UB Informatics Professors Receive National Award for Distinguished Published Research

Release Date: May 30, 2003 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Two faculty members in the University at Buffalo School of Informatics and a former faculty member will receive of one of the most eminent awards presented by the American Library Association (ALA) on June 21 at the association's annual conference in Toronto.

The 2003 winners of the Jesse H. Shera Award for Distinguished Public Research from the ALA's Library Research Round Table (LRRT) are George D'Elia of Amherst, professor in the Department of Information and Library Studies; Joseph Woelfel of Ithaca, professor in the Department of Communication, and Corinne Jorgenson of Tallahassee, Fla., former associate professor in the Department of Information and Library Studies.

The award is given to the author(s) of a single article published in English during the preceding calendar year. The winning study, "The Impact of the Internet on Public Library Use," is an analysis of the current consumer market for library and Internet services. It was co-authored by Eleanor Jo Rodger, president of the Urban Libraries Council in Evanston, Ill.. who also will share in the award.

Although the LRRT does not present an award for distinguished public research every year, D'Elia has received it three times before -- in 1980, 1982 and 1983.

The winning study, published last year in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, presented a new consumer model of the U.S. adult market for library and Internet services. The research team looked at the way consumers choose between two information providers -- the public library and the Internet. They found that current use of libraries and the Internet appears to be complementary, but stressed the extreme importance of continued monitoring of consumer choices in order to understand emerging trends and plan for the future.

The award committee lauded the study's focus on several issues imperative for such understanding and planning: The reasons information providers are used, how users select one information provider over another and the criterion by which users evaluate the performance of the information provider.

Committee Chair Christine Avery, praised the UB researchers work as "timely research in an area of great interest to all librarians." She said the light shed by the authors on consumer decision-making in this regard is "invaluable" for librarians in assessing what people value in libraries and library service, and in planning for future library use.

The Jesse H. Shera Award takes its name from the late dean of the School of Library and Information Science at Case Western University, an outstanding leader in promoting the importance of research to the effective development of the theory and practice of library and information service.

The ALA Research Round Table offers two Shera awards annually -- one for distinguished published research and one for excellence in doctoral research.

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