BISG Recognizes Four Committee Efforts

Posted By: Brian F. O'Leary Committees,

Since 2017, BISG has recognized committee work with four service awards that link our core objectives with the work done by committee members. The four objectives include: serving as an information hub for the book business; promoting standards and best practices; conducting research that informs current and future practice; and building community capable of solving problems that affect two or more parts of the industry.

These goals reflect what we want to accomplish, and they provide the right framework to use when recognizing efforts across our network of volunteers.  On Friday, January 22, 2021 BISG celebrated its committee efforts by presenting awards for four outstanding efforts. 

The first of these went to Paul Gore of FADEL, who received BISG's Industry Connector Award, which recognizes a volunteer who embodies BISG’s commitment to serving as an information hub for the publishing industry. Past honorees include Graham Bell (EDItEUR, 2017), Laurie Stark (PRH, 2018), and Bill Rosenblatt (GiantSteps Media Technology Strategies, 2019)

Paul joined BISG at the start of the year, immediately throwing himself into the work of the rights committee. In March, he suggested creating a series of presentations, introduced in June as a set of “coffee break” webinars, that tackled a set of rights-related topics centered on how publishers implement technology. The development of the webinars was largely of his own making, and his work inspired further planning for 2021 in the metadata, rights, and workflow committees on focused series on different topics.

Michael Olenick of Bowker/Proquest was given BISG's Standards Bearer Award, which recognizes a volunteer whose advocacy for industry standards most closely aligns with BISG’s goal of promoting standards and best practices in publishing. Past honorees include Pat Payton (Bowker/Proquest, 2017), Richard Stark (B&N, 2018), and Tricia McCraney (Virtusales, 2019).

In presenting the award, BISG executive director Brian O'Leary noted, "I’ve described our 2020 honoree as a “national treasure”. He’s a regular part of every subject codes committee meeting. When the meetings were held in person, he’d be seen with a pile of research reports that seemed to hold the answer to every question asked at that meeting. If they didn’t have the answer, he’d come to the next meeting with whatever was missing."

Michael chairs the Thema working group, which this year had to map BISAC to an entirely reworked version of Thema, released in April, during a pandemic. With humor, grace, and a level of organization that the task required, he led several other volunteers – Caroline Hayes from W.W. Norton, Connie Harbison, and Mike McDonnell – through the painstaking process of creating a new map from BISAC to Thema 1.4.

An ad hoc committee, the Barcode Price Working Group, led by Rebecca Burgoyne, received BISG's Explorer Award, which recognizes a volunteer, committee, or project that has helped to shape the conversation about the current state and future of book publishing. Past honorees include the BISG Rights Committee (2017), the Library of Congress Working Group, led by Pat Payton (2018), and the Rights Taxonomy Working Group, led by Jeffrey Corrick (PRH, 2019).

Last year, the supply chain committee fielded a question, “Why do we print prices on books? And do we still have to do it?” and turned it into a survey, a working group, and a continuing conversation about what practices make sense in an era of increasingly dynamic pricing. It’s a strong example of how our committee discussions are rooted in questions, conversation, research, analysis, and action. BISG will be doing more with this topic in 2021.

Finally, Kris Kliemann of Kliemann and Company was given BISG's Community Builder Award, which recognizes a volunteer who has worked to create a productive and diverse community in committees, working groups, or the BISG membership as a whole. Past honorees include Connie Harbison (Baker & Taylor, 2017), Angela Bole (IBPA, 2018), and David Hetherington (knk Software, 2019).

Introducing Kliemann, Brian O'Leary said, "Over the past year, Kris has taken it as a personal mission to add new and professionally diverse voices to her committee. Recognizing that robust discussions require members with different perspectives and experiences, she went through everybody’s Rolodex, I think sometimes surreptitiously. In those rarified days before the pandemic, she and I sat with an agent in our offices for something like two hours, documenting all of the problems we needed to solve for the literary agent community. That list is still on my white board, but our 2020 honoree used it and many other calls and emails to create the most effective committee springboard I’ve seen in my time at BISG."

The meeting opened with overviews of BISG's 2020 results, presented by the chairs for the metadata, rights, subject codes, supply chain, and workflow committees. After the awards were announced, those attending the virtual meeting celebrated the honorees, with the hope that we could do something equally fun in the not-too-distant future. We promised just that.