2019 ACRL STS Oberly Award goes to Karlen and Pellack

For Immediate Release
Wed, 04/17/2019


Chase Ollis

Program Officer



CHICAGO – Douglas Karlen, research soil scientist (retired) at the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, and Lorraine Pellack, head of the University Library research services department at Iowa State University, have been selected as the 2019 recipients of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Science and Technology Section (STS) Oberly Award for Bibliography in the Agricultural or Natural Sciences for their article “Iowa Crop Variety Yield Testing: A History and Annotated Bibliography.”

The award will be presented during the 2019 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC.

The article, and the accompanying annotated bibliography, provides a historic account of crop varietal testing in Iowa, presented in chronological order followed by sections devoted to specific crops. It is designed to provide guidance to other researchers and anyone interested in learning more about the development of variety testing.

“This publication exemplifies the spirit of the award,” said award co-chairs Sara Scheib of the University of Iowa and Zoe Pettway Unno of the University of Southern California. “The comprehensive article provides historical context and the exhaustive accompanying annotated bibliography identifies and makes discoverable critical primary source literature in the field of agriculture.”

“Due to the rich and extensive history of crop variety yield testing in Iowa, there are sources that cannot be found by searching Google or even specialized research databases,” continued Scheib and Unno. “These resources were acknowledged and included when possible. The annotated bibliography provides details on the scope of coverage of each source that are extremely useful to researchers. Finally, the open access publication of the article in a top international agriculture journal ensures it will reach the target audience and continue to be a valuable resource for years to come.”

The Oberly Award was established in 1923 in memory of Eunice Rockwood Oberly, librarian of the Bureau of Plant Industry, United States Department of Agriculture from 1908 to 1921. She was the Bureau of Plant Industry's representative to the Congressional Joint Commission on Reclassification of Government Employees and was instrumental in gaining a fairer recognition of library activities. This biennial award is given in odd-numbered years for the best English-language bibliography in the field of agriculture or a related science.

For more information or a complete list of past recipients, please visit the awards section of the ACRL website.


The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for academic libraries and library workers. Representing nearly 10,500 individuals and libraries, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) develops programs, products, and services to help those working in academic and research libraries learn, innovate, and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. Find ACRL on the webFacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.