Thomas Daniel Wilson is the 2017 recipient of the ASIS&T Award of Merit, the highest honor presented by ASIS&T. The award’s purpose it to recognize an individual deemed to have made particularly noteworthy and sustained contributions to the information science field, and is typically awarded for the sum of a person’s professional career.
Professor Wilson, Professor Emeritus, University of Sheffield, Visiting Professor, University of Leeds Business School and Senior Professor at the University of Borås, Sweden, has made significant and sustained contributions to information science for over 50 years. He has an extensive publications record, with over ninety journal and conference papers and almost three-hundred book and software reviews.
Professor Wilson’s 1981 seminal paper on user studies and information needs was groundbreaking at the time, and remains highly influential. He is best known for a set of information behaviour models that have been adopted and adapted by numerous researchers, and often serve as the starting point in any discussion of information seeking research; these have become classics in our discipline.
Professor Wilson’s history of funded research pushed the use of qualitative methodologies in an era of system-centred research, paving the way for the many who followed him. He has also shaped scholarship in information science through the creation of two key outlets that have been sustained for over 20 years. Dr. Wilson founded and edited for several years, the International Journal of Information Management, and also founded the open-access peer-reviewed journal, Information Research, which was one of the first open access journals to emerge and is considered an important venue for research in our field.
Professor Wilson established a substantial conceptual foundation at a critical time in information science development. That the foundation has stood the test of time, independent of the technological developments, is a testament to his significant contributions.