CNI, ARL, and EDUCAUSE Announce that Paul Courant (University of Michigan) Has Been Named 2022 Recipient of the Paul Evan Peters Award
From a Joint Announcement:
The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and EDUCAUSE are pleased to announce that economist Paul Courant, who has served in multiple roles at the University of Michigan, including provost and dean of libraries, has been named the 2022 recipient of the Paul Evan Peters Award. The award recognizes notable, lasting achievements in the creation and innovative use of network-based information resources and services that advance scholarship and intellectual productivity.
“It’s wonderful to see Paul Courant recognized with the Paul Evan Peters Award,” commented CNI Executive Director Clifford Lynch. “Paul’s central role in making the Google Books project possible has permanently changed the way the world views the possibilities of digital libraries and access to our print cultural heritage. It’s a study in both vision and courage, and exactly the kind of leadership Paul Evan Peters treasured and sought to foster. Courant’s initiative led us to HathiTrust and positioned research libraries to respond more effectively to the challenges during the pandemic. Our understanding of the importance of his achievement only grows in retrospect.”
Courant is the Edward M. Gramlich Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Economics and Public Policy and the Harold T. Shapiro Collegiate Professor Emeritus of Public Policy in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. He is also a professor emeritus of economics and of information, and he holds the distinction of Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Emeritus and Provost Emeritus. He has been instrumental in reshaping scholarly communication throughout his illustrious and varied career. Mary Lee Kennedy, ARL executive director, stated that “Paul Courant epitomizes the qualities of the Paul Evan Peters Award recipient—a person with the vision and willingness to take major risks with higher education leadership. Courant’s foresight in leading the Google Books initiative and establishing HathiTrust, and as part of the leadership that launched the Digital Public Library of America, profoundly changed the nature of research, and continues to benefit researchers worldwide.”
While provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan, Courant negotiated with Google to allow digitization of the entire library contents for Google Books, provided that the university retain copies of the digitized files and retain the right to develop consortial arrangements with other academic libraries and related institutions. These requirements proved foundational to HathiTrust, which Courant spearheaded while dean of libraries. Today, HathiTrust has preserved 17+ million digitized items and fundamentally changed the economics and accessibility of digital collections. When physical collections closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, HathiTrust implemented the Emergency Temporary Access Service and permitted member libraries special access to its digital materials.
“This year’s award provides a perfect opportunity to recognize the leadership and vision Paul Courant has provided for a shared digital library ecosystem. Thanks to his prescience, libraries everywhere realized the benefits of ‘at-scale’ solutions through HathiTrust, which largely made academic continuity possible in the wake of the pandemic lockdown. As we move forward to further leverage networked information and services, it is fitting to recognize Paul’s lasting contributions to this cause,” said Lorraine J. Haricombe, selection committee member and vice provost and director of libraries at The University of Texas at Austin.
EDUCAUSE president and CEO John O’Brien noted that “The last few years have been marked by more uncertainty than anyone can remember—and there is no better time to pause and recognize remarkable leaders like Paul Courant, whose contributions have made an even bigger difference during challenging times like these.”
Selection committee members included: Francine Berman, director of public interest technology and professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Kevin Guthrie, president, ITHAKA; Lorraine J. Haricombe, vice provost and director of libraries, The University of Texas at Austin; and Diane Goldenberg-Hart, assistant executive director, CNI.
The award will be presented during the CNI Fall 2022 Membership Meeting in Washington, DC, December 12–13, where Courant will deliver the Paul Evan Peters Memorial Lecture. The talk will be recorded and released on CNI’s YouTube and Vimeo channels. Previous award recipients include Francine Berman (2020), Herbert Van de Sompel (2017), Donald A.B. Lindberg (2014), Christine L. Borgman (2011), Daniel E. Atkins (2008), Paul Ginsparg (2006), Brewster Kahle (2004), Vinton Gray Cerf (2002), and Tim Berners-Lee (2000).
Filed under: Academic Libraries, Associations and Organizations, Awards, Digital Collections, Digital Preservation, Interactive Tools, Lecture, Libraries, Management and Leadership, News, Productivity, Public Libraries, Video Recordings
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.