2006 LITA/Brett Butler Entrepreneurship Award winner announced

Contact: Mary Taylor

Executive Director, LITA


For Immediate Release

March 28, 2006

2006 LITA/Brett Butler Entrepreneurship Award winner announced

CHICAGO — The Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) is pleased to announce that Chris Zagar is the 2006 recipient of the LITA/Brett Butler Entrepreneurship Award. Zagar is a systems librarian at the Estrella Mountain Community College, part of the Maricopa Community Colleges in Arizona.

The LITA/Brett Butler Entrepreneurship Award recognizes exemplary entrepreneurship by providing an innovative product or service designed to meet the needs of the library world.

“Chris Zagar has gathered quite a loyal group of clients who appreciate the usefulness and reliability of his EZproxy software and the excellent level of support he provides,” said Judith Carter, award committee chair. “The LITA/Brett Butler Entrepreneurship Award Committee was enthusiastic in selecting Chris Zagar as the 2006 Award recipient.”

In 1999 Zagar authored EZproxy, a software program that, according to his
usefulutilities.com website, “works by dynamically altering the URLs within the web pages provided by your database vendor. The server names within the URLs of these web pages are changed to reflect your EZproxy server instead, causing your users to return to the EZproxy server as they access links on these web pages. The result is a seamless access environment for your users without the need for automatic proxy configuration files.”

Previous proxy solutions were complex and difficult to maintain and authentication systems like Shibboleth still far in the future. Zagar set out to serve libraries like his own and instead ended up serving 1800 libraries in 46 countries.

“Chris’ development of the EZproxy software was fueled by his own interest in helping libraries make access to e-resources a simple transaction for users,” wrote Beth Sandore of the University of Illinois, Urbana. “The library community is very fortunate to count among our numbers someone who continually refines and extends an already invaluable product based on his strong commitment to easy access.”

Nancy R. John of the University of Illinois at Chicago wrote, “For universities like UIC, where faculty frequently do their research from home and the majority of students still live off-campus, access to the several million dollar investment in electronic resources from off-campus is essential. Since 1999, EZproxy has provided UIC with a simple, easily maintained solution. Chris Zagar’s commitment to maintaining the software has even included working with electronic resource vendors to help them understand the issues surrounding proxied access.”

Sponsored by Thomson Gale and LITA, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), the award includes a check for $5,000 and a certificate of recognition. The award will be presented at the LITA President’s Program on Sunday, June 25, 2006, at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.