Innovation Award

​SLA Transportation Division (DTRN)’s Innovation Award (revised October, 2012)

Innovation can be the act of introducing something new or developing a solutions to an existing problem or situation. It can be a new concept for our community or adopted from another area.


The Innovation Award will recognize a project, technique, tool, or practical solution that has improved or has the potential to improve access, dissemination, or retrieval of transportation information. The project, technique, tool, or practical solution will have been developed and implemented during the previous two years. Particular consideration will be given to those that have broad applicability, where results are likely to be replicable in other settings. While technology may be involved, that is not a requirement.


The Award will be announced in the fall via TranLib and on the Division’s website, along with the solicitation by the
Awards Committee for nominations for the Division’s Professional Achievement Award.

Application Process

The process of applying for the award has been revised to be as simple as possible to encourage participation. Submission
requirements include:
  • A one-page description of the project, technique, tool, or practical solution. Links to websites may be included, and supporting material may be attached. The Awards Committee may request additional information. 
  • The Awards Committee will consider one submission per year per individual. The individual must be a member of DTRN; if a group is submitting, at least one must be a member of DTRN.
Award Winners
  • Award winner(s) will be recognized at DTRN’s annual business meeting with the presentation of a certificate(s).
  • A slot on the GTRIC agenda will be provided for the winner to present the project, technique, tool, or practical solution, with the scope to be coordinated with the GTRIC planner.
  • Award winners plus material from the presentation will be made available on DTRN’s website, in addition to being announced via TranLib.
Innovation Award History and Past Practice
During the Board meeting at the July 2012 SLA Annual Conference, the Division’s Innovation Award was discussed.  Originally designed and implemented in 2010/2011, the Innovation Award included a cash prize for winners. During the  past two years of the Innovation Award, the Board became aware that that the Division has been running a deficit in recent years, due to multiple factors including declining membership and conference-related expenses, and determined that costs need to be controlled in a sustainable way. At the Board meeting, a committee was appointed to review the existing Innovation Award and make recommendations for how to proceed into the future. The committee was chaired by Rita
Evans, and included Jada Maxwell, Karen Perrin, Amanda Wilson, and John Cherney.

Since DTRN faces significant financial challenges, the Committee discussed via email the issue of a cash prize being part of the Innovation Award. They investigated similar awards within SLA and found only one other instance of such a prize, the association-level Innovation Award, which was provided with vendor support and was discontinued in 2009 when the
vendor withdrew. The committee concurred that the division can no longer afford to award a cash prize and recommended that it be discontinued.

Evaluation Criteria
  • The committee will verify that all applicants are Division members in good standing before evaluating the submissions.
  • All submissions will be judged against each other, based on the following desired qualities presented in the paper:
    • Innovation value
    • Benefits to the community
    • Practicality
    • Uniqueness
    • Readability
  • The Committee shall not contact authors, except to clarify problems regarding the delivery of submitted papers.
  • The Committee will attempt to verify the accuracy and veracity of winning paper before making award. Committee must be reasonably certain that the winning paper is indeed original, accurate, etc.
  • A winning paper may be selected from among all submissions.
  • The Committee may also recognize papers that deserve additional recognition, such as formal publication.
  • Non-winning paper(s) may be resubmitted in following year(s).
  • Previous winners are eligible to resubmit new papers.
  • Neither the SLA Transportation Division nor the Awards Committee is responsible for the winning paper content.  Nor do papers represent the views of the Division or SLA.
Selected Paper(s)
  • The winning paper shall be presented at the GTRIC Roundtable during the SLA Annual Conference.
  • The winning paper will be published on the Division’s website following the Annual Conference. Author(s) will need to provide written consent to allow the Division to publish the paper.
  • The Committee may choose to select for publication submitted paper(s) deemed to have a high information value and worthy of sharing with the membership. The abstracts of these papers may be published on the Division’s website after the Annual Conference. These papers may be fully published on the Division’s website later. Author(s) will need to provide written consent to allow the Division to publish these papers with the understanding that the paper cannot be resubmitted.
  • Non-selected papers will be disposed of after the award presentation.

Past Award Winners
2015, Kenn Bicknell, Interactive Timelines to Support Transportation Information & Education
2014, Sheila Hatchell, MnDOT Library Valuation/Return on Investment (ROI) Study Findings Paper
2013, Kenn Bicknell & Matt Barrett, Los Angeles Transportation Headlines Project
2011, Roberto Sarmiento & Jennifer Boteler, Transportation Libraries Collection Development Policy Template
2010, Roberto Sarmiento, Gifts Management for Transportation Libraries: Observations and Recommendations