IU chemical informatics innovator, librarian headed to international hall of fame

 

June 1, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Gary D. Wiggins of the Indiana University School of Informatics has been selected for the Special Libraries Association Hall of Fame award.

Wiggins, adjunct professor and director of the School’s Chemical Informatics Program will receive that honor June 3 at the SLA’s annual conference in Denver, Colo. The award, presented to an SLA member in good standing at or near the end of an active professional career, recognizes significant service and contributions to the association. Only 124 have been selected for the SLA Hall of Fame since its inception in 1959. Wiggins joined the association in 1976.

“I am particularly honored to receive this award since one of the Hall of Fame members is my former mentor and former dean of the IU School of Library and Information Science – Herbert S. White,” said Wiggins who was nominated by some of his former graduate students. “Herb was my doctorate thesis adviser.” 

White, who served as SLIS dean from 1980-90, is an IU Distinguished Professor Emeritus.

“Gary has long been on the leading edge of providing information to chemists,” said Patricia Steele, Ruth Lilly University Dean of University Libraries, “and his service to IU reflects his commitment to the chemical information profession. While heading the IUB Chemistry Library he revolutionized ways in which information is shared. His transition to the School of Informatics was a natural migration to the next stage of chemical information development.” 

Wiggins, who headed the IU Chemistry Library for 27 years, is credited with his role in creating and maintaining the Chemical Information Sources Discussion List (CHMINF-L) in 1991. CHMINF-L is one of the longest running listserves in the world, and it serves as the official communications vehicle of the SLA Chemistry Division and other professional groups such as the American Chemical Society, Royal Society of Chemistry and the Association for Information Science and Technology. 

At the School of Informatics and through his association with the Pervasive Technology Labs at IU, Wiggins also was instrumental in helping establish the Chemical Informatics and Cyberinfrastructure Collaboratory. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the group uses emerging high-capacity computer networks and data repositories and develops grid and Web technology for chemistry research.

Wiggins also maintains the Joint Special Libraries Association/American Chemical Society Clearinghouse for Chemical Information Instructional Materials and a Web guide to Internet and other chemistry resources, Chemical Information Sources at IU.

“Gary has excelled not only as a librarian but as a trailblazer and leader in the field of chemical informatics,” said School of Informatics Dean J. Michael Dunn. “His induction into the SLA Hall of Fame is strong testament to his many contributions.”

Wiggins served as the interim director of the Bioinformatics Program at the School of Informatics until August 2006.

During his career at IU, Wiggins has received numerous awards and honors, including the William Evans Jenkins Award for Outstanding Librarianship in 1993, the Herman Skolnik Award of the American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Information for outstanding contributions in the theory or practice of chemical information. He also is the 2001 recipient of the SLIS Distinguished Alumni Award.

Last May, Wiggins received the Patterson-Crane Award, international in scope and sponsored by the American Chemical Society, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio sections.

All of Wiggins’ academic training has been at IU, where he earned undergraduate degrees in chemistry and Russian (1966); master’s degrees in Slavic languages and literature (1968), information science (1971); and a doctoral in library and information science (1985).

And Wiggins also has given back generously to Indiana University. Last year, he and his wife Mia established the Cecil “Corky” Richmond Jr. Informatics Undergraduate Scholarship at IU-Bloomington. The scholarship, named in honor of Gary Wiggins’ late friend and former Indianapolis Star journalist, is intended for deserving students, with preference being given to Indiana residents.

The Special Libraries Association was founded in 1909 in New York and represents the interests of thousands of information professionals in more than 80 countries. More information about the SLA is at www.sla.org.