Donald Lamberton

Donald McLean Lamberton BEc  DPhil

  • Redmond Barry Award 1992

Donald Lamberton has made a significant contribution towards the development of library and information services in Australia, specifically in the area of the economics of information.

As one of the Australians to publish substantially in the field of information economics since the early 1970's, he has gained an international reputation for his work.

From 1974-1977 he was Director of the Information Research Unit and Professor of Economics, from 1973-1989, at the University of Queensland, St Lucia. There he established one of the world's first educational programs on information economics, with undergraduate, graduate coursework and research components.

During this time the Commonwealth Government appointed Donald Lamberton as a member of the Committee of Inquiry into Public Libraries, whose report Public Libraries in Australia (the Horton Report) made major recommendations on the development of the Australian public library system and on appropriate policies. His ideas on the costs of library service and relevance of economic analysis for the library profession have influenced library and information professionals in this country such that the present courses include within their curriculum the economic environment of libraries and the economics and costs of information provision. He has also been able to work behind the scenes to influence and convince researchers, library administrators and politicians to address the large issues and to broaden their ideas to include concepts from other disciplines.

A prolific writer and thinker, Mr Lamberton has been a member of numerous committees of inquiry for the government, the OECD and UNESCO and has co-authored reports for various bodies on subjects such as the Australian information industry, the social costs of technological change, data service industries and the supply of government information. He has edited a number of monographs and journals and in 1983 founded the scholarly journal Prometheus, the journal of issues in technological change, innovation, information economics, communication, information and science policy.

In 1989, he co-founded the Centre for International Research on Communication and Information Technologies (CIRCIT) in Melbourne, Victoria. While at CIRCIT, he significantly assisted a variety of library and information research projects and individual scholars from the library and information profession. In 1992 Donald Lamberton became a Visiting Fellow in the Urban Research Program at the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. He remains a Senior Research Fellow at CIRCIT.

Not only has Donald Lamberton earned an international reputation in the field of information economics, but he has extended the conceptual basis for the disciplines of librarianship and information management, providing an intellectual framework for the extension of the profession into areas once regarded as not within its province. The provision of such a framework has been invaluable to the profession in persuading colleagues and funding bodies of the centrality of information skills in any professional preparation, in broadening the employment market for our own graduates, and enlarging the profession's vision of where our skills might be applied. Throughout his working career as an economist, Donald Lamberton has strongly promoted the contribution of libraries and librarians to the national   economy,

His interest in the training of library and information professionals led to his role as a lecturer and thesis examiner at the Department of Librarianship, Archives and Records at Monash University.

The efforts of Mr Lamberton over many years to convince governments of the crucial importance of information as an organising principle and major transforming agent in our society are gradually being reflected in the increasing pressure for the adoption of national and state information policies, and in the addition of an information dimension to such crucial policy areas as trade, industry and telecommunications. The Redmond Barry Award may be conferred on a person who is not eligible for professional membership of the Association but who has rendered outstanding service to the promotion, theory or practice of library and information science. The General Council believes Donald Lamberton is well deserving of the Australian Library  and Information  Association's Redmond  Barry Award.