2012 GODORT Award Winners

James Bennett Childs Award

John B. Phillips, recipient of the 2012 James Bennett Childs AwardJohn B. Phillips is the recipient of the 2012 James Bennett Childs Award. This award honors a person who has made a lifetime and significant contribution to the field of government documents and their use in libraries.

The many letters received in support of his nomination list contributions in a number of areas including: leadership as a government documents librarian, teaching and mentoring of government documents librarians, work with GODORT, the Depository Library Council, the Patent Depository Library Association, the Oklahoma Library Association, contributions to the TRAIL project, and work with publishers creating highly valued reference tools and documents collections. His contributions span close to forty years.

Many of his letters speak words of great praise for his career in the Government Documents Department at Oklahoma State University, starting as a documents cataloger, moving up to department head, and later adding the title Director, Digital Oklahoma Maps Collection. In addition, the letters speak of John’s commitment to the students and faculty at Oklahoma State and the seriousness with which he carried out his role as regional depository librarian. Also mentioned was John’s passion for advocating the primary research value of historical government publications and his love for speaking about how to find and use historical materials. (Please ask him about barbed wire!) The McCasland Digital Collection of Early Oklahoma and Indian Territory Maps was often pointed to as a great example of his work.

John’s letters noted his role as a teacher and mentor. For many years, he taught the government publications course at the University of Oklahoma School of Library and Information Studies. He has influenced many librarians over the course of his career, including some whose names are well known in depository circles and some whose names will become known in the next few years.

His association with GODORT has been long and productive including chairing the Rare and Endangered Publications Committee and the Awards Committee. He also served as secretary of the Ad Hoc Committee on Digitization of Government Information and, in 2003, he received the Bernadine Abbott Hoduski Founders Award.

He was a member of the Depository Library Council and served as Chair during the final year of his term. John has also made a number of presentations at the Federal Depository Library Conference. He was an active participant in the Regional Depository Librarians meetings and served a year as chair of that group. Following the fall 2004 Depository Library Council Meeting he was invited to speak with the staff of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration about the transition from a predominately print to a more electronic FDLP.

Also noted in the letters were John’s contributions to patent depositories. He was a founding member of the Patent Depository Library Association and served as a Regional Representative, as well as Chair-elect and Chair. He compiled the Directory of Patent Depository Libraries. In recognition of his years of giving presentations and workshops on patents, the Oklahoma Inventor’s Congress granted him a lifetime membership. John has also been very active in the Oklahoma Library Association, giving numerous presentations and poster sessions over the years and serving as chair of the OLA Government Documents Roundtable. In 2007, the Oklahoma Library Association presented him with the Oklahoma Library Legends Award.

In short, John is a leader within the national field of government documents librarianship, and his professional endeavors are of the highest quality and value to the profession. Two quotes from his letters of support sum up why he was selected for the Childs Award: “John loves government documents and one of his greatest joys is sharing and inspiring this love with others” and “John has been one of the most dedicated, caring, knowledgeable, and informative government information librarians I’ve ever known.”

ProQuest/GODORT/ALA "Documents to the People" Award

The 2012 ProQuest/GODORT/ALA Documents to the People Award is awarded to the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) Collaborative Federal Depository Program (CFDP).

This award is given to the ASERL CFDP as it offers an achievable and sustainable plan for the development and preservation of comprehensive depository collections on a multi-state level. The elements noted in the nomination are:

  • Excitement & Interest: The ASERL plan has excited and energized the “documents community.” This is one of the first cooperative/collaborative plans that has gathered enthusiasm from within and interest and envy from those not a part of ASERL.
  • Inventorying & Cataloging: By collecting, cataloging, and providing access to federal documents collections on an agency-based, incremental basis, the goal of ASERL Centers of Excellence is to insure permanent public access to these collections.
  • Discards Database: ASERL has created the ASERL Documents Disposition Database, the first depository discards database allowing all libraries in the region to see discards from all of the participating southeast states, vastly expanding the possibilities for improving collections around the region.
  • Raised Profile with Library Administrators: The ASERL is putting government documents collections in the limelight – in a good way. Library deans see the value of focusing on a portion of a collection – making it more discoverable and improving its quality and comprehensiveness.
  • Provoked Discussion: The initiative has also provoked discussion, spotlighting the need for more flexibility in the program, especially in the legal requirements for regional depositories.
  • Position for Future: The ASERL Collaborative Federal Depository Program positions depositories in the southeast to move seamlessly into a future government information environment rich in online - born and digitized - resources as well as firmly grounded in geographically distributed print collections. Public access is enhanced because libraries are committing to a high level of service for their Center of Excellence collections.
  • Ensure Continuing Access: Centers of Excellence sign a Memoranda of Understanding that they will inventory, catalog, preserve, and retain the materials. Libraries are identifying Centers of Excellence in areas that are, and will continue to be important to their institutions.
  • Comprehensive Collections: An IMLS grant supported the creation of a “gap analysis” database. This database will allow Centers of Excellence and other depository libraries to load short bibliographic records for their collections, and facilitate comparisons among collections and will help establish what a true comprehensive collection of U.S. government documents should contain.

The ASERL CFDP concept takes advantage of today’s technological advances and challenges librarians to think beyond their own environment and to envision a truly cooperative depository world, where the ultimate goal is actively promoted government information collections, a dedicated service environment, and protection, for all time, of the unique and powerful content of government publications. This embodies the phrase “Documents to the People” and makes this award a well-deserved one.

Margaret T. Lane / Virginia F. Saunders Memorial Research Award

Harold Relyea, 2012 recipient of the Margaret T. Lane / Virginia F. Saunders Memorial Research AwardHarold Relyea is the 2012 recipient of the Margaret T. Lane / Virginia F. Saunders Memorial Research Award for his article, “The Federal Register: Origins, formulation, realization, and heritage” which was printed in Government Information Quarterly, July 2011, vol. 28, no. 3, pgs. 295-302.

The article focuses on the origin and development of the Federal Register, its significance as a publication, its role in creating greater government transparency and the legacy of the Federal Register Act. This article cites government information from hearings, statutes, court cases as well as documents, reports, and files in the National Archives from a wide variety of federal agencies, the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, and congressional testimony.

NewsBank/Readex/GODORT/ALA Catharine J. Reynolds Research Grant

Helen Sheehy, 2012 co-recipient of the Catharine J. Reynolds Research Grant Kristene Unsworth, 2012 co-recipient of the Catharine J. Reynolds Research GrantThe 2012 recipients of the Catharine J. Reynolds Research Grant are Helen Sheehy and Kristene Unsworth.

Helen Sheehy is the Head of the Social Sciences Library at the Paterno Library, Pennsylvania State University. She has been a government information librarian and active member of GODORT and IFLA for over 20 years. She has presented nationally and internationally and published extensively, particularly in the area of international government information.

Helen’s current research will involve a citation analysis of ten core journals from 1995-2010 in medicine and health sciences to understand the impact of internet access on usage patterns for government information in scholarly scientific publications. The Reynolds award stipend will be used to fund the coding and analysis of citation data. Helen’s study is part of a broader Pennsylvania State University Library study of changing patterns of government information use by scholars in different disciplines. This research is timely given the increased availability of online government information, and will offer a more nuanced view of scholarly communication and the role of government information. It also has potentially significant implications for government information collection and reference practice in academic libraries. Helen will share the results of her study through a journal article and GODORT Occasional Paper.

Kristene Unsworth is an Assistant Professor in the iSchool at Drexel, College of Information Science and Technology, Drexel University. She has published and presented extensively in the areas of information policy, ethics and e-government.

The purpose of Kris’s research will be to identify the range and frequency of government information related questions being asked through the Internet Public Library’s (IPL2) online reference service. Given the increased reliance on online resources to access government information and the importance of this type of information throughout society and across disciplines, she aims to provide an understanding of how to better incorporate government information education in online reference.

The Reynolds award stipend will be used to fund the transcription recordings of focus groups conducted during the study. The results will then be used to highlight this aspect of library science education, to improve IPL2 training materials and to inform the design of government information courses in Library and Information Science programs.