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Rutgers Librarian Wins 2002 Coutts Nijhoff Award

The jury appointed to select the winner of the 2002 Coutts Nijhoff International Western European Study Grant convened at the 2002 American Libraries Association annual meeting in Atlanta to review applications for this year's award. The jury selected the entry submitted by James P. Niessen, World History Librarian at Rutgers University's Alexander Library, for his research proposal "German Acquisitions in Hungarian Research Libraries: Cooperative Collection Development in the Twentieth Century."

Niessen's project will employ a sampling technique to chart the history of German-language holdings in three Budapest libraries. By focusing on just four imprint years for German books--1900, 1930, 1960, and 1990--Niessen hopes to provide a quantitative basis for an examination of these library collections as a barometer of German cultural influence in Hungary. Comparative holdings and the libraries' archives and publications will support an investigation of cooperative collection development among the premier research libraries in Hungary's capital city.

With the support of the Coutts Nijhoff International Western European Study Grant, Niessen will carry out his research primarily in Berlin and Budapest. Among a number of strong applications, the jury especially lauded the thorough elucidation of Niessen's proposal, the applicant's attention to methodology, and the potential for the project to take library data as evidence for understanding the complex history of German cultural influence on Hungary - a question of historical interest both in Hungary and abroad.

This year's jury was composed of Jeffrey Garrett of Northwestern University (chair), Jeffry Larson of Yale University, Ineke Middeldorp-Crispijn of Coutts Nijhoff International, Beth Remak-Honnef, University of California--Santa Cruz, and Stephen Wilson, President of Coutts Library Services of North America. The Coutts Nijhoff International Western European Study Grant is the result of the generosity of Coutts Nijhoff International of Leiden, Netherlands, founded this spring when the former books division of Martinus Nijhoff International was acquired by Coutts Information Services Ltd from Swets Blackwell. For further information on the Coutts Nijhoff International Western European Study Grant, see the award description at ALA's website.

For a thorough bibliography of scholarly work that has been performed thanks to this award in the past, visit: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~wessweb/nijhoff.html.

Posted July 17, 2002