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Bob Williams Paper Award

Purpose of the Award 

This award recognizes the best refereed paper relevant to the history of information science and technology preceding the ASIS&T annual meeting. 


The award nominee(s) must meet the following qualifications: 

  • For this award, “information science” is considered to include all the communication activities and information science and technology fields noted in the first paragraph of Article II, “Purpose,” of the ASIS&T Constitution and Bylaws, published on the ASIS&T website. 
  • Authors need not be members of ASIS&T to be nominated for the award but at least one author must become a member prior to the conferral of the award. 
  • Nominees who have received funding from a Bob Williams Research Award in the past two (2) years are not eligible. 
  • Current members of the Awards & Honors Committee, current members of the SIG-HFIS leadership, and current members of the Board of Directors are not eligible.  
  • Submissions must be in English. 


Submissions will be judged on the following criteria: 


  • Relevance of the central topic or question to the history of information science and technology 
  • Societal or scientific/technical significance of the topic or question investigated or expounded (universality, urgency, impact, etc.); and 
  • Usefulness of the paper to practicing information professionals (applicability, timeliness, scope, problem-solving value, etc.). 

Professional Merit 

  • Creativity and originality, as reflected in new insights, interpretations, facts, innovations, methods, applications, etc. (stimulating, informative, enlightening, etc.); 
  • Scientific and professional quality of the research, review, development work, methods of inquiry, etc. (competent, valid, replicable, etc.); and 
  • Scholarship embodied in the presentation, explanations, interpretations, and discussions as evidenced by the connection with prior research in both literature review and discussion. 

Presentation Quality 

  • Readability, effective organization and presentation of concepts, facts, arguments, etc. (structure, logic, persuasiveness, etc.); and 
  • Use of clear, concise, comprehensible, and jargon-free language (ease and pleasure of reading). 

Nominations Process 

 Nominations must be submitted by 11:59 pm US Pacific Time on the deadline date via the designated online portal. 

 Nominations must include the following only: 

  • A cover letter addressing how the paper contributes to the history of information science and technology. 
  • A current CV/Resume of the author. 
  • The paper. 

Previous year’s nominations may be re-considered by the Jury. 


A jury of five members (including the Jury Chair, who shall be the current chair of SIG-HFIS) and one alternate shall be appointed by the Awards & Honors Committee at the recommendation of the Jury Chair. Jury members must: 

  • Be a member in good standing of ASIS&T. 
  • Not be a member of any other ASIS&T Committee. 
  • Not submit a nomination for the award in the year of their jury service; and 
  • Declare any conflict of interest related to any nominee for the award and recuse themselves from the jury should the conflict be deemed significant by the Jury Chair (in which case the alternate would be appointed). 

Selection Process 

  • The jury will utilize both asynchronous scoring and synchronous discussion to arrive at a final decision as to who wins any award.  
  • Through the evaluation platform or system, jury members will rate each nominee on a scale of 10 (highest) to 1 (lowest) on each of the criteria listed above. Jury members should also submit a brief synopsis summarizing the most exemplary accomplishments of that nominee. 
  • The jury chair shall tally the votes, with professional merit weighted as 40% of the overall score, contribution weighted as 40% of the overall score, and presentation quality weighted as 20% of the overall score. The nominee with the highest point total shall be the winner. In the event of a tie that cannot be resolved through synchronous discussion, the jury chair will identify an additional jury member to break the tie. This new jury member will evaluate only the tied nominations and will rate them using the same three criteria used by the other jurors.  
  • The jury chair shall use the qualitative feedback from the jury as well as their own judgment to write a ~ 250-word citation stating the rationale for making the award. 
  • The jury shall make one award or none. 

Nature of the Award 

The Bob Williams Research Paper was established by ASIS&T in 2017 and is administered by the Awards & Honors Committee. The award shall consist of a total of US$500 cash award, and a certificate presented to the author(s). In the case of multiple authors, the distribution of the full award amount shall be determined by the recipients. The cost of membership in ASIS&T may be deducted from the total award if the winner is not a current member of ASIS&T and wishes to use the award to cover their membership. 

Presentation of the Award 

The award shall be presented at the ASIS&T Annual Meeting.  

Important Dates 

Jury Appointment: January 15 

Submission Deadline: March 31 (or adjacent weekday) 

Selection Deadline: May 15