Entrepreneur and renowned researcher and statistician, Donald W. King, has been appointed Distinguished Research Professor by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Information and Library Science (SILS).
King was co-founder of Westat, Inc., which is recognized as one of the premier survey research companies in the U.S. He served as executive vice president and president of the Survey Research and the Home Testing Institute Divisions of Westat from 1961 until 1974. In 1976 he founded King Research, Inc., a firm that focused on research in information and communication services.
The results of King's research are extensive and includes innovative approaches to evaluation that have led to: a worldwide study and development of cancer information systems; surveys for ABC Nightly News and a Barbara Walters special for NBC; a series of studies on consumer safety; a series of a dozen studies for the National Science Foundation, from 1968 to 1992, some of which were under the umbrella of "Statistical Indicators of Scientific of Technical Communication;" studies of the impact of the 1976 revision to copyright law, which led to the Copyright Clearance Center and a study of the cost benefit for copyright formalities. He and colleagues have also recently completed a large number of economic analyses and readership surveys of scientific, technical and medical communication involving scholarly journals.
"Don is a powerful national voice that we are honored to have represent the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and especially the School of Information and Library Science," said Dr. Gary Marchionini, Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor and chair of the SILS Personnel Committee that unanimously selected King for this appointment. "He has already made important contributions to SILS and the university through his service on national advisory panels and he continues to work on important research for the information and library science profession."
King is currently co-principal investigator on four government funded studies:
- "The Future of Librarians in the Workforce" (UNC at Chapel Hill)
- "Taxpayer Return on Investment in Public Libraries" (UNC at Chapel Hill)
- "The Use and Potential Use of Online Information" (University of Pittsburgh)
- "Maximizing Library Investments in Digital Collections Through Better Data Gathering and Analysis (MaxData)" (The University of Tennessee)
Since retiring in the mid-1990s, all of King’s research contributions have been pro-bono.
King has reported his research in 11 co-authored books (three award-winning) and edited five others; approximately 80 articles, reviews and book chapters; and nearly 300 other formal publications. He is frequently invited to speak about his research around the world.
King has served on numerous policy boards and committees such as two National Academy of Sciences committees; the Commerce Technical Advisory Board; the National Business Council on Consumer Affairs formed by executive order; and the Board of Directors for the Copyright Clearance Center; Engineering Information, Inc.; and others. He has also served elective positions in professional societies such as the American Society for Information Science and Technology, and the American Statistical Association (Board of Governors), the Council of Survey Research Organizations, the Washington Statistical Society and the Washington Operations Research Council.
In addition to Distinguished Research Professor, King has received many honors and awards including Pioneer of Science Information, Chemical Heritage Foundation; Fellow, American Statistical Association; Award of Merit and Research Award, American Society for Information Science and Technology; and Honorary Fellow and Miles Conrad Award and Lecturer, National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services.