The biography of Peter Willett in this issue started me thinking about other distinguished UK-based contributors who had made a significant contribution to information retrieval. The list below is a personal one, and if you feel that I have missed anyone please do respond.
John H Ashford
A few of these may not be as well known as others. John Ashford was a highly-respected consultant in the late 1970s and into the 1980s on the subject of text retrieval software running on minicomputers. Donald Davies and Peter Kirstein made significant technical contributions to the development of the technical infrastructure of the Internet. G. Malcolm Dyson was a pioneer in developing a structural nomenclature for organic compounds and made a major contribution to the mechanisation of the Chemical Abstracts Service.
See also the list of Strix Award winners for more notable names