It's definitely "awards" season. Maybe it's actually continuous, but lately it seems like I've been bombarded with all kinds of awards: music and entertainment, media, airline industry, government, Web search engine, editors' choice and magazine, "best of show" at conferences, Oscars, Emmys, Pulitzers, and more. It's no wonder that nearly every press release these days boasts of an "award-winning" product, feature, or service. It seems there's enough awards to go around!
But seriously, there's a certain merit to the recognition and prestige of an award when given by a professional association or another group of one's peers. The most recent announcement to catch my eye was from the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries with more than 800 member companies. Each year, these companies vote in the Codie Awards, a peer-recognition program to bestow honors for outstanding product achievement. This year, the 17th for the awards, 325 companies nominated more than 700 products.
According to the announcement, first-round judging was completed by a broad panel of judges consisting of representatives from the industry trade press, mainstream technology writers, and industry experts. Second-round judging was based on votes from SIIA members. Member companies are provided one vote per company in each Codie Award category.
Of the 41 Codie Awards that were presented at the recent ceremony held during the SIIA 2002 Annual Conference, the ones for content categories were of most interest to me. When I looked back at the 2001 categories and winners to compare, I realized that many of the categories for content were new in 2002. Last year's categories focused on Web sites, such as Best Online Financial News Web Site (http://www.bloomberg.com) and Best Online News Service Web Site (http://www.zdnet.com). This year's awards brought an emphasis on professional information services.
A spokesperson at SIIA explained that there are category changes each year to follow industry trends, but they try to keep the overall number of awards at about 40. SIIA senior staff members review the categories before the nominations to assure that the awards stay relevant. This year they did put a larger emphasis on content. According to the spokesperson, "We worked hard to develop categories that reflected what was going on in each of the divisions that SIIA focuses on (e-business, education, content) as well as industrywide categories."
So without further ado, let's announce just the Codie winners of special interest to our readers, who are mostly either users or producers of professional information services.
- Best Digital Rights Management Product or Service-DigitalOwl's KineticEdge
- Best Online Business, Corporate, or Professional Information Service-Factiva's Factiva.com
- Best Online Content Solution-Vignette Corp.'s Vignette V6
- Best Online Financial Information or News Service-Intuit, Inc.'s Quicken.com
- Best Online Government or Legal Information Service-LexisNexis' lexis.com
- Best Online Information Portal, Community, or Service-Riverdeep Interactive Learning's Riverdeep.net
- Best Online Professional Reference Product or Service-LexisNexis' LexisONE
- Best Online Science, Technology, or Medical Service-Cambridge Scientific Abstracts' Internet Database Service
The winning services were all very familiar names to me-unlike some from 2001-except for Riverdeep.net, which is a K-12 educational portal that I hadn't seen before. Factiva must have been pleased to capture the Best Online Business, Corporate, or Professional Information Service. In a press release, Clare Hart, Factiva's president and CEO, said, "Winning the Codie Awards supports our 2002 positioning for coupling real expertise in knowledge management and content integration with award-winning products and services."
In case you're wondering, the other finalists in this very significant category were Alacra's alacra.com, OneSource Information Services' Business Browser, TradeStation's TradeStation 6, and LexisNexis' www.corporateaffiliations.com. The only one I didn't know about was TradeStation 6, which is a direct-access trading platform that does some cool stuff, like historical testing of ideas, English-language queries, and automated monitoring and execution. (It's not something I'm up to using, however.)
Notice that a product from LexisNexis was a contender here, and two others were winners in important content categories. In the Best Online Government or Legal Information Service category, lexis.com beat out longtime rival Westlaw, from West Group. (Remember, these weren't users of the services who were voting, so results could vary.) In addition, LexisNexis was awarded the high honor of the Corporate Achievement Award, which it won over companies like Sun Microsystems, Borland Software, Travelocity.com, and Global Securities Information. According to a press release, LexisNexis won for its "pioneering development of the first online legal research service, launched in 1973." In announcing the awards, SIIA president Ken Wasch said, "With these wins, LexisNexis again demonstrates its dominance in the online information industry." Bet the Reed Elsevier parents were mighty proud.
Noticeably absent from the list of finalists were products from information providers like Dialog, Reuters, Gale Group, and ProQuest (which are SIIA members); and Northern Light (now divine), EBSCO, and Hoover's (which are not on the current list of members at http://www.siia.net/glance/members.asp). Maybe next year.
A list of all the finalists and winners of the Codie Awards is available at http://www.siia.net/codies2002/finalists.html. Congratulations to all the winners.
Oh, in case you missed the news, the 10th Annual ESPY Awards (given by ESPN for excellence in sports performance), originally scheduled for February 4, will now take place July 10 and will be televised by ESPN. And I'm sure there will be many other awards announcements between now and then.