2015 Information Manager of the Year

The 2015 winner is Lara Whitelaw, University Metadata Development Manager, The Open University

UKeiG has great pleasure in announcing the winner of the 2015 Information Manager of the Year, which celebrates the person who in the opinions of the judges has made the greatest contribution to information management or is the year's best exemplar of an information manager - in short, the person who has made a significant contribution to the discipline through his or her work and professionalism. For 2015, the judges chose Lara Whitelaw as someone who has had an impact on the external visibility of her university and raised the profile of Information Management across the organisation. At the same time she has succeeded in offering practical solutions to everyday work problems.

Based in Library Services at The Open University, Lara’s remit covers the whole university. Her mission is to contribute to the cohesion and interoperability of University systems and to lead on the strategic development of metadata throughout the University. The nomination noted that "Lara’s specialist skills and knowledge are highly valued in many areas of the University and she has had particular impact this year in raising the profile of metadata and persuading others of its importance. A significant example of this is her role as chair of the Web Standards Metadata Group, which published a university wide metadata standard for all public, internal and student facing web sites. This is a major milestone and it is hoped will lay foundations for a metadata mandate or policy across the University." 

Lara's important advisory role in a number of internal groups was also mentioned, particularly in the Semantic Media Group for whom she has advised on the use of the Learning Resources Metadata Initiative (LRMI) for assets within OpenLearn, the university’s free learning website. 

Lara’s other recent organisation-wide achievements include the development of taxonomies for the new Student Services Intranet site and the Scholarship Exchange, and an A-Z for the new Curriculum Management Guide developed by the Learning and Teaching Solutions unit. The latter is expected to aide all the academics and specialists involved in producing OU courses. Lara also provided the metadata expertise to the Jisc-funded Stellar project in 2012 and has continued this work in describing learning and teaching material for digital archiving and preservation purposes.

Finally, and importantly, the nomination emphasised that Lara has always been instrumental in improving the practice of others by cascading her skills and knowledge.