Woot! Woot!

The press release:

Making Libraries Relevant in an Internet-Based Society

PSU’s Casey Bisson wins Mellon Award for innovative search software for libraries

PLYMOUTH, N.H. — You can’t trip over what’s not there. Every day millions of Internet users search online for information about millions of topics. And none of their search results include resources from the countless libraries around the world—until now.

Casey Bisson, information architect for Plymouth State University’s Lamson Library, has received the prestigious Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration for his ground-breaking software application known as WPopac. The Wpopac software will revolutionize the online search process by allowing titles and descriptions of library holdings to be found on the Internet.

The award was presented at a ceremony hosted by the Mellon Foundation on Monday, Dec. 4 at the fall meeting of the Coalition for Networked Information, in Washington, D.C. Bisson’s project was selected as one of only 10 recipients out of several hundred nominees for 2006, the first year the MATC awards have been granted. The decision was made by an all-star panel that included Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, and Mitchell Baker, CEO of the Mozilla Foundation.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports the thoughtful application of information technology to a wide range of scholarly purposes, including developing digital technologies to enhance research, teaching, and online and distance learning, and new technical approaches to archiving text and multimedia materials.

Christopher Mackie, program officer for the Mellon Foundation’s Research in Information Technology section, was pleased with how well WPopac fits the foundation’s criteria.

“The award committee was particularly excited by the way WPopac makes library patrons more active participants in their library experience,” Mackie said. “By allowing patrons to add information to library records online, the software allows the community to work together to make their library resources more informative and more valuable. When you couple this with the reduced costs of access that WPopac permits, and the enthusiasm with which it has been received by librarians and patrons alike, the committee judged the project to have a truly revolutionary potential.”

“For years we’ve been talking about the digital divide in terms of access, and we’ve been working hard to put computers and networks into every school and library,” Bisson said. “But those same libraries, and their communities, are invisible to people online. If libraries are to be more than study halls in the Internet age, if they are to continue their role as centers of knowledge in every community, they need to be findable and available online. They need the tools to represent their collections, their services, and the unique history of their communities online. That’s what WPopac does.”

Dwight Fischer, director of information technology at PSU, called Bisson’s work an appropriate centerpiece for the university’s transformed academic library. “Over the past year, Lamson Library has implemented what is known as a Learning Commons,” Fischer explained. “This joint effort between library and IT professionals brings more technologies, online research materials, academic tutoring, writing and reading services to a central location in the library. Library faculty and staff members work side-by-side with IT professionals, forming a collaborative team that better reflects the needs of today’s students. Casey’s project will help build more bridges to more information for more people. We’re very proud of him.”

andrew w mellon foundation, award, mellon foundation, press release, wpopac, libraries, future libraries, lib20, library 2.0

36 thoughts on “Woot! Woot!

  1. Congratulations Casey! This project will be the key to redesigning access and redefining accessibility for many more things than just the OPAC.

    I’m looking forward to watching this develop!

    P.S. – Now can I have my CMS?

    [tags]wpopac, psu, plymouth, state[/tags]

  2. Pingback: EdVentures in Technology » Casey Bisson receives Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration

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  4. I’ve been wondering what ever happened with that since I sent in the nomination. So glad to hear you won it! What an honor and one you certainly deserve!

  5. Congrats Casey! Nice to see you being recognized for your expertise. I was up at the library Sat for my class- very different now from 11 years ago. Well done.

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  8. Excellent! Your presentation at IUG in May was the highlight of the program for me and I’m excited to see your work recognized.

  9. Woot, woot, indeed! Nice work, Case. Pete sent me the interview. It was super smooth. Not only that, I vaguely understand what your program does!

  10. Congratulations Casey!
    I just read the article in American Libraries – sounds amazing!

  11. I love it. This information definitely has been longing to be free. Tell us more… Will you be starting at a specific corner of the dataset? How will it be updated over time? Is anyone helping in languages other than English? I’d love to see the ‘commentable’ nature of the resulting index; there’s a WikiCite proposal that has been lingering unfulfilled for a few years that I would love to see carried out.

    –SJ

    [tags]multilingualism wiki wikicite freedom[/tags]

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