11 Awards

Sandra Ward

Given that the objectives of the Institute encompassed the promotion, development, and advancement of information science, and fostering education and training, it is no wonder that its Awards either celebrated achievement in the field or offered development opportunities through grants. Both IIS and its Branches and Groups contributed to these aims.

Honorary Fellowships and Fellowships have been covered in Chapter 5.

The IIS Award of the Institute of Information Scientists

In 1978 Council agreed that IIS should establish a regular Award of Merit to a person who had made an outstanding contribution to the furtherance of information science in the UK or elsewhere e.g. development of a major new database; reorganisation of an information service; establishing a new service to fill a market gap; or important research in an aspect of information science e.g. retrieval theory. Only IIS members could nominate candidates. The award, an engraved tray, could be made to an individual or a group for an outstanding and recent piece of work in the information field in the UK or elsewhere.

The first award appears to have been made in 1980 when it was given to Professor Michael Lynch for his outstanding work in the field of chemical information retrieval, focused on chemical structure and reactions. Michael was the first person in the UK to receive the title of Professor of Information Science. Monty Hyams as Past President of the Institute presented the Award.

In 1981 William Wiswesser was honoured for his career’s work on chemical notation; Cyril Cleverdon, IIS President, presented the Award at the Torquay conference. In 1982 Monty Hyams of Derwent Publications received the award for his achievement in developing the Central Patents Index which transformed patent searching in industry.  In 1983 the award was made to Karen Sparck-Jones for contribution to information science in automatic classification and indexing, weighting and relevance feedback, and natural language query processing. Jason Farradane presented the award at a special luncheon at the IIS Jubilee celebrations at its Oxford Conference. In 1985 the award was made to Dr Phil Holmes for achievements in developing online systems including BLAISE and PEARL. In 1986 Dr. Philip Williams, User Link Communications, was honoured for his innovative work on improving search in online databases. 1987 saw the award given to Dr. Sandra Ward for work in expanding the horizons of industrial information services. No award was made in 1988 when no nominations were received.

The Jason Farradane Award

In 1990, following Jason Farradane’s death in 1989, the IIS Award was renamed the Jason Farradane Award to celebrate the contribution of Jason Farradane to the creation and development of IIS, to the discipline of and training in information science generally and particularly the City University course. The first recipient of the re-branded award was not featured in Inform’s AGM report, though we do know the winner worked in Scotland as the winner of the second award did too. Arnold Myers received the 1991 award for his work on information for the offshore industry with an international reputation as an expert in the field. Coincidentally, the last award, in 2001, also went to a Scot, Professor Bruce Royan for the work of the Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network, SCRAN, a searchable online multimedia resource base of records relating to culture, history and science.

Other winners included: the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (1992); Peter Ingwersen for his contribution to a unifying approach to information retrieval  systems (1993); School of Librarianship and Information, Strathclyde for the development of their post-graduate course in Information Science (1994); the Electronic Libraries Programme of JISC for innovative exploitation of IT in higher education libraries (1996); University of Newcastle for the Newcastle Electronic Reference Desk (NERD) (1997); European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO) (1998); Jill Foster for early communications networks for information scientists (2000).

The Jason Farradane Award continues under the aegis of UKeiG.

IIS Annual Essay Award

This was inaugurated in 1978. Entrants, who had to be under 28, were free to select any topic of current relevance to information science. A prize of £100 was offered by the Metals Information Service of the Metals Society to the winner whose article would be published in the Journal of Information Science. The first winner in 1979 was G. McMurdo, MA, ALA for his essay on ‘The interface between computerized retrieval systems and micrographic retrieval systems’. Mr McMurdo was Librarian on the Parsons Daniel Joint Venture at the New Jedda International Airport and studying for an MSc at Strathclyde University. The essay topics for 1980 were: ‘The last 21 years of information science’ and ‘The next 21 years’.  No entries reached the desired standard. The 1981 award of £120 was made to Miss I.N.J. Storey, a recent Sheffield MSc Student, for her essay on ‘The future of videotext systems’.

Eugene Garfield (ISI) Award

In 1981 a new award of £250 was made possible through the generosity of Dr Gene Garfield of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). Council determined that this award should be made annually for the best paper in JIS as judged by a panel drawn from Publications Committee and/or the JIS Editorial Board. The award only appears to have been made for a few years in the 1980s.

The first award was made in 1982 to B.C. Brookes for a series of excellent articles in JIS, Vol.3, 1981-2.

In 1986 John Ashford received the award for his paper in JIS, 1985, 10(1) on the practical considerations governing application of research results in library and information retrieval. The last record is for 1987 when David Bawden received the award for his paper ‘Information systems and the stimulation of creativity’, JIS, 12(5), 203-16, 1996.

The John Campbell Trust

The John Campbell Trust was established in 1989 as an independent charitable trust through the generous bequest of the late John Campbell, a member of IIS since 1959, an Honorary Fellow and for several years editor of the IIS monograph series for which he argued strongly. A chemist, researcher and librarian, John concluded his career as Information Officer at the Pressed Steel Co. Ltd. The purpose of the John Campbell Trust is “to further the education and development of information professionals through grants, scholarships, research or travel awards and thereby to enhance the knowledge and experience of the information community as a whole”. The trust funds three types of competitive awards annually, the number depending on the volume (the record is 17) and quality of applications. The exact mix is determined by the Trustee but can be:

  • The Conference Bursary – to enable a member of the information profession to attend a conference of their choice and open to a UK resident to attend a conference abroad or to an overseas resident to attend a conference in the UK.
  • The Dissertation Bursary – to help a student of library and information studies in the UK who needs to prepare a project or dissertation as part of their course of study to pursue a topic which would necessarily require a programme of visits to collect information or data.
  • The Travel Grant – intended to help members of the information/library profession to undertake a programme of visits either in the UK or abroad as part of their continuing professional development including the option of a short course as part of their programme. The award is open to UK and overseas residents. By 1998 this had been retitled Short Course Bursary and was to help members of the information/library profession to attend a course in the UK as part of their professional development.

In 1989, the Trust awarded two Conference Bursaries and four Dissertation Bursaries.  In its last IIS year, 2002, the amount made available for the set of awards was £4000, with £1000 the maximum for one individual.  A report to the Trust, an article in Inform, or a presentation to a meeting were a clear condition of receiving the Award.  Beginning in 1993 the Trust launched a second award – the John Campbell European Exchange Grant/Award which covered travel and subsistence of £100 per day to attend TFPL’s EBIC conference. The conference place was granted by TFPL and the grant was open to an experienced information professional with working business information knowledge.

These grants continue under the CILIP umbrella with a dedicated group of trustees.

The Tony Kent Strix Award

Inaugurated by IIS in 1998, the Tony Kent Strix Award is now presented by the UK electronic information Group (UKeiG), in partnership with the International Society for Knowledge Organization UK (ISKO UK), the Royal Society of Chemistry Chemical Information and Computer Applications Group (RSC CICAG) and the British Computer Society Information Retrieval Specialist Group (BCS IRSG).

Tony Kent, who died in October 1987, was a man of many parts; a leader, an innovator, a teacher and someone highly active in the international information scene. He made a major contribution to the development of information science and to information services in the UK and internationally, particularly in the field of chemistry.

After his death a group of his friends met for lunch and each spoke of what they knew of Tony’s life and work. From each speaker’s recollections came new revelations of the breadth of his work and the influence he had exerted in the information field. Out of this new appreciation of the achievement of this modest man grew the idea of an award to commemorate him and his work.

A proposal for the Tony [Kent] Strix Award was submitted to the Council of the IIS (of which Tony had been a Fellow) for the setting up of an annual award in recognition of an outstanding practical innovation or achievement in the field of information retrieval. These achievements could take the form of an application or service, or an overall appreciation of past achievements from which significant advances had emanated. The Council approved this proposal and agreed that the Award should be presented after the Institute’s Annual General Meeting in September each year. The initial luncheon group then became the Working Group to turn this into reality.

The Award is open to individuals or groups from anywhere in the world.

Nominations should be for an achievement that meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • A major and/or sustained contribution to the theoretical or experimental understanding of the information retrieval process.
  • Development of, or significant improvement in, mechanisms, a product or service for the retrieval of information, either generally or in a specialised field.
  • Development of, or significant improvement in, easy access to an information service.
  • Development and/or exploitation of new technologies to enhance information retrieval.
  • A sustained contribution over a period of years to the field of information retrieval, for example, by running an information service or by contributing at national or international level to organisations active in the field.

The list of Award winners celebrates the work of leading academic researchers and practitioners and is an indication of the status of the Award.

1998 Professor Stephen Robertson
1999 Dr Donna Harman
2000 Dr Martin Porter
2001 Professor Peter Willett
2002 Malcolm Jones
2003 Dr Herbert van Sompel
2004 Professor Cornelis Joost (Keith) van Rijsbergen
2005 Jack Mills
2006 Stella Dextre Clarke
2007 Dr. Mats G. Lindquist
2008 Kalervo Jarvelin
2009 Carol Ann Peters
2010 Professor Michael Lynch
2011 Alan Smeaton
2012 Doug Cutting and David Hawking
2013 Professor W. Bruce Croft
2014 Dr Susan Dumais
2015 Professor Peter Ingwersen
2016 Professor Maristella Agosti
2017 Professor Maarten De Rijke
2018 Professor Pia Borlund
2019 Professor Ingemar J. Cox
2020 Professor Ian Ruthven

The Tony Kent Strix Award continues to be awarded and is managed by UKeiG.

The Annual IIS/Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) Lecture

AGMs of the Institute had traditionally included an external speaker. The IIS/ISI lecture was launched at the IIS AGM in 1987. Eugene Garfield, the inventor of the Science Citation Index, founder of ISI and developer of the field of scientometrics, the quantitative study of science and technology, was a leading figure in information science and generous to the IIS. He spoke at conferences, funded receptions, was active on the Editorial Board of JIS from the 1970s until his death, and provided funds for this lecture and a prize for the best article in JIS via ISI.

The IIS/ISI lectures ran through the 1980s to the end of the 1990s and enabled the IIS to attract significant figures to speak as well as large audiences. Speakers were public figures who were involved and influential in information policy, the information society, and technology.

1987 John Preston, Phillips NV Optical discs and their future applications.
1988 Nick Moore Developing the use of a neglected resource: the growth of information management.
1989 Peter Laister, Maxwell Communications Ltd. How do you wish to communicate?
1990 Professor Ted H. Nelson, Autodesk Inc (a pioneer of hypertext) The interactive world.
1991 Tom Stonier, Emeritus Professor of Science and Society Bradford University Towards a new theory of information.
1992 Charles Oppenheim Do citations matter?
1993 Duncan Campbell Personal data privacy in the 1990s: too late to close the stable door?
1994 Dr Robert Cooper (‘father’ of the Super JANET network) Building an information super highway.
1995 David Puttnam Citizens of the information society
1996 Baron Philips of Ellesemere The information society: agenda for action in the UK.
1997 Rabbi Julia Neuberger Information for health: whose information is it?
1998 Neville Mackay, DCMS Technology, the public libraries network and the need for joined up thinking.
1999 Lord Colin Sharman, International Chairman, KPMG Turning knowledge into value.

In total 13 talks were given.

Student prizes

Occasionally awards celebrated an IIS milestone – the IIS 30th Anniversary Competition winner was Janey Gringlan for her essay ‘Using networks of transputers to increase the speed of document delivery’; the winner had to be younger than IIS!

Branches and Special Interest Groups funded a variety of awards, principally directed to students; some to commemorate deceased members; and all providing worthwhile student experiences.

The Northern Branch Student Prize was awarded to a final-year undergraduate or taught-course post-graduate student. The prize was for the best entry, based on a piece of work already submitted as part of an IIS approved degree or diploma in information/library management in the branch area.  The prize was first offered in 1998. In 1999 the prize was a cheque for £75 and a certificate which was won by Carole Keeling.  For 2000 the award rose to £100.  A Scottish Branch Student Prize came in two ‘flavours’. A prize for the best World Wide Web home page produced by a student matriculated from a Scottish undergraduate or postgraduate courses. A first prize of £50 and a second of £25 were awarded in 1996 and 1997. A further prize was awarded in the 1990s for an essay on a selected topic e.g. in 1994 the award for the best 1000-word essay went to an entry about Clinton-Gore (US) Information Policy.

PATMG launched the Amanda Stembridge Bursary in 1995 in memory of Amanda, an active committee member, who died tragically young and unexpectedly in 1993. Initially the intention was a one-off award, open to all students of an Information Science or Librarianship course in Europe registered in the 1995 academic year who wished to pursue their interest in intellectual property. Its value was £800 for which students needed to submit a short essay on their views on the role of patents and/or trademarks in the development of European industry. The winning entry qualified for attendance at the European Patent Office EPIDOS Annual Conference. The EPO provided a free conference place and accommodation; PATMG funded travel and local expenses. The winner was required to write an article about their impressions of the Conference for publication in Searcher, the UK Patent and Trademark Group newsletter.

From 1996 the EPO’s generous support enabled the award to become annual and the essay competition was extended to students of the Chartered Institute of Patent/Trademark Agent Examinations or European Equivalent examination. The last award was made in 2001 at the Group’s Cardiff conference to Celene Brodin, a trainee EPO patent examiner – the first non-UK winner. The awards have continued under the CILIP umbrella.


UKOLUG funded a number of awards and bursaries to students and professionals. A UKOLUG discretionary award which ran in the early 1990s helped employed members to undertake ongoing, original research into online and CD-ROM database use. In 1995 UKOLUG sponsored its first UKOLUG Online Award to assist inexperienced information professionals to attend the International Online Information Meeting (IOLIM). In 2000, UKOLUG Student Bursaries began to be awarded to students on a course with significant coverage of information resources especially e-sources. More detail has been given in Chapter 7. 

Fun awards

The annual International Online Information Meeting (IOLIM) conference and exhibition was an important venue for IIS promotional activity. From 1985 to 1991, IIS presented a Golden Daffodil Award for the best Conference free gift (‘freebie’) submitted to its stand. The first winner was Data-Star’s ‘jumper’ which came with an instruction kit and performance criteria, i.e., some jumped, some didn’t. Data-Star was so excited by the win that the company agreed to fund the prize for 1986. The tradition of the winner providing the next prize was set. Subsequent winners were:

  • ACCESS INNOVATION – in 1986 they won a golden alpenhorn for a mysterious circular metal object.
  • In 1987 ISI won a kachina and plaque for an inflatable globe that could be slipped into a Filofax.
  • Silver Platter won in 1989.
  • The International Food Information Service won an elegant timepiece with a silver clockface in 1990 for a silver plastic frisbee.
  • In 1991 First Contact won a chocolate filled engraved glass Christmas stocking for its free bunches of fresh daffodils.

No further awards were given until 1999 when exhibitors were invited to submit a mouse mat for the Millennium which would be tested against stringent performance criteria: aesthetics; promotional quality; usability; size; shape; ergonomics including mouse friendliness, and durability. The winner was Amnesty International for a mat with exercises to prevent RSI.





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