I met Helmut many years ago when I was a novice encyclopedist and he was already busy at work on the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. I remember clearly sitting in his office in the National Archives soaking up his sage advice about how to go about making an encyclopedia (not all of it repeatable!). I really had no-one else to talk to and learned so much from the way he described his editorial process, his relations with his fellow editors, and the very high standards that he set for EMC. I went back several times to visit and each time he was as generous to me as the last. I felt therefore that he was a big part of The Canadian Encyclopedia and that his spirit was helping to sustain us through a difficult challenge. In addition, of course on the subject of music, Helmut helped shape our encyclopedia and he made major contributions to it as both a consultant and a writer.
These days we are increasingly nostalgic of course for the principles on which the Encyclopedia of Music and The Canadian Encyclopedia were created, and for the rare people who could create them. A sense of excellence and authority made a lasting contribution to our knowledge—one that is threatened by a wiki world in which anyone—except a real expert of course—can call themselves an authority. We are very fortunate that EMC lives on, hosted and nurtured by our own staff, and used by tens of thousands of Canadians every month. I am only by convention called the editor of The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Every time I delve into an article in EMC I am amazed by the depth and integrity of the work and we strive to raise our own articles to the same level. Helmut and his fellow editors are and always will be the real masters of that accomplishment, one of the greatest in Canadian publishing history. We are very grateful and will continue to be inspired by his memory.
For more on Helmut Kallmann: “Remembering Helmut Kallmann: 1922 – 2012″