Ian McCallum

Ian McCallum BA (Hons) DipLib AAIM FALIA

Fellowship conferred 1989

Throughout his twenty year career in librarianship, Ian Stanley McCallum, has demonstrated that librarianship is fundamentally concerned with meeting the needs of users and the market. This has been particularly reflected in the distinguished contribution he has made to library and information services in Australia in three major areas: the development of AUSINET, the foundation of the Australian Database Development Association (ADDA), and the establishment of the Australian Schools Co-operative Information Services (ASCIS).

Ian McCallum began his career in the National Library of Australia in 1969 and worked there for ten years. He was the project officer for the ERIC research project and the Online ERIC project, and his drive, energy and enthusiasm was central to the successful subsequent establishment of AUSINET. This phase of his career was singled out by the judging panel for special mention when he was awarded the Robert D. Williamson Award by VALA in 1983. He had a clear vision of the importance of AUSINET to the library community and was never afraid to try new approaches to solving the problems which arose in mounting this ambitious project. He brought this same vision and energy to the development of ASCIS after he moved to ACI as manager, Information Retrieval Services in 1979. ACI was the contractor for the ASCIS service, but Ian McCallum's contribution went far beyond that which would normally be expected as a consequence. He was committed to the concept that what was best for schools should be the first priority in developing ASCIS and his sagacious and informed policy and administrative advice was crucial to its immediate acceptance throughout the Australian school library community.

Ian McCallum has played a major role throughout his career in broader professional forums. He was one of the key figures in the foundation of the Australian Database Development Association in 1983, and his strongly-held belief that vendors and producers should be included along with the users in membership of the Association resulted in it quickly becoming an influential force throughout the database industry. While ALIA president in 1986, Ian was responsible for the carriage through General Council and the Association's Annual General Meeting of that year of the report of the Corporate Plan and Review Committee and the initial implementation of its recommendations. Following the Committee's identification of the need for the Association to raise its political profile, he played the crucial role in the decision to establish the new ALIA Head Office building in Canberra. It was his persistence and belief in the need for ALIA to 'return' to Canberra, as he was wont to state his case, which directly led to the chain of events culminating in the recent ceremony at which the Governor-General of Australia laid the Foundation Stone for the new ALIA Head Office building in Canberra. He has been the key figure in the detailed negotiations to obtain the land from the Commonwealth Government under such favourable terms, commission to architect and subsequently construct the building.

Ian McCallum's professional beliefs have always been based on the premise that it is the network of Australian Library and Information Services which is of paramount importance, and that it is the network rather than individual libraries which should be seen as providing most things to most people. His colleagues recognise his specialised competence in the development of information retrieval systems and product planning in the area of information management.

His contributions to Australian librarianship and the Association over the last twenty years make him a worthy recipient of the distinction of Fellow of the Australian Library and Information Association.

 

Recipient of the HCL Anderson Award 2002

Ian McCallum has had a long and distinguished career in the library and information services sector in Australia. Ian's formal career in librarianship began in 1969 when he completed the Diploma in Librarianship from the University of New South Wales. His first employment was in the National Library of Australia where he worked from 1969 to 1978. During this time Ian worked on Australia's first batch and then online information retrieval systems, as project leader of the ERIC Research Project, and then for the Online ERIC Project.

In 1977, following a study at Monash University, the National Library and ACI Computer Services embarked on the establishment of AUSINET and Ian's proposal formed the basis of this initiative. The development of AUSINET as a joint venture between ACI and a consortium of academic libraries co-ordinated by the National Library meant that, for the first time, access to the nation's information holdings was available online. Much of the energy and enthusiasm to get this ambitious project off the ground emanated from Ian McCallum.

Ian moved in 1979 to employment with ACI Computer Services (later Ferntree Computer Corporation). This allowed him to oversee further developments in AUSINET from the perspective of the provider rather than the user.

Ian also played a central role in the development of the Australian Schools Cataloguing Information System (ASCIS). ASCIS, launched in 1984, provided bibliographic data and curriculum information to Australian schools and is recognised as a major influence in curriculum development and implementation at both national and state levels.

Ian was awarded the Robert D Williamson Award of the Victorian Association for Library Automation in 1983 for outstanding contribution to the development of information science in Australia. His specialised competence in the area of information management, major negotiations for computer systems acquisition and the management of information management business systems was of inestimatable value to the development of national systems in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 1989 Ian's contribution to the Association and the profession was recognised when he was awarded a Fellowship of the Association. His Fellowship recognised not only his professional contribution, but also his leadership in his presidential year (1986), a time of great change for the Association. He was instrumental in the decision to move the Association's headquarters from Sydney to Canberra. His persistence and belief in the need for a national association to have its focus in the national capital meant that the Association made the move at a time which was very advantageous.

Ian's career took a different path from 1997, when with Sherrey Quinn, he established Libraries Alive! P/L, a consulting company with a 'mission to help libraries create new customers by bringing a customer-centric pragmatic approach to the operational issues surrounding library and information service.'

While Libraries Alive! is a commercial operation, it has also demonstrated over the last four years a strong and continued commitment to the betterment of the Australian library system through its activities. The company has assisted many libraries and information services to focus on customer service and demonstrate their value to their funders. Ian is a passionate believer in the social and economic value of libraries and information services and works with staff to explain and expand their positions of influence, trust and privilege.

Ian continues to contribute his time to projects and professional initiatives which raise the profile of libraries and information services and the profession. He has been a member of ALIA throughout his career. He has served as national president; ACT branch councillor; secretary/treasurer of the Information Science Section; ALIA representative on the IFLA Information Technology Standing committee; and a member of the ALIA 2000 biennial conference program committee.

In 2001 and 2002 he facilitated the Association's National Policy congresses. He was also the joint convenor of the ALIA2002 biennial conference online 'ideas forum' which as a new initiative provided a forum for discussion of issues prior to the conference.

Ian has very strong professional values, and cares very much about leadership in the Australian library community and maximising opportunities for emerging professionals. His role in the development of the Aurora Leadership Institutes, first conducted at Thredbo NSW in 1995, has been of particular importance and again demonstrates his continued professional contribution. He has mentored at all four Institutes in Australia, and is one of the six directors and the secretary of the new Aurora Foundation, and continues to make a major contribution in the reshaping of the Institute program.

Ian has contributed significantly to the professional literature, including published articles in the Association's journals, papers presented to Association conferences and other publications.

In conferring the HCL Anderson Award, the Association recognises Ian's continued service to and passion for ALIA, the theory and practice of librarianship, and the profession.