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VOA Librarian Michael Grey Tries to Answer Most Daunting Questions - 2002-04-22

A VOA Snapshot - Part of VOA's 60th Anniversary Year Coverage

At a place like VOA, information is the most important commodity. And that makes our information expert one of our most important staff members. He is VOA librarian Michael Gray, and he's the one broadcasters call on for everything from news research to answers to listener questions. "It can be any kind of question," he said. "In fact, I once got a question, 'Why is the sky blue?' We were able to answer that one in a few minutes. The rays of the sun, which consist of a wide spectrum of visible and non-visible light, diffuse in the sky, and the only light that remains is the blue of the sky."

Michael Gray was way ahead of most people at VOA during the computer revolution of the 1980s. "In my private life, I had one of the first IBM personal computers in 1982, so as a private citizen I was familiar with a computer keyboard and how a personal computer worked," said Michael Grey. "The library was one of the first institutions here to actually be hooked up to the Internet and to be able to get access to the information that is [today] widely distributed throughout the institution."

With 26 years of service at the Voice of America, Michael Gray says he has one major project to go before retirement - transferring the sound from bulky reels of audio tape to storage on computer discs. "You would find that piece of tape with a few mouse clicks and have our coverage available to you within a minute. It's having history at your fingertips," he said.

Librarian Michael Gray still provides the personal touch on research projects, but more and more often VOA broadcasters can find what they need with just a point and a click.

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