On Friday, Nov. 19, Paul Jones was inducted into the North Carolina State University Computer Science Hall of Fame. A 1972 graduate, Jones was among the first few graduating classes of the new computer science department at NCSU. Over his career, he has leveraged this strong technical foundation combining it with a passion for writing and poetry, to establish a legacy of innovation and creativity that will be enjoyed by future generations.
Over his 42 year career at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Jones secured his position as a campus icon, launching the first UNC website, email service, and Internet streaming radio with station WXYC-FM.
Over his career at UNC, he served as Clinical Professor in the School of Information and Library Science and in the School of Media and Journalism and Director of the Masters Program in Information Science, but he is perhaps best known for being the original director of ibiblio.org, a contributor-run, digital library of public domain and creative commons media. Jones founded SunSite.unc.edu in 1992, the free online library, now known as ibiblio.org, home to one of the largest “collections of collections” on the Internet, with freely available software and information for topics such as music, literature, art, history, science, politics, and cultural studies. With between 12-16 million worldwide transactions per day, it is a resource used frequently by audiences of all interests and backgrounds. For more than 25 years, ibiblio.org has been on the forefront of some of technology’s greatest movements, including Internet radio, Internet2 projects, 3-D environments, video archiving and a host of other web-based services.
Early in his career, Jones worked on unified messaging systems leading from Call-OS, USENET, WYLBUR, TSO, BITNET, DARPAnet, ARPAnet to modern (for its time) SMTP mail. He proudly takes no pride in his role in helping bring email to the UNC campus, calling email a “zombie that doesn’t realize that it’s dead and falling apart.” In 2011, he gave up email for good (coining the hashtag #noemail) and has been on a personal crusade ever since to educate people about better alternatives.
With an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College, Jonesl has a passion for the arts and is an accomplished and published writer and poet. On the technical side, he is the co-author of “The Web Server Book” (Ventana, 1995) and numerous articles on topics such as electronic archives and curation, digital libraries and the Open Source movement. He has published poetry in many journals including Poetry, River Heron Review, Red Fez, Broadkill Review as well as in cookbooks, in travel anthologies, and other collections of poetry.
He has accumulated countless awards for his efforts including being named the Winner of the North Carolina Arts Council Writer’s Fellowship, the Carolina Quarterly Poetry Prize, the Mary Ruffin Poole American Heritage Award, the Joanna Catherine Scott Award, and Prizes from Southern Humanities Review, Hellas, and others. Recently, he was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and two Best of the Web Awards. He is a contributing editor to the Heath Anthology of American Literature. His first chapbook, “What the Welsh and Chinese Have In Common,” was a North Carolina Writers’ Network publication winner.
Jones remains active as a writer and influencer even after his formal retirement from UNC. He currently serves as Vice President of the Board of Trustees of North Carolina Writers Network, a group he helped form over 40 years ago. As well as a Board member of the North Carolina Poetry Society and of the Carrboro Poets Council. Additionally, he is an Advisory Board Member of the The Arch Mission Foundation, an organization focused on preserving and disseminating humanity’s most important information across time and space, for the benefit of future generations. In fact, he recently served as an advisor on the Arch Mission Foundation Lunar Library project. The 30-million page library crash-landed on the moon containing the entire contents of Wikipedia and Project Gutenberg, and more.
His new book of poetry, “Something Wonderful,” from Redhawk Publications, was published this month.
Jones is married to Gilmer native Sally Greene.