort of like "Sue's Chicken Soup for the IB Soul."
I introduced myself to Sue and Helen at their booth at the Online Exhibit Hall in Washington DC in 1996 and was warmly acknowledged then and every time I passed by after that. Both remembered me from that brief introduction when I saw them at their booth again in 1997 so the hellos were even friendlier. My last vision of Sue was her walking away from the exhibit hall on the last day after she had broken down her booth. Victor Miller was at her side, carrying a bag for her.
I actually had bought a different book on information brokering. Either in 1994 or 1995, I acquired "Information for Sale, Second Edition," by John H. Everett and Elizabeth P. Crowe, 1994. That book, which I must admit I read only in part, led me to find AIIP and Mary Ellen Bates in 1996.
I just turned to the chapter on "Conversations with Independent Information Professionals." How familiar most of the names are now: Dr. Marilyn Levine, Reva Basch, Mark S. Hewitt, Paula Eiblum, Pam Patterson, Mary Ellen Bates, Mike Burnside, Susanne Bjorner, Susan E. Caldwell, Terry Brainerd Chadwick, Stephanie Ardito, Ray Jassin, Susan Feldman, Winston Maike, Mrs. Vaughan Buchanan, Chris Dobson, Sue Savage, Thea Hurwitz, Susan Detwiller, Janet R. Feeler, Cynthia Schoenbrun, Julie L. Moore, and "The pioneer: Sue Rugge." I am looking forward to reading them all sometime. If you have the book and want to see Sue's profile, it is pages 157-160.
Information on Demand was the first Dialorder supplier, and Sue was the first Dialog customer I met after joining Dialog in 1979...she came by the office to help design the Yellowsheet. I didn't see her all that often, but it always amazed me that she remembered me from one time to the next. The last time I saw her was at a meeting for entrepreneurs at Stanford a few years ago; we had a long talk (about copyright and Dialog ERA and the CCC, as I remember it).
What a shame...she was quite a woman.
My brush with Sue came back in early 1987. I was heading to Sweden on vacation, vaguely hoping to be able to find a job over there in the info industry (I was at West Publishing at the time). I happened to find an online job posting from the year before in which Sue was acting as a go-between for an Oslo company that wanted an info pro. I called her up to chat. The position was filled, but she gave me all kinds of advice and put me in touch with the Oslo company. She was quite friendly and helpful and took a lot of time out of a busy day for somebody who just called her out of the blue.
The Oslo company eventually tipped me off about two information brokers in Stockholm, both of which I wound up working for. So I really owe quite a bit to Sue. Not that I wouldn’t have found my way without her, but her connections were helpful.
I never did meet her, unfortunately. I had been looking forward to doing so some day so I could tell her how it turned out in Sweden. I’m sorry I won’t get the chance to do so now.
I was shocked and saddened to learn of Sue's passing. She put her heart and soul into the industry and was truly a pioneer in the field of information brokering. The community will miss her, her ideas, and the energy she devoted to her profession.
The first time I saw Sue Rugge's name it was on a reply to a stranger's question in the information brokers' forum of Compuserve. As usual she was offering advice, encouragement, and pitching her services all at the same time. A real marketing pro.
I was a 36 year old grad student in Milwaukee's library school, having been reengineered out of a corporate job the year before. I'd read Alvin Toffler's "Power Shift" in the recent past and was convinced that preparing for the information economy was the smartest thing a guy with a marketing communications background could do.
I was also trying to make a mark in grad school by organizing and producing a lecture series I called "Informed Sources." The goal was to bring in speakers from the business world who had responsibility for finding, using, and distributing information. I'd already secured speakers from Abbott Labs, Baxter Healthcare, Lotus Development, and a few other companies.
After reading Sue's reply, and being totally clueless as to her identity and stature in the industry, I wrote her an e-note describing the lecture series and inviting her to speak. I included my home phone number. About a week later she called and, after a few more minutes of explanation on my part, she agreed to speak free-of-charge, with one stipulation. I had to get her from Chicago to Milwaukee and back in one day. She was in Chicago to attend an industry conference, and she had to fly in and out of O'Hare.
To accommodate her I asked another guest speaker, a marketing manager for the Hoover software product, if she would share the bill with Sue at the lecture; and, oh by the way, could she give her a ride to Milwaukee, since they were both attending the Chicago conference. Again I got lucky, because the marketing manager agreed.
During the month or so before Sue arrived I became nervously aware of just who it was that I'd invited to speak. My excitement at landing a bona fide information industry celebrity was tempered by the realization that she scared the cr*p out of most of my professors. I came to realize, much to my surprise, that she was not universally loved by librarians.
The lecture itself was anticlimactic, from the standpoint that only about 20 people showed up, which was typical for the series. Sue talked about the absolute need for information brokers to understand business and marketing as well as information resources. She talked in a self-deprecating way about her career. She answered a lot of newbie and wannabe questions and signed a copy of her newest book for me.
The best part of the day came after the lecture, when we went to dinner. I took every guest speaker out for a fine meal to say thank you, since they all spoke for nothing. I also used the dinners as a sort of small group seminar, and while there were several others at the table with us, including two distinguished members of the library school faculty, that evening I felt like I was her special guest. Aside from the counsel, encouragement, and advice she gave me, she also made me feel like I had something to offer the industry, that my ideas were valid and worth pursuing, and that I could accomplish what I was setting out to do.
She also did one other thing that I'll never forget, although it may not translate well to e-mail. At the end of the meal the waiter brought over the desert tray and showed us all a tempting selection of luscious treats. Everyone at the table declined until he reached Sue and me. She eyed a creamy-chocolatey-fruity-pastry concoction and said something like, "That looks great, but I'd never eat the whole thing." Gentleman (and sweets fan) that I am, I said, "I'll split it with you." Mind you, this was a pretty swanky joint. I could almost hear the noses on the other side of the table crinkle up. Sue said "Bring us one of those, with two forks please." The waiter disappeared, then reappeared with the goodies. As we started to dig in Sue looked at me and said in a conspiratorial whisper, "We do this all the time in California." I couldn't have felt more special.
That night I drove Sue back to Chicago and dropped her off at the front door of her hotel in the Loop. But that wasn't the last time we spoke. Over the next several years we stayed in touch via e-mail through Compuserve. She always addressed me as a colleague, gave credence to my ideas, and treated me as more of a professional than I really was. She shared her hard won insights and wisdom with me when I had very little to offer in return other than sincere appreciation.
The last time I saw Sue was at an industry convention in Washington D.C., one I wouldn't have attended if not for her. Because she had a booth at the event's tradeshow, she had passes to the halls and lectures, and she gave me a pair so that I could be there and see what a professional info conference was all about. What would have cost me several hundred dollars was free, because of Sue. Some of you may remember seeing me at that event in '96. I was the big blond guy wearing Sue Rugge's name tag for two days.
Remarkably, many of the qualities reflected in the anecdotes and descriptions about Sue ring true to my experience, though I only interacted with her for only one day! What can I add to all the comments and stories compiled?
Upon reflection, I present my own translation from the Latin of the beginning of the Tridentine Mass. It's basically the Psalm attributed to David, number 42 (or 43 depending on your counting). I translated from the Latin because I know no Hebrew, the original language. Yet my Semitic wife helped me on that score, strengthening and helping to confirm my translation.
For those who find it fitting, no justification is necessary. For those who do not, no justification is possible
Here is my translation:
I will approach the altar of my God;
to God the exuberance of my youth.
Execute judgment, my God and vindicate my cause against a pagan lot. Rescue
me from the deceitful and the oppressive One.
For Thee, my God art my fortress.
Why then has Thou repelled me?
And why must I amble about in sadness with the Enemy so afflicting me?
Continue beaming shafts of Thy light and Thy truth, for they beaconed me to
the mountain of Thy holiness and Thy tabernacle.
I will approach the altar of my God; to God the exuberance of my youth.
O God, my God, I will yet praise Thee with the lyre. My spirit, why are
you crushed and reeling in confusion?
Trust in God for I shall proclaim his works and my salvation, my Savior and
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
I will approach the altar of my God;
To God the exuberance of my youth.
God! Gaze upon us and rejuvenate us.
Our security is in the name of the Lord,
Who fashioned both heaven and earth.
It was sometime in 1987 when I received an invitation from Information Professional Institute, Oakland, California to attend a full day seminar in Boston, Mass. on “How to become a Information Broker”. The presenter of the seminar was Sue Rugge, a name I never heard before. Nor was I aware of the institute. Coincidentally, I had just finished reading a book on fee-based information brokerage business when the invitation got into my hands. As a inquisitive entrepreneur looking for ways to expand my business, I honored the invitation thus headed for Boston with an open and optimistic mind.
I speak for everyone at the seminar when I say that Sue Rugge gave us far more than we had bargained for. She schooled us on every facet of Information Brokerage Services. It was indeed a fun & full packed day. We gained extensively from her intellectual property, which she gleefully shared with every pupil. There were score of questions answered every time with smiles on her face. Sue (as we called her) would walk to the student for better hearing of the question and repeat it louder for other students to hear before rending the answer. At interval, she would insist we take a break. She coined the different title for a fee-based information provider such as Information Specialist; Information Broker. How can one not love been a fee-based information specialist when are with Sue. She was a teacher, mentor, coach and a friend.
I recently attended the Online World Conference in Chicago, Illinois. It was at this conference that I learnt that my mentor & teacher had pass on. I was lost for word. But I silently prayed for Sue Rugge.
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