Five trailblazers in information and library science and information technology were honored Thursday (Oct. 12) in the first Knowledge Trust Honors ceremony.
The Knowledge Trust is a commitment made last October by the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to shape a critical role for 21st-century knowledge professionals.
At the ceremony in Washington, D.C., five Knowledge Masters who have made significant differences in education, exploration, innovation, next-generation leadership and lifetime achievement were named.
The 2006 honorees are Gary E. Strong, university librarian at the University of California, Los Angeles; Dr. Joseph Viscomi, James G. Kenan distinguished professor of English at UNC-Chapel Hill; Dr. Paul Jones, director of the ibiblio Web collection at UNC-Chapel Hill; Wes Cruver, chief creative officer and cofounder of Kidz Online, based in Herndon, Va.; and Dr. Donald A.B. Lindberg, director of the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.
“As in all aspects of rapid change, there are those who easily adapt to and excel in new environments – those who rise above when they are told they cannot succeed, to prove that they can,” said Dr. José-Marie Griffiths, dean of the UNC school and founding chair of The Knowledge Trust and the Louis Round Wilson Academy. “The Knowledge Trust Honors Program judges have selected exemplars: pioneers and leaders who are standard-bearers of excellence in their particular endeavor.”
Academy members nominated candidates for each award. The academy, formed last fall and based at the UNC school, includes world leaders in library and information science, technology management and other professions.
The honors program is designed to encourage students and other knowledge professionals entering or already working in information and library science and information technology to look to these models as they plan their own careers.
The 2006 Knowledge Trust Honors Awards and recipients, with excerpts from their award citations, are:
The Education Award, for furthering the intelligence, integrity, responsibility and reliability of successive generations of knowledge professionals, creators and users. Strong, of UCLA, has been a leader in the evolution of librarianship, working as a librarian and library administrator, for more than 30 years.
From 1980 through 1994, he was California State Librarian, helping to create the California Research Bureau, one of the state’s finest public policy organizations.
From 1994 until 2003, Strong was head of the Queens Borough Public Library in New York, one of the nation’s busiest, serving one of its most diverse counties. The Queens system encompasses a central library, 62 community libraries and six adult learning centers.
Strong believes in equity, quality, social service and appropriate use of technology. The award recognizes his vision of the role of libraries in stimulating and supporting education and learning in all its forms for the communities they serve. His commitment to education and learning, and to the systems and services that support an ongoing learning environment and culture, demonstrates a long-term vision for individual empowerment through knowledge, tolerance and understanding.
The Exploration Award, for creating or compiling new knowledge, tools and services. Viscomi co-edited and created the William Blake Archive, a hypertext of Blake’s poetry and art, based on approximately 5,500 images – two-thirds from the illuminated books and one-third from Blake’s paintings, drawings, and engravings – transferred to digital form.
Conceived and designed in 1993-95, and a free site on the World Wide Web since 1996, the award-winning archive is an international public resource that provides unified access to major works of visual and literary art that are highly disparate, widely dispersed and often severely restricted as a result of their value, rarity and extreme fragility.
The Blake Archive has had a significant impact on teaching and scholarship related to Blake’s works. It also has challenged the traditional notion of literary criticism by virtue of the ways in which elements of Blake’s work can be viewed, moved, modified and juxtapositioned.
The Innovation Award, for furthering the creative and innovative use of, and balanced access to, the world’s recorded knowledge. Besides directing ibiblio, Jones is a clinical associate professor in two UNC schools: Information and Library Science, and Journalism and Mass Communication.
Since high school, he has been a master of both computers and poetry. He helped establish the Internet Poetry Archive and has directed the Poets Exchange at the ArtSchool in Carrboro, N.C. He also was a founding board member the North Carolina Writers’ Network. But it is for his work as founder, manager and on-going director of ibiblio that he has become an Internet legend.
Jones was the architect of one of the first World Wide Web sites in North America, SunSITE.unc.edu. Now known as ibiblio, the site is home to one of the largest collections of collections on the Internet.
ibiblio.org is a conservancy of freely available information, including software, music, literature, art, history, science, politics and cultural studies. A contributor-run, digital library of public domain and creative commons media, ibiblio contains more than 1,600 collections and expands daily. ibiblio receives more than 14 million requests per day.
The Next Generation Leadership Award, is for young people whose study, innovation and independent thought shed new light on the world’s recorded knowledge. Cruver, now 25, was only 12 when he began what would later become Kidz Online, a high-tech digital video production and distribution organization that provides technology training to underprivileged students in inner-city Washington, D.C.
Cruver and other volunteers use their technology skills and know-how to help educate students on the basics of computers, navigating the Internet and creating Web sites. This youth-teaching-youth approach, developed by Cruver, became one of the key hallmarks of Kidz Online. Cruver is currently involved in training students for the 14 high-growth industries highlighted by the President’s High Growth Job Training Initiative and the Department of Labor.
The Wilson Prize for Lifetime Achievement, for a lifetime of accomplishment in knowledge exploration, compilation and stewardship in service to society. Lindberg has been called a trailblazer of medical informatics, pioneering the concept of applying computer technology to health care as early as 1960.
Besides his career in pathology, Lindberg has made notable contributions to information and computer activities in medical diagnosis, artificial intelligence and educational programs. For 20 years, he has led the National Library of Medicine, one of the premier organizations for medical information and computing. The library is one of the largest and highly respected sources for health sciences information used by physicians, researchers and others.
Lindberg has the foresight to anticipate major medical changes and the need to store materials such as those associated with the Human Genome Project. He was responsible for creation of the Visible Human Project, an image database of the human body, which had been processed, scanned and stored for researchers and physicians. Lindberg also fostered the development of MedlinePlus, a service offered on the Web to the public.
For more information about The Knowledge Trust, the Louis Round Wilson Academy or the Honors Program, please visit www.theknowledgetrust.org.