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At last a reference book that is only about library and book superlatives.

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I am an information scientist, science blogger and former science librarian, and now moved into a career as a full-time writer and ghostwriter.

Early Life

Born in Tooting, London, my formal schooling began in England at the Franciscan Primary School in Tooting, London from 1971. This school is not far from the famous and spectacular former Tooting Granada Cinema complex which closed in 1974. It was the very first cinema I visited, back in the early 1970s to watch children's movies and was a perfect childhood fantasy escape from day-to-day life in London in the 1970s.

At a young age (5), I enjoyed going to the library at the Franciscan Primary School (see photo below), quite often, to read any children's book I could lay my hands on. An obsession that inspired me in my teens to be a librarian. Some of my clear favourite books were those by Dr Seuss and Enid Blyton.

What are My Hobbies?
Among of my main hobbies are reading (and writing) fiction and non-fiction works; watching French movies (I am fluent in basic French from living and working in Geneva and Paris); fortnightly visits to Odeon and Cine World cinemas to see blockbusters; watching TV documentaries on science, travel, history and geography subjects such as on Discovery, History, National Geographic, Animal Planet, Quest and Yesterday TV documentary channels etc; reading about human evolution; cooking delicious food from scratch; exploring, tinkering, hacking, rooting, jail-breaking Android phones / iPhones and building simple computer programming database app projects with SDK tools for X-code (iPhone), PhoneGap(Javascript ) and Eclipse (Android).

You can read blogs about some of my hobbies here.
Godfreys Hobby Blogs

Professional Education and Library and Information Science Career
I obtained a biomedical first degree (Biochemistry) from the University of London's King's College in 1989, and then worked as a library assistant for a couple of years in academic libraries, before earning a masters degree in Information Science, from City University, in London (1996), and several professional IT certificates (CISCO) in HTML5 / website design, MS Office apps, C++ and Java/Javascript programming.

Although my first degree was in Biochemistry (from my fascination with medicine), I was equally fascinated with library work alongside information retrieval and databases and decided to settle on a career in online biomedical information retrieval (combining my first and second degrees). I.e. working with biomedical databases or working in biomedical libraries as a catalouger (a catalog is a computerized database on books). So my initial career involved mostly using computerised biomedical databases. A few years later I expanded my horizons, and my information science (information retrieval) & librarianship career has over the years been in multi-disciplinary fields, which has included professional work in academic libraries, as well as specialised libraries or information centres in the pharmaceutical, legal, business and biomedical fields.

I have worked over 16 years in U.K. Government departments and the private sector as a cataloguer or database updater including the House of Lords Library, the Home Office, the Medicines Control Agency Library, National Institute for Medical Research Library, Glaxo Smithcline Library, the Department of Health, and the National Archives, all in London. My most recent work was at NHS hospitals updating the new Cerner database on patient health records. I have also worked in continental Europe, most notably the United Nations' World Health Organization Library in Geneva, Switzerland, and UNESCO Library in Paris where I worked on a major database project cataloguing French and English journals, books, and archival documents between 2003 and 2005.

Most of my library and information retrieval work career in the U.K. and overseas has thus been as as a cataloguer, database input and updating, advanced database searcher (DIALOG, DataStar, Lexis etc) or library website technician (alongside traditional library duties).

As some of my database work involved handling very sensitive or personal data, I have also been trained in knowing how to secure sensitive data and records at work and handle the proper encryption of data.

Writing Books As A Second profession
From the start of 2004, I seriously considering taking up fiction and non-fiction writing as main profession following publication the same year of my first major book, saying good bye to 10 years plus work as a librarian, Since 1984 as a teenager I had already been using my free time at high school, university and work for researching and writing books newspaper articles, and blogs etc.

My first attempt at full-length writing was back in summer 1984, when as an inquisitive 18-year old teenager at high school, I had compiled an impressive 360 page handwritten "science encyclopaedia" (using magazine cut-outs as the illustrations) for my own use from scratch, (which I still keep today, though it is now dog-eared!!!!!), because I could not afford to buy one with my small pocket money. This obsession with compiling things, no matter how trivial, is a trait I have had since my teens.

At university from the late 1980s during my BSc Biochemistry degree at King's College, I was a regular contributor of so many articles about university and student life in London, for the University of London student union newspaper based at Malet Street in London.

In 1995, during my MSc degree in Information Science at City University London, I was a regular contributor of so many articles in the student union newspaper. Around that time while the Internet was still very young baby, (back then in 1995, Netscape web browser and Yahoo Search engine ruled the Internet and Google, Wikipedia, Bing, Twitter and FaceBook had not yet been invented), I began to compile and update a list of all library-related websites that where beginning to show up on the young Internet. I called the new website The Info Connect LIS Directory. By 2005, I had compiled over 1,930 websites. By 2010, I decided that with Google now well advanced and Wikipedia also available as well, there was no need to update the directory anymore, so I no longer update the website, but you can still visit the website at: Librarian's LIS Directory Warning: its a huge directory and the time stops in 2010!!!

In 1997, the well known British journal for information professionals, called Managing Information and published by the famous information management organisation, ASLIB, did a peer-review of the Info Connect Directory website, see:

Info Connect Librarian's LIS Directory review, 1997

N.B. if you click on the website above, and do not get through, remember it is the Way-Back-Machine database, which searches for old web pages that are no longer indexed in search engines like Google. So this means on any given day, thousands of people are trying to access it. I have thus copied the whole review (from the search results of the Way-Back-Machine database), and pasted it here as an alternative access for readers.

While I was a regular contributor of so many articles about and student life in London, for the City University student newspaper, I improved my writing skills a great deal and today, I still contribute short and full-length articles and proofread (paid and unpaid) for magazines, newspapers and journals, mostly tech and science articles, alongside ghostwriting projects.

During and after my MSc degree in Information Science, as part of the computer science module of my course, I also designed an offline search engine database for the Info Connect website (yes the D word again!!), using my skills in Java, Javascript programming and C++ I had learnt at my CISCO course in the early to late 1990s, (programming was one was of my main hobbies at university in the early 1990s). It took me a few days to complete it because the 12-page Javascript programming source code included every single website listed in the directory (almost 2000 URLs). Today young people are encouraged to use Raspberry Pi to learn about programming (writing code) as a hobby. You can view my nice offline search engine here at Godfrey's Javascript Search Engine Using Sniffer Javascript Search Engine is also a great way to learn how search engines or databases in general work.

In my free time, I still practice building simple computer programming database app projects with SDK tools for X-code (iPhone), PhoneGap(Javascript ) and Eclipse (Android). Having mastered in particular app development for Android. In 2012, I completed three simple database apps on the Google Play store (based on Jelly Bean Android OS). I just have not had the time to master the new Android Studio IDE released in 2013, which succeeded Eclipse IDE and update the apps. By the way we use databases a lot these days, without even realising it. Whether we are using an ATM to take cash out, book a flight, using google to locate a website, using a Satellite TV guide planner, buying a train ticket from a automated ticket booth, etc etc, we are still using a good old database in one form or another. Someone writes (programming) the database code or software, someone then compiles and makes a detailed list of data to be used in the database and finally then someone inputs the compiled data into the database and updates it from time to time.

Published Books from 2001 to present
My first published book titled Tip and Tricks for Website Managers, was in fact a ghostwriting project, as part of a collaboration I did with a group of U.K. librarians at EARL, (an early organisation that hosted and managed public library websites back in the late 1990s and middle 2000s), to write a reference book for librarians thinking of hosting websites for their libraries. The final draft manuscript for the book was written in 2000, at a time when few professional librarians had the right skills to host and maintain library websites from within their libraries (often the library website work was handed over to web hosting firms or professional website technicians to build and manage). While at EARL, I helped to manage and update several public library websites in England. I first began to design and update websites back in summer 1995! Tip and Tricks for Website Managers, ISBN 0851424392 was published in 2001 by ASLIB in London and Routledge in 2003. A new edition was published in 2005 as updated ebook (ISBN 0203402979) by Taylor and Francis.

Tip and Tricks for Website Managers Available from Google Books and Amazon Kindle Books.

Library World Records (my second and third published books) are a huge compilation of over 1000 facts and figures about books and libraries around the world. It was published in the U.S. by McFarland & Co publishers in 2004 (first edition) and in 2009 (new updated second edition). I began that book project in early 2002 after abandoning a difficult research-based PhD course in bioinformatics at Oxford University. Library World Records is also partly based on my long time interest in tracing the origins of books and libraries around the world, and compiling the data from my research. My research work for both books was made easier, due to my professional skills as a database searcher and my long time desire for compiling of facts as a hobby from my teens.

Production of the 3rd edition of Library World Records was completed in early 2017, and the new edition was published in September 2017.


Library World Records 3rd edition: ISBN (13 numbers): 978-1-4766-6777-5. 396 pages, 156 new photographs. Includes a detailed bibliography and a 48-page comprehensive index. Paperback (alkaline) edition, 7 x 10 inches. Library of Congress number (tbc).

Library World Records: Second edition: ISBN (13 numbers) 9780786438525 / ISBN (10 numbers) 0786438525. 328 pages, 151 photographs, Includes bibliography and a 35-page comprehensive index. Paperback (alkaline) edition, 7 x 10 inches. OCLC number. Library of Congress number. LC Classification: Z721 .O79 2008.

Library World Records: Second edition eBook version (from NetLibrary, Apple iBooks (epub) Amazon Kindle (Mobi) and others): ISBN (13 numbers) 9780786452941 / ISBN (10 numbers) 078645294.

You can also visit my photograph gallery of some of the fascinating libraries I visited in northern Brazil, Egypt, West Africa (Ghana, Nigeria and Cote d'ivoire), most of Europe and Malaysia, for my research project abroad between 2002 and 2015 for the first edition, second and 3rd editions of Library World Records

I have two further book projects. I have 10 extensive blogs published on the web at Godfrey's Hobby Blog. The 10 blogs are on a range of subjects covering several of my hobbies. Link to the blogs is given at the upper left hand corner.

One of them is a now a very popular science ebook which uses biochemistry and molecular genetics to discuss the mysteries of human origins, it is is currently 296 A4 pages, so it is very extensive in detail and very much a mini textbook on human evolution.
Godfrey's popular science online eBook.

From 2005 to present I have also completed several ghostwriting projects, some big and complicated, others straightforward!. Ghostwriters are the invisible guys who help non-writers like footballers, scientists, tennis players, politicians, ex-presidents, ex-prime ministers etc get a book published. When the book gets published, and is a success, ghostwriters do not get any credit for the book: it is in the small print we sign before we get paid a penny! So we have to remain 100% invisible ghosts! Professional writing is a full-time job and painstakingly tough in today's competitive world, so ghostwriters are in big demand. Most of the income I now earn as a full-time writer comes from ongoing ghostwriting for projects in the U.S., U.K. and Australia (on top of ok income from ongoing short and full-length articles for magazines, newspapers and journals, mostly tech and science articles).

The Geneva Incident
I am currently also finishing up a brand new novel, titled: The Geneva Incident. I am putting finishing touches this exciting new novel, which I have been working on since 2013 off and on, in my free time. I am aiming to finish the new novel by Fall 2017. You can read a preview of the new novel at the link provided at the upper left hand corner.

Updated by Godfrey Oswald
London, 2017.

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Copyright © 1995-2017 Godfrey Oswald