The very finest and most dreadful slingers of info


April 30, 2003
C O V E R   F E A T U R E

Indy Pick
Best Geek
With the Internet boom over and the techno-gold rush turned to mud, it's more important than ever to remember the revolutionary power and potential of the Internet: as a tool for access, sharing and collaboration.

Paul Jones

No one in the Triangle is more devoted to mining that potential than Internet pioneer Paul Jones, director of, an internationally renowned digital library and conservancy. The UNC-based project hosts sites from all over the world on everything from music to the Free Software movement to poetry to science. It's home to local collections like Documenting the American South, and also hosts the Web streams for college radio stations WXYC and WXDU, among others.

A professor in UNC-Chapel Hill's School of Information and Library Science and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Jones is connected to the original fiber of the Internet. SunSite, the information server he built at UNC which later became ibiblio, was one of the first essential nodes of the World Wide Web. You'd never guess that this charming, easy going professor with long gray hair and glasses, who rambles when he talks and has a goofy laugh, has been such a powerful presence in online culture since its inception.

Jones leaves the door open for his students and brings speakers to the campus to speak on pressing issues of technology and culture, such as Creative Commons founder Glenn Otis Brown. He's also been a critical member of the Triangle Internet Workers group, which helps under-employed techies to network. He's an Open Source guru and advocate for civil liberties and the public domain--with an MFA in poetry to boot.

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