Sherrey Quinn

Sherrey Quinn BA DipLib FALIA(CP)

  • ALIA Fellowship 2007

The award of an ALIA Fellowship is made only after high achievement in our profession and an outstanding contribution to the Association. Sherrey Quinn joined the Association and the profession in the same year, and she very soon became an office bearer on ALIA's committees and sections. There have been very few, if any, years between 1971 and 2007 when her name was not to be found in the list of members committing their time, talent and energy in various ways to the Association and their profession. Her unique strength is the application of LIS concepts to information technology to improve access to information. Much of her recent work has been undertaken outside the traditional areas of librarianship, where she has raised awareness of LIS skills in both the indexing community and the broader IT profession.

Following a cadetship at the National Library of Australia in 1971, Sherrey developed her interest in special librarianship in a series of positions with other employers, including a return to the NLA. Her expertise grew in technical services in special libraries, particularly those allied to the applied sciences - her workplaces between 1971 and 1985 include the libraries of the Aeronautical Research Laboratories (ARL), the NSW Traffic Accident Research Unit and the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB).

She played a major role in establishing some of Australia's first collaborative database projects. Among these was the AUSINET public database service, which she contributed to during the period she spent in the Social Sciences Information Services team at the NLA. She also contributed input to the Australian Defence Science and Technology Information System database when Technical Services Librarian at ARL. At the ARRB, the library produced and published material in print and online, and was the Australian clearinghouse for the contribution of bibliographic and current research records to the OECD's International Road Research Database.

One of the special IT projects with national significance that Sherrey was involved in was at CSIRO Information Services, which she joined in 1994. There she co-ordinated the migration of the CSIRO science and technology databases from AUSTRALIS system to the NLA's OZLINE service. She was a member of the team that implemented SIM (Structured Information Manager, now known as Teratext) with CSIRO, and she co-ordinated the post-implementation development of user specifications, software testing, and product development. She also wrote the user documentation and managed the help desk and user support services. Her contribution to special libraries continued at BHP Research, where she reviewed requirements, existing services, best practice and made recommendations for service provision.

Her entrepreneurial streak has led her to set up two consultancy businesses, where she has been able to supply expert advice to clients in projects both major and minor. Online Information Services Pty Ltd (1986-1995) was the first, specialising in the design, specification, implementation and documentation of databases and information retrieval services. She was later co-founder of Libraries Alive!, based in the ACT. Sherrey has worked closely with, among many that could be mentioned, the ACT Library and Information Service on several major projects. Project stakeholders praise her capacity to build rapport, to process information, and to provide sound recommendations that give positive results when implemented.

Special mention should also be made of Sherrey's significant contribution to the Aurora program, run since 1995 to assist future leaders in the library and associated cultural and information fields to maximise their leadership skills and potential. Participation in the Aurora workshop has encouraged many high-performing newer members of the profession to greater contributions to both the profession and ALIA.

Sherrey has been a key organiser of the event over almost a decade, assisting in many aspects of the organisation and delivery of the program. She has mentored participants, assisted them to think about their careers, edited their draft publications and generally encouraged them to grow. Sherrey's professional contribution to varied organisations concerned with the development of information services, such as the Australian Database Development Association and the Australian and New Zealand Society of Indexers, has been extensive. In early recognition of this, she was awarded the 1987 RD Williamson Award for outstanding contribution to the development of information science in Australia. Her major contribution to indexing is exemplified by the review she undertook of the Schools Online Thesaurus, contributing to improved information literacy in, it is not an exaggeration to say, every school in Australia.

A dedicated member since the beginning of her library career, Sherrey's direct contribution to ALIA includes over 30 years service, variously as an office bearer and as a representative on many ALIA committees and advisory groups, including the Expert Advisory Group on Inter-library Lending. Most recently she has been the convenor of ACTive ALIA, the ACT local group (formerly the ACT branch). ACTive ALIA provides communication among library professionals of all sectors, arranges and supports professional development activities, promotes the role of libraries and lobbies on local matters, and promotes ALIA membership. Sherrey has also contributed her time and expertise to external bodies, both as an ALIA and as a special libraries representative. She has served, for example, on the Libraries Australia Advisory Committee, the National Resource Sharing Policy Committee and the NLA Expert Practitioner Group.

During the early to mid 1990s, Sherrey documented the development of Australia's online industry and its developing databases. Her published work in this period includes the Directory of Australian and New Zealand Databases, the Recipe Book Service of Online Searching (8th to the 14th editions) and, in 1995, the compilation and editing of the SAGE Thesaurus.

She has also published extensively on indexing and thesaurus construction, and on roads and transport libraries and information services. Her work as an indexer covers many subject areas, ranging from the biophysics of the Cochlea to climate change.

For her contribution to special library service provision, to improved access to information, to the wider awareness of the LIS sector in Australia and for her service to ALIA, Sherrey Quinn is a worthy recipient of the distinction of Fellow of the Australian Library and Information Association.