Nature of the Award
VALA’s most prestigious award is the Robert D. Williamson Award, established in memory of one of the early pioneers of our industry, Bob Williamson.
In keeping with Bob’s legacy, this biennial award honours those who demonstrate leadership, curiosity, excellence and innovation and, in the view of their peers, are outstanding contributors to the development of information technology usage in Australian libraries and information services.
The Williamson Award is open to both individuals and organisations in the Library and Information Science profession within Australia.
The Award consists of a medallion and cash to the value of AUD $2,000.
Nominations for the 2020 Williamson Award are CLOSED.
Assessment of the Williamson Award will be based on the following criteria:
- Demonstrated leadership, curiosity, excellence and innovation;
- Outstanding contribution to the development of information technology usage in Australian libraries and information services.
Nominations may be made by staff or customers of libraries or information services, or by other interested persons.
Nominations can be made online and must include:
- Name and contact details of the person or organisation being nominated.
- Name and contact details of the person making the nomination.
- The name of at least two people, knowledgeable in this area, to whom the nomination may be referred for independent assessment.
- Reasons for the nomination – how has the nominee contributed to the development of information technology usage in Australian libraries and information services.
It is essential that nominees are NOT aware of their nomination. Disclosure of a nomination may prejudice that nomination. Details of a nomination are only made public when a nomination is successful, and then only upon presentation of the Award.
Announcement of the Robert D. Williamson Award will be made at VALA2020 on Tuesday 11 February 2020, when the recipient will be invited to accept their Award and, if the VALA Committee deems it appropriate, the recipient/s may be invited to present as a guest speaker.
Reasonable travel and attendance expenses that may be incurred to attend the presentation may be funded by VALA at its discretion.
Nominations are CLOSED.
The 2018 Williamson Award was presented to Rose Holley from University of New South Wales, Canberra. The winner was announced and presented after the first plenary session at the VALA2018 Conference on Tuesday 13 February 2018 by Enid Williamson. Click HERE for reflections on the history of the award from Enid Williamson.
Previous Williamson Award Recipients
Click HERE for reflections on the history of the award from Enid Williamson.
Recipients of the Williamson Award are in auspicious company, with previous winners including:-
2016 – Mal Booth, University of Technology, Sydney
2014 – Alyson Kosina, former VALA Executive Officer
2012 – Christine Mackenzie from the Yarra Plenty Regional Library Service
2010 – Anne Beaumont from the State Library of Victoria
2008 – Elizabeth Drynan and Pamela Johnstone, from Enterprise Information Management Pty Ltd
2006 – Lloyd Sokvitne from the State Library of Tasmania
2002 – Hans Groenewegen from Monash University
2000 – Derek Whitehead from Swinburne University
1997 – Geoff Payne
1995 – Informit
1994 – Peter Stansfield
1993 – Geoff Huston
1992 – Kim Jelbart
1991 – Warwick Cathro
1989 – Jeff Leeuwenburg
1988 – Elizabeth Swan
1987 – Sherrey Quinn
1986 – Susan Wannan
1985 – Hans Zwillenberg from ADSATIS (Australian Defence Scientific and Technical Information Services)
1984 – Des Tellis from Australian Mineral Foundation
1983 – Ian McCallum from ACI Computer Services
1982 – Neil Speirs from Australian Business Index
1981 – Jim Gilmore from Systems and Development Group, CSIRO
The VALA web site provides details about some of the Robert D. Williamson Award recipients.
About Robert D. Williamson
Although originally a chemical engineer, as manager of APM’s (now AMCOR’s) research library, Robert (Bob) Williamson was an early devotee of information technology in libraries. By the early 1970’s he had persuaded management to invest significantly in relevant US computer databases and software to support the company’s business objectives. This predated all of the publicly available services.
Professionally Bob was a leader. He was a quiet man, both curious and innovative, a generous advisor to colleagues, and an eager participant in the professional debates at the time. Bob also developed “recipe books” to help new online searchers navigate the different commands needed to access the new online services.
Bob was the industry representative on the STISEC committee convened by the National Library of Australia to quantify scientific and technical publication in Australia. When Peter Judge of CSIRO formed ALIA’s national Information Science Section, Bob was an obvious choice to convene that Section in Victoria just a few years before his sudden and untimely death in 1980.
It is therefore fitting that VALA’s most prestigious award is named after Robert D. Williamson.