Peter McCracken receives Ulrich’s Serials Librarianship Award

CHICAGO-The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) has named Peter McCracken, the 2011 recipient of the Ulrich’s Serials Librarianship Award. This award for distinguished contributions, presented by the Continuing Resources Section of ALCTS, consists of a citation and $1,500 donated by ProQuest through its Serials Solutions business unit.

Peter McCracken, Creator/Publisher, Shipindex.org has made extraordinarily distinguished contributions to the field of serials librarianship, the serials information chain and serials standards through his expertise in serials content management and the creation of a variety of library community transforming services. His innumerable presentations at meetings and conferences, exceptional levels of participation in the setting of industry standards, his published works in the serials literature, work on conference planning committees, and his consistent support and active involvement in professional organizations world-wide sets him apart as a leader and critical thinker in our discipline.

Peter’s impact on reshaping the library industry has been both transformative and visionary. His past work as Director, Electronic Content Management, and Co-Founder, Serials Solutions, Inc., Seattle, Washington led to the successful development of a knowledge base platform that enabled libraries to effectively manage their ever growing electronic journal collections. Peter (and his brothers) quickly understood the need for improving collection management in all content formats and that it was often more cost effective to outsource the management of titles within ejournal packages; and that “cloud” software and data is almost always a better platform for library services than installing and maintaining software locally. Peter’s original A-Z list proved to be so useful that it would serve as the “engine” for a range of other products (link resolvers, ERAMS -Electronic Resource Access & Management Systems -including valuable title overlap analysis reports , MARC record services), and even the most recently developed single unified index web scale discovery service, Summon, is premised on the same knowledgebase.

Peter’s work as a former reference librarian at the University of Washington assisted in his understanding that the success of the deceptively simple production of an A-Z list hinged primarily on consistently ensuring the integrity of data and its related links. The result was revolutionary. Peter’s “hands on” involvement in developing tools made him a valuable advocate and contributor to SUSHI (Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative), the Open URL standard which enables linking between tools and resources on the Web, and the NISO/ ALPSP Journal Article Versions working group which examined problems associated with the proliferation of different versions of journal articles, resulting in the development of a recommendations document that can be found at http://www.niso.org/publications/rp/RP-8-2008.pdf.

In 2006, under Peter’s leadership, Serials Solutions became an active affiliate member of CONSER’s international activities, including his active participation in the Access Level working group that was formed to develop a single CONSER standard record that would apply to all formats of serials and reduce cataloging costs. Their document may be found at http://www.loc.gov/acq/conser/alrFinalReport.html.

Peter’s passion for OpenURL and accurate knowledge bases led him to collaborate with the United Kingdom Serials Group as co-chair of the joint NISO/UKSG KBART (Knowledge Bases and Related Tools) working group that developed recommended practices for standardizing the transfer of data within and among information supply chain participants. Their document may be found at http://www.niso.org/publications/rp/PR-2010-09.pdf.

All of Peter’s letters of recommendation referred to him personally, to his work and contributions in superlatives that underscored his vision, ideas, cooperative nature and exceptional work ethic as well as his extraordinary skill at problem solving. Each noted his passion for excellence and how serial librarians, libraries in general, and their users have benefited from the creation of his sorely needed services. Evidence and testimony to Peter’s commitment to the serials profession has been profound. He is looked upon as a true pioneer who gave birth to an industry that was truly needed. His contributions to the development of tools and methods, demonstrated leadership, scholarship, development and implementation of standards, including current endeavors has greatly enriched the intellectual life of the profession and immeasurably improved access and understanding of the digital serials environment for librarians and end users.

Ulrich’s Award Jury

Maria Michelle Sitko, Chair (Marywood University)
Wen-ying Lu (University of Colorado at Boulder)
Tina Shrader (National Agricultural Library)
Narda Tafuri (University of Scranton)
Christopher H. Walker (Pennsylvania State University)

The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) is the national association for information providers who work in collection and technical services, such as acquisitions, cataloging, collection development, preservation, and continuing resources in digital and print formats.

ALCTS is a division of the American Library Association.

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