Digital library innovator named World Class New Zealander

12 February 2010

Ian Witten

WORLD CLASS: Waikato University's Professor Ian Witten has been named a World Class New Zealander for his work with digital libraries.

The man responsible for making New Zealand an international leader in the provision of digital library software has won the 2010 World Class New Zealand Research, Science, Technology and Academia Award, sponsored by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

Professor Ian Witten, who heads the NZ Digital Library Research Group in the Department of Computer Science, joins an elite group of just 120 New Zealanders deemed to be key influencers and leaders in their field of expertise. The group’s open source Greenstone digital library software is currently used in more than 60 countries and by UNESCO for tasks ranging from collating information on disaster relief operations to development work.

Professor Witten said the award represented a significant acknowledgement of the global reach of the Digital Library Research Group. “It’s great to get recognition for the work we’re doing here at Waikato, and indicates confidence in great Kiwi ideas that can make a difference worldwide.”

The 2010 World Class New Zealand Manufacturing Award went to Bill Gallagher, Chair and Chief Executive of Gallagher Group and recipient of a University of Waikato Honorary Doctorate.

The World Class New Zealand awards are an initiative of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Kea New Zealand. They have been awarded annually since 2003 to individuals who make a significant contribution to New Zealand’s success in the world. Eight awards have been made this year; the supreme award winner will be announced in March.