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This article presents an overview of the career of F. W. Lancaster. It starts with a review of the recognitions he has received for his teaching accomplishments, both in the United States and in many foreign countries. It then turns to his books, for which he has received awards from the American Library Association (ALA) and the American Society for Information Science and Technology, and his other writings, among them the 1969 report on the evaluation of MEDLARS, which received an American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS) award as the best paper of the year. Next, Lancaster's contributions in research are discussed, starting with his work on the evaluation of information systems. Then, Lancaster's work as consultant to governments, commercial companies, nonprofit agencies, and libraries throughout the world is briefly reviewed. Finally, this article highlights Lancaster's contributions to the profession, with emphasis on his leadership as editor of Library Trends. The article then concludes by viewing Lancaster's contributions in the context of historic cooperation between the United States and the United Kingdom.
F. Wilfrid Lancaster has had a spectacular, illustrious career as teacher, researcher, author, consultant in library and information science, contributor to the profession as an organizer of conferences, and the editor of Library Trends. His contributions have been well recognized and he is lauded by all who know him.
As simply one of the awards Lancaster has received, he was the very first recipient of the ASIS Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award. In the January 5, 1981, issue of Current Contents, Eugene Garfield quoted the award certificate presented to Lancaster, "He has written a series of outstanding texts which serve as the basis for courses in information retrieval, vocabulary control, measurement and evaluation of information services.... He has inspired many students to share his commitment to research and evaluation. His impact as an information science teacher reaches far beyond the University of Illinois" (Garfield, 1981).
Garfield went on to say, "Lancaster has extensive international teaching experience. He has given courses, often under the auspices of UNESCO, in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Norway, and Poland. He has delivered guest lectures in a number of other countries also. In all cases, Lancaster has made a lasting impression upon his students and earned for himself a reputation as an excellent instructor."
Indeed, in the years since that award, Wilf Lancaster has continued to be a superb teacher, an outstanding researcher, and a rich contributor to the literature of library and information science. His international teaching assignments included appointments as visiting professor at universities or as responsible lecturer for workshops in Argentina, Brazil, China, Denmark, Germany, India, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Tunisia, and the West Indies. While UNESCO has continued to be a major sponsor for those workshops, the governments for the countries involved have also been so.
Clearly, Wilf Lancaster is a superb teacher and that in itself would be sufficient to place him in the pantheon of library and information science. But there is more!
In his commentary in 1981, Garfield also said, "Over the years, Lancaster has authored more than 75 articles, book …