Government Information Librarian Jen Kirk Receives Prestigious Oberly Award

Jen Kirk, Government Information Librarian at Utah State University Libraries, received the Science and Technology Section Oberly Award for Bibliography in the Agricultural or Natural Sciences for her work on An Inventory of Published Soil Surveys of the United States. Kirk coauthored the title with Helen F. Smith of Pennsylvania State University.

“Soil surveys are useful for researchers across the disciplines, from scientists to land-use planners to historians, but there are many different ways they can be arranged in a library,” Kirk said. “The genesis of the project was to identify these historic collection materials and make them discoverable. It was an honor to have our work recognized by our peers and I hope that both the inventory and the surveys see increased use.”

The Oberly Award recognizes the best English-language bibliography in the field of agriculture or related science. It was established in 1923 and is awarded by the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) on odd-numbered years and comes with a cash prize, as well as a plaque.

An Inventory of Published Soil Surveys in the United States provides rich historical data that is now easily discoverable to researchers and general users. It also allows librarians across the nation to access coverage of these surveys for their regions and identify relevant materials.

“Jen Kirk’s work to enumerate and describe historic soil surveys demonstrates the impact that our documents collections can have for research across the disciplines, including the natural and applied sciences,” USU Libraries Special Collections and Archives head Jennifer Duncan said. “Jen has dedicated herself to outreach and providing easier access to previously undescribed collections such as the soil surveys. This award is richly deserved.”

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