Today marks the comeback (and 14th anniversary) of an Oz project that was thought to be lost forever. Back in 2002, I and a friend that I had known since high school (Dave) decided to create an online database of every L. Frank Baum and Wizard of Oz associated publications. It took us well over a year to program the software and enter all of the relevant information for each book. The database proved to be quite helpful to book lovers and even was the key to meeting one of my closest friends in the Oz world, Jane Albright.
However, in 2012 after not hearing from Dave for a few months, I was shocked to learn that he had suddenly died at the age of 48 from heart failure. As if this was not a big enough blow, I also found out that all of computer servers that he had stored the entire Oz database on had been claimed by his parents and they in turn had discarded them. Thus, no updates could ever be made and the site itself ended up disappearing altogether.
The story has an amazing ending however. This past November someone who knew Dave through work contacted me and said that he had one of Dave’s hard drives. I asked him to see if there was anything on it of relevance. As it turns out, it had about 25% of the original Oz database still on it. I felt that was enough, that I could begin to recreate it. This “man behind the curtain” also offered to update the software and make necessary changes to improve the overall flexibility and look of the website. So, I have spent close to 100 hours since Thanksgiving recreating five years of lost information, adding another six years of new information and adding over 1000 images of book covers. As of this weekend, it is ready to debut.
Blair Frodelius – Editor of The Daily Ozmapolitan