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Naresh Agarwal to receive 2024 Watson Davis Award for Service

Naresh Agarwal

The Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) is delighted to announce that Dr. Naresh Agarwal is the recipient of the 2024 Watson Davis Award for Service. The award recognizes an individual member of the Association who has shown continuous dedicated leadership in and service to ASIS&T and made substantial and lasting contributions to ASIS&T governance, chapters, SIGs, committees, and publications.

Agarwal is Professor and Director of Information Science & Technology Concentration at Simmons University School of Library and Information Science. His research area is information behavior and knowledge management. His first book ‘Exploring Context in Information Behavior’ was published by Morgan & Claypool in 2018. His second book was published in 2021 as 'Engineering to Ikigai’ in South Asia and 'You know the glory, not the story' internationally. He is currently co-authoring a book on Knowledge Management in Libraries. He has been a keynote/invited speaker in several countries, including Bangladesh, China, France, India, Iran, Japan, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa, UK, and US. Born and brought up in the Himalayan region of Sikkim, India, he earned his Ph.D. from the National University of Singapore. In 2018, he started to gather human stories through interviews.

Agarwal was the President of ASIS&T in 2022-23. He has held various leadership positions since joining the association in 2008, including being on the Board of Directors twice, co-chairing the 2017 Annual Meeting, chairing different committees and special interest groups, directing the chapter assembly, and founding the South Asia Chapter. In 2012, he was awarded the James M. Cretsos Leadership Award. In 2021, he was recognized as an ASIS&T Distinguished Member and became a Lifetime Member in 2024. As President, he made it his endeavor to listen to members by holding numerous individual and group meetings, advancing the Strategic Plan, getting the ‘About ASIS&T’ page translated to 28 languages, launching a mentorship program, and increasing collaborations with other associations, among other work. Over the years, Agarwal has participated in a variety of panels and presentations, while contributing to ASIS&T publications as author and reviewer.

In his endorsement of Agarwal, Abebe Rorissa, Professor & Director, School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, writes, “For over 16 years, as a leading global scholar, in addition to making a deep and broad impact on the theories and practice of information science and technology through his excellent scholarship and teaching, Dr. Agarwal has been a great citizen of the profession with a long list of service contributions… During his tenure as President, ASIS&T attained several milestones, including financial stability, membership growth, and further internationalization.” Ina Fourie, Professor and Head of the Department and Chair, School of Information Technology, University of Pretoria, writes, “His immensely strong focus on people and kindness in fulfilling tasks is of outstanding value for the image of ASIS&T as a scholarly organization committed to excellence and technology… His commitment to inclusion, diversity and respect is aligned with what ASIS&T strives for…Naresh serves as an excellent role model of dedicated service – with a remarkable emphasis on people.” Md. Anwarul Islam, Professor, University of Dhaka, said, “Naresh is a productive researcher, a constant learner, a technology-savvy person, and a mentor, who, I have seen, not only shines himself but encourages each person he interacts with to be their best.”

Upon learning of his selection as winner of the Watson Davis Award, Agarwal responded, “I feel extremely honored to join the long line of esteemed people across the decades who have received this award. I would like to thank the jury, the letter writers, and each person who has contributed to making ASIS&T a home for me, including my colleagues at Simmons. I am, because you all are. Thank you.”

Agarwal will receive the award during the 2024 ASIS&T annual meeting which will be held 25-29 October, 2024 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.