The Emmett Leahy Award is the highest award for individual accomplishment in the information and records management profession. Established in 1967 and given in honor of Emmett Leahy, the renowned and legendary pioneer of information and records management at the National Archives, this award annually recognizes an individual whose contributions and outstanding accomplishments have had a major impact on the records and information management profession. The award is not formally affiliated with any organization or professional association.
Selection of the award recipient is made by the Emmett Leahy Award Committee, composed of the last ten winners of this prestigious award. The Emmett Leahy Award Committee looks for evidence of high quality original concepts, approaches or methodologies and their impact on program development and management, innovation, education, and professional and organizational leadership.
The fundamental measure the Emmett Leahy Award Committee considers when evaluating nominee eligibility or making its selection for the Award is the significance of an individual's impact on the field of records and information management. This measure sets the award apart from other awards that recognize records and information management association service or are presented to groups, project teams, companies or public organizations in recognition of specific activities. Consequently, the Emmett Leahy Award Committee reviews each application and assesses each individual’s:
Documented creation of new, original and innovative records and information management principles, concepts and practices;
Demonstrable and substantive impact on records and information management practices, both qualitative and quantitative; and
Promotion of excellence in the records and information management profession through innovative thought leadership, publishing and in records and information management training and education programs.
In all categories, the Committee assesses the impact of the individual’s activities to determine the annual winner. Past winners have included users, educators, archivists, records managers, consultants -- and even a lawyer or two - both within the United States and, increasingly during the last 15 years or so, internationally.
The Emmett Leahy Award recipient for 2017 is Dr. Richard Marciano. This year’s winner has had an impact on records and information management due to his enormously creative, trailblazing research, which in turn has led to a kaleidoscope of concrete activities and projects pursued by others, including in the newly emerging area of computational archives
Throughout his career, Richard has worked in interdisciplinary and highly collaborative environments at the intersections of technology, information, and records management. He has focused on blending disciplines (computer science, archives, and history), to produce new ways of understanding the past.
Along the way, he created new organizations (labs and centers) in order to promote digital innovation, including co-founding the ARCS lab at the U. Iowa (1989-1993), co-founding with Reagan Moore the Data Intensive group at U.C. San Diego in 2000, where he served as lead Digital Preservation Scientist; co-founding and becoming Executive
Director of the campus‐wide DICE Center (Data Intensive Computing Environments) at UNC Chapel Hill in 2009, where he was also the Chief Scientist for Persistent Archives and Digital Preservation at RENCI, and founding in 2015 the DCIC Center (Digital Curation Innovation Center) here at the U. Maryland.
He has been an academic pathfinder in the area of digital trustworthiness, including developing auditable algorithms; he has developed records management software for managing large amounts of information in the form of “data grids,” a term he helped coin, and in the area of Big Data generally. His work in configuring iRODS development at the San Diego Supercomputer center (subsequently relocated to UNC Chapel Hill) helped to make iRODS used in production mode by a number of companies. He pioneered the concept of “persistent archives” – a combination of data grids, long-term preservation, and policy-enabled infrastructure, leading to the filing of a patent, to awards received, and international recognition. He has been a frequent collaborator on international projects too numerous to mention here. He is heavily involved in developing what he calls the new trans-discipline of “computational archival science,” including through his taking his lead in crafting an IEEE workshop under that name.
He has done all of this while being a prolific author of technical publications, through teaching and participating in the archival community in a myriad of ways, and most importantly, being a swell fellow to have a drink with (and learn from).
Richard Marciano, it is my distinct honor to say that you are the 48th recipient of the Emmett Leahy Award, and to hand you this plaque on behalf of the Emmett Leahy Committee in recognition of your achievements in helping to bring records and information management into the 21st century. Congratulations!
Acknowledgement: I would like to thank Christine Ardern, Recipient of the 2002 Emmett Leahy Award, for her contributions to the text of my remarks.
The Emmett Leahy Award annually honors a pioneer in the field of records and information management. The 2017 award recognizes Dr. Richard Marciano’s outstanding and sustained work in digital records and information management. His insightful development of cyberinfrastructure to support records management has resulted in new methodologies, experimental systems, and analytics - producing new knowledge and new ways to understand the past. Dr. Marciano’s work has led to innovative advancements in record keeping for the humanities, sciences, and archives.
Dr. Marciano is a professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, Director of the Digital Curation Innovation Center (DCIC), and Director of the Sustainable Archives and Leveraging Technologies (SALT) lab. Prior to that, he conducted research at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California San Diego for over a decade with an affiliation in the Division of Social Sciences in the Urban Studies and Planning program. His research interests center on digital preservation, sustainable archives, cyberinfrastructure, and big data.
Dr. Marciano’s work has led to innovative advancements in record keeping for the humanities, sciences, and archives. We congratulate him in receiving this prestigious and well deserved award.