2003 LITA Frederick G. Kilgour Award winner announced

Contact: Mary Taylor, LITA Director



For Immediate Release

June 13, 2003

2003 LITA Frederick G. Kilgour Award winner announced

Herbert Van de Sompel, team leader, Digital Library Research and Prototyping Group, Los Alamos National Laboratories, is the winner of the Frederick G. Kilgour Award for Research in Library and Information Technology for 2003. OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc., and the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), sponsor the award.

The award was established to honor the achievements of Frederick G. Kilgour, the founder of OCLC and a seminal figure in library automation. The award is given to a person who has amassed a significant body of “real world” research in the field of library and information technology that has had an impact in the way in which information is published, stored, retrieved, disseminated or managed.
The award consists of $2,000, an expense-paid trip to the ALA Annual Conference and a citation of merit.

“The committee was delighted to acknowledge the significant work of Van de Sompel, whose research has contributed significantly to not one, but two major current developments in our field:
linking technologies and metadata harvesting,” said Larry Woods, chair of the award committee.

Based on the research for his PhD, Van de Sompel and his colleague Patrick Hochstenbach created SFX, a system that uses information passed from one information system to create locally appropriate related Web links to other systems.
The SFX system is in use in hundreds of libraries worldwide.
Parallel products have been or are currently being developed by various companies, universities and other players in the library information technology environment, all based on the insights and architecture developed for SFX.

A key element of the SFX linking architecture is the OpenURL, a method for passing bibliographic information from one information system to another encoded in a URL.
The OpenURL is now being standardized by NISO (an effort in which Herbert is heavily involved), and shows promise of becoming a key tool in the interoperation of distributed digital library systems.

With Carl Lagoze, Van de Sompel led an international effort to devise a protocol by which systems holding descriptive metadata could make that metadata available for “harvesting” and re-use by other information systems.
Originally developed to support the building of union catalogs of metadata derived from distributed e-print archives, the protocol has been generalized through work in the larger digital library world as the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting.

Van de Sompel received a masters degree in mathematics in 1979, and a masters degree in computer science in 1981 and a Ph.D. in communication science in 2000 all from Ghent University, Belgium.

The award will be presented at the LITA President’s Program on Monday, June 23, 2003, at the ALA Annual Conference in Toronto.