Neu-Whitrow Bibliography Prize Announcement 2013

The Commission on Bibliography and Documentation of the IUHPS/DHST has established a new prize to be awarded for the first time in 2013 for the best bibliography or manuscript finding aid in the history of science. The entries will be judged on their content, usability, and precision. They can be either print or a digital. The deadline for submission is April 15, 2017. Information about the prize can be found below.

Magda Whitrow
Magda Whitrow

The prize commemorates the centenary of the Isis Bibliography of History of Science, which was started in 1913 by George Sarton. After Sarton, two bibliographers, John Neu at the University of Wisconsin, and Magda Whitrow at Imperial College, London, carried on Sarton’s legacy. This prize recognizes the efforts of those two bibliographers for the work that they did to support history of science scholarship around the world.

The Neu-Whitrow Bibliography Prize will be awarded to a graduate student, postgraduate fellow, independent scholar, or early career professional (professor, librarian, bibliographer, archivist, or curator). The primary goal is to encourage the development of bibliographies and archival finding aids.

John Neu (Vol. 83, Current Bibliography 1992 (1992), pp. ii.)
John Neu (Vol. 83, Current Bibliography 1992 (1992), pp. ii.)

The prize is administered by the Commission on Bibliography and Documentation (CBD) of the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science (IUHPS)/Division of History of Science and Technology (DHST). The prize will be awarded every four years, during the International Congress of History of Science, Technology, and Medicine.


Anyone currently in a graduate program or anyone who has completed a graduate degree within the last ten years is eligible to participate in the contest.


A submission must be a complete bibliography or archival finding aid that will be of use to scholars doing research in the field of history of science or a related discipline (history of technology or history of medicine). It can be either a print or digital entity; database finding aids are eligible. It must contain a minimum of 300 described items.

Although the objects described may be in any language, the descriptive notes must include English descriptions. In other words, all individual records or citations must have English descriptive matter if they are not in English. Titles and other citation references need not be translated, but all descriptive matter must be provided in English or must contain English translations.

The entry must have been completed between January 1, 2009 and January 1, 2013.


  1. A completed entry form, which includes contact information, a short biographical statement, and an abstract of the submission.
  2. A descriptive essay of 3000 to 5000 words in English.
  3. The submission, a PDF of the bibliography or finding aid, or a link to the database where the bibliography or finding aid can be accessed.


The descriptive essay must explain the purpose and nature of the work. It must answer the question: What is its purpose? Why is it important? Who will benefit? Are there any other relevant bibliographical or finding aid resources available of a similar sort, and if so, how is this different?


Every four years, the CBD will form a panel of three judges who are experts in bibliography and documentation in the history of science. One of the three judges will be selected to chair the committee. The entry will be judged on three criteria: content, usability, and precision.

Content: There must be at least 300 items (i.e., 300 separately noted citations or records). Each item must have a suitable description. Content will be judged on its overall coherence and the adequacy of descriptions included in the entries.

Usability: The organization and/or indexes must make the entries easy to navigate and understand. Usability will be judged on how clearly the scope and limitations are presented, on how easy it is to locate specific items, and on how well items are cross-referenced.

Precision: The bibliography or finding aid must follow a standard bibliographic or citation format and that format must be explained in the accompanying descriptive essay. Precision will be judged on how well the editor has followed the chosen format. Because the Prize encourages innovation, it is possible to depart from standard formats where necessary, but such changes need to be justified in the descriptive essay. The essay will be judged on the consistency with which any specific format is carried out.


The winner receives a prize of $500 and a certificate. The winner will also be invited to be a member of the Advisory Board of the World History of Science Online (WHSO).