Ching-chih Chen wins LITA's Kilgour Award

CHICAGO - Ching-chih Chen, professor at Simmons College, is the winner of the Frederick G. Kilgour Award for Research in Library and Information Technology for 2006. OCLC (Online Computer Library Center, Inc.) and the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA), a division of the American Library Association, sponsor the award.

The award consists of $2,000, an expense paid trip to the ALA Annual Conference, and a citation of merit.

"The Kilgour Award Committee takes great pleasure in acknowledging the important work and contributions of Ching-chih Chen, whose research has led to significant achievements in the areas of global digital libraries, multimedia technology, digital imaging, interactive videodisc technology, global information infrastructure, and information management," said Qiang Jin, chair of the award committee.

The award was established to honor the achievements of Frederick G. Kilgour, the founder of OCLC and a seminal figure in library automation. The award is given to a person who has amassed a significant body of research in the field of library and information technology. Particular recognition is given to research which results in a positive and substantive impact on the publication, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information.

Chen has advocated the concept of the world digital library since 1993. Among her latest achievements is her Global Memory Net supported by the National Science Foundation's International Digital Library Program - a gateway to world cultural, historical, and heritage multimedia resources. It is an integrated world digital image library or portal which is seamlessly linked to all relevant multimedia sources - audio files, videos, and texts. Global Memory Net will be launched for universal access at the end of June 2006.

Global Memory Net's innovative integrated multimedia content retrieval system (i-M-C-S) enables one to retrieve images not only by the traditional methods - such as through the metadata fields like author, title, keyword, and subject - but also through cutting-edge content-based image retrieval by color and shape from random access to the images. (Chen developed this system in collaboration with Prof. James Z. Wang of Penn State University.)

The other features of the i-M-C-S include multilingual and multi-collection searches; instant link from images to related videos and documents when available, as well as to world bibliographical resources such as OCLC's World Cat and Internet resources such as Google Scholar, Google Video, and Google Image, Internet Archives and Million Books; geographical access to over 2,300 world digital collections; and dynamically generated digital watermarks of zoomed images for the protection of intellectual properties of the content providers.

The three-tier i-M-C-S system will enable libraries, museums, and archives to organize, share and perform instant retrieval of their valuable digital multimedia resources using cutting-edge technologies. This three-tier approach can accommodate institutions with different levels of technology capabilities and sophistication.

In addition to being a gateway to the world distributed digital libraries, Global Memory Net has its own rich digital image collections as well as those from its collaborators, such as UNESCO, Library of Congress and numerous academic institutions. But the core collection are those images and videos from Chen's earlier interactive videodisc and multimedia CD entitled "The First Emperor of China," which allows users to access information about China during the third century B.C. The U.S. National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) funded this project.

With James Z. Wang of Penn State University and Jian-bo Shi of the University of Pennsylvania as co-principal investigators, Chen is exploring Global Memory Net's recent NSF-funded Research & Development project entitled "International Collaboration to Advance User-oriented Technologies for Managing and Distributing Images in Digital Libraries" with the aim of anticipating user needs by enhancing universal access and promoting more direct and immediate learning for knowledge acquisition in a way not possible before.

Chen received a master's degree in Library and Information Science from University of Michigan in 1961 and a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in 1974. She has been a professor of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College, Boston, since 1971 and was associate dean from 1979-1998. A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, she served as a member of the U.S. President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) from 1998-2002.

Chen will be accepting the award at the LITA President's Program on Sunday, June 25, 2006 at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.

The Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) members are information technology professionals dedicated to educating, serving, and reaching out to the entire library and information community. LITA is a division of the American Library Association.