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* Monday, December 4, 2006

Congratulations to Casey Bisson & Plymouth State University!

Making Libraries Relevant in an Internet-Based Society : PSU’s Casey Bisson wins Mellon Award for innovative search software for libraries

"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.'...

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.' "

Emphasis above is mine, because it's exactly why I was so excited when Casey first showed me WPopac. This project is usually at or near the top of my list when I show creative, innovative thinking (and implementation!) in libraries.

I couldn't be more thrilled about this news - congratulations to Casey and a big thank you to PSU for supporting his work.

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