Last week UKeIG announced that I am the winner of the 2016 Jason Farradane Award. For me it is a huge honour even to have been nominated for this prize. The news that I am the actual recipient caught me somewhat off-guard last Wednesday – on a day disrupted by a fire at work that resulted in the closure of campus at 2pm. I have since been overwhelmed with congratulatory messages by email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and in person from friends, family, and colleagues. Thank you all!
The Jason Farradane Award is made to an individual or a group of people in recognition of outstanding work in the information profession. It is named in honour of Polish-born British Information Scientist Jason Farradane (1906-1989) whose achievements include promoting scientific approaches to documentation in the 1940s, playing a leading role in the foundation of the Institute of Information Scientists in 1958, and establishing the first academic courses in information science in the UK in the 1960s at Northampton College of Advanced Technology, the precursor of the Department of Library and Information Science at City University. (For further information about Farradane and his work please see Yates-Mercer’s guest editorial An appreciation of Jason Farradane published in the Journal of Information Science in 1989: Volume 15, issue 6, pp. 305-306.)
Amongst the previous winners of the Jason Farradane Award are some key individuals whose work has had a direct influence on my own:
- Professor Blaise Cronin, Visiting Professor to the Centre for Social Informatics: I consider Blaise to be my ‘grand-mentor’ on account of his long history of collaborations with Professor Elisabeth Davenport, to whom my career also owes so much. Lizzie established the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University in the 1990s, supervised my PhD, and is now an Emeritus Professor within my research group. Blaise was a joint winner of Jason Farradane Award in 2014, and also in 1989.
- Professor Charles Oppenheim, Visiting Professor at City, Northampton and Robert Gordon Universities: Charles and I worked closely together from 2009-2012 when Charles served on the Board of the Library and Information Science Research Coalition, and we also collaborated as co-investigators on the AHRC-funded DREaM project in 2011/12. Charles won the Jason Farradane Award in 2013.
- Dr Sandra Ward, Principal Consultant at Beaworthy Consulting (formally Director and Senior Consultant at TFPL, and Director of Information Services R&D at Glaxo Wellcome): Sandra and I ran a project on communities of practice when I was seconded as an advisor to TFPL, supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering Industrial Secondment Scheme, in 2006. Sandra won the Jason Farradane Award in 1987.
Also a previous winner of the Jason Farradane Award is Professor Karen Spärck Jones (1935-2007). Her work in Information Science was recognised by the award in 1983. For a short period in the 1990s Karen and I served together on the British Library Advisory Committee for Research and Innovation. I am particularly pleased to join her on the list of winners given that she also actively campaigned to attract more women into careers in computing.
I am looking forward to travelling to London on Wednesday 19th October to be presented with the 2016 Jason Farradane Award. There I will also be able to thank in person the members of the awards committee who considered me worthy of this honour, the full citation for which can be found on the UKeIG web site.