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SDLRC: Letter from Patricia Sheahan


Patricia Sheahan has asked me to post her letter announcing her retirement from producing the monthly Sheahan Diamond Literature Compilation for reasons she explains below. It is with great sorrow that I do so for Pat has had an extraordinary career of generous service to the resource sector. In 2012 she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal which "honours significant contributions and achievements by Canadians". In 2016 PDAC recognized her contributions with its Distinguished Service Award. She is an Honorary Professor of the University of British Columbia and an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Economic Geologists. She has been a director of junior resource companies and involved in multiple associations.

I know her best as the Diamond Lady who took it upon herself in 1993 to educate investors and explorers by organizing a short course at PDAC which helped launch a far reaching diamond exploration boom led by Canadian juniors. She also organized each year's PDAC Diamond Technical Session through 2022 which I made a point of attending each year to catch up on a wide range of diamond related topics. But what truly fascinated me was the effort she spent every month scouring journals and news feeds to compile a monthly list of diamond-related references split between technical-scientific articles and media-company reports which she emailed as a pdf to a who's who list of several hundred people involved in the diamond sector. In 2015 Pat and I collaborated to migrate her collection of references online so that it is now available free in its entirety for everybody interested in the diamond sector. It is a great loss that I (John Kaiser) will no longer be able to stay on top of the diamond sector by merely cruising through the monthly compilation to see what's new in academic research, the diamond market, and the mining and exploration front. Thank you Pat for all that you have done!

Tributes received from members of the diamond community will be available in this SDLRC Tribute Collection, with the most recent displayed at the top.

Letter from Patricia Sheahan - July 8, 2022

I am sad to let you all know that I will no longer be providing the monthly Sheahan Diamond Literature Compilation. In May I was diagnosed with terminal cancer that gives me less than a year.

I started the reference compilation in 1980 as a fee based service covering base and precious metals as well as diamonds that was sent by mail. In 2000 thanks to the internet I stopped charging and started emailing a monthly pdf focused exclusively on diamond-related literature involving academic, corporate news and media articles. I donated my physical collection to the University of British Columbia. Liane Boyer, who at the time worked at UBC's MDRU, graciously volunteered to convert my monthly spreadsheets into the formatted pdf newsletter you have received since then. I am deeply grateful to Liane who continued to format the newsletter during the subsequent 22 years, much longer than I imagine she ever suspected she would do so for me.

In 2015 John Kaiser approached me about converting 4 decades of diamond references into a relational database he would use to make them available online as a free service within his KaiserResearch.com platform. He argued that the SDLRC references represented an invaluable history of the diamond sector as it evolved into a global phenomenon no longer dominated by just De Beers and Russia. I finally agreed and we spent tremendous effort migrating all this information into a database. Not only did this involve collecting a couple decades of monthly spreadsheets, but John also had to recover two decades of references stashed in an obsolete proprietary database system.

When we were done John created an online version that not only presented the references as annual compilations, but also collected the references into web pages based on the keywords and regions I had assigned to each reference. He also extracted the individual authors so that it is now possible to find every article an individual contributed to regardless where they were in the author field's sequence.

And he didn't stop there. When he discovered how easy it was to find the online source by simply googling the title, he took it upon himself to track down the references online each month and include a link from 2015 onwards. In the case of scientific articles he also grabbed the abstract so that viewers had some idea what an article was about. Surprisingly, none of the journals ever complained, perhaps because they understood somebody was more likely to pay for access to the full article if they knew it existed and why it would be useful.

John also recruited Brooke Clements in 2018 to highlight those articles he found interesting from his perspective as a diamond exploration geologist. I am very grateful to Brooke for his monthly highlights. Diamond exploration has been dear to my heart since 1993 when I organized a PDAC short course on diamonds in the wake of Dia Met's discovery in the Canadian Arctic. Since then I have organized each year's PDAC Diamond Technical Session and I thank PDAC for continuing to support the technical session despite waning diamond exploration activity during the past decade. The diamond session was always well attended by members of the diamond community which I appreciated very much.

I have made John Kaiser the custodian of the Sheahan Diamond Literature Compilation which I wish to become a free publicly available online resource. John has agreed to maintain its availability on KaiserResearch.com as long as his business remains viable. The current online setup is not a true searchable database, but John assures me that because the information is now stored in an underlying relational database it will be relatively easy to create a searchable version if somebody wishes to sponsor a web site dedicated to SDLRC.

I very much appreciate all the help and conversations members of the diamond community provided all these decades. And I hope to continue these conversations in the time that remains, so feel free to contact me by email.

Sincerely,

Patricia Sheahan

 
 

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