In memoriam: Jim Barker

I’ve been reporting over 43 years, and three developments in the reporting profession have profoundly changed the way I perform my work: Computer-aided transcription, the Internet, and SearchMaster. From the time I discovered SearchMaster, I have used it virtually every day.
To paraphrase Steve Jobs, Jim Barker has made a dent in the court reporting universe. Fortunately for all of us, his legacy is a database that will be as valuable years from now as it is today.
I’ll miss Jim’s sonorous voice, yet even that is preserved in his excellent tutorials within SearchMaster.
Thanks for everything, Jim. You made my life easier through your dedication to our profession.

Kevin Wm. Daniel, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP
Las Vegas, Nev.

I am truly saddened by the news of the loss of my friend Jim Barker. He was a great contributor to the court reporting profession. Jim developed a groundbreaking wild-card searchable software called SearchMaster about 20 years ago. This was at a time when Google was just getting off the ground. Websites were in their infancy.
You were looking for a car model spelling? SM had a file for that. You needed a drug spelling? You’ll find it in SM. SearchMaster freed us from having to buy all those expensive hardcover books.
You could also make your own files in SM. I made several personal files of confusable words and quotations in SearchMaster that I use on almost a daily basis. You didn’t have to be on the Internet to use SM back then, which was good because the Internet was nothing like it is today.
I was asked to give a SearchMaster seminar about 15 years ago for my state association, the Missouri Court Reporters Association. Jim collaborated with me and offered me invaluable help in creating the PowerPoint presentation. Jim had a good business sense, and I learned a lot from him. He taught me that, when writing an email to someone, only talk about one subject per email or you run the risk of other issues being ignored. He taught me never to get right to the point. A bit of introductory pleasantry is always welcome. He taught me to always strive for grammar and spelling perfection in my transcripts and in my on-line communications.
Back in the early 2000s when I was about to give that seminar, SM was in its heyday. I was getting some final tips from Jim over the phone. I asked him, “Jim, just how well is SearchMaster selling?”
Jim replied in his gravelly voice, “Faster than popcorn at a state fair.”
Godspeed, my friend. You will be missed.

Nancy A. Fox, RMR, CRR
Kansas City, Mo.