Donald Wilson, 82, Pioneer of a Database, Dies – New York Times

I must admit that prior to reading Mr. Wilson’s obituary this morning, I never had any idea who had helped create this service that I use almost every day.

Donald Wilson, 82, Pioneer of a Database, Dies – New York Times

Mr. Wilson, a lawyer and business consultant, was a managing partner
at Arthur D. Little, the management consulting firm, in the late 1960s
when he wrote the plan for what later became Lexis-Nexis, an early
computerized system for retrieving information.

In 1969, Mr.
Wilson was asked by the Mead Corporation to assess a venture in
computerized legal research that the company was considering. Mr.
Wilson told his client that the searching of legal texts would be a
useful tool for lawyers, as well as a promising business.

He
not only recommended that the company pursue the venture but also
outlined a marketing plan for persuading law firms to adopt the
technology.

“Don knew how important it would be to be able to
search through the full body of a judge’s opinion to see if there might
be an argument that could become a new precedent,” said Gary A. Marple,
a former colleague of Mr. Wilson at Arthur D. Little.

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