Local entrepreneur to speak on “The Power of Information”

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Bonnie C. Carroll

Bonnie C. Carroll

Bonnie C. Carroll, local entrepreneur, corporate and government leader and former coordinator of the Data Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, will speak to Friends of ORNL at 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 10, at the UT Resource Center, 1201 Oak Ridge Turnpike.

Her topic is “The Power of Information: An Early ORNL Spinoff Company and the Development of the New World of Open Science and Open Data.” Her lecture will also be available virtually.

Carroll is the retired interim executive director of the World Data System International Program Office, but is best known locally as the founder and retired chief executive officer of the Oak Ridge-based company, Information International Associates Inc. (IIa). This information management and technology company had almost 300 employees when she sold it in 2018 after 30 years of operation.

Attendees of the in-person lecture must wear a mask. Masks will be provided. Eating during the event is discouraged.

To view the virtual 11 a.m. lecture, click on the talk title on the homepage of the www.fornl.org website and click on the Zoom link near the top of the page describing the lecture.

Carroll has supported government, academia and industry in managing information as a strategic resource for almost five decades. Before founding IIa, she worked at ORNL from 1971 to 1978 where she took on progressively more responsible positions from librarian to information specialist to ORNL Data Center coordinator under the associate laboratory director for Environmental and Biomedical Sciences. After leaving ORNL she spent two years in the private sector and then became a federal employee at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) in Oak Ridge. She left OSTI in 1987 and founded IIa shortly thereafter.

In her talk, Carroll will describe her path of development as an entrepreneur who built a $73 million company based on her experience with ORNL and OSTI. She will note that the “backbone” of IIa was the development of scientific data and information management that took off after ORNL Director Alvin Weinberg wrote the “Science, Government and Information” report issued in 1963 by the President’s Science Advisory Committee and frequently called the Weinberg Report.

Carroll said she “will describe trends and events beginning with the 24 information centers at ORNL in the 1970s through the development of information technologies from the first automation of scientific information before personal computing, the internet and the web to a world of open science through open data.

“I will explain how IIa was influenced by and had an impact on developments in data policy and practice,” she said.

She will talk about her sale of IIa in 2018 and her continued work in contributing to the development of a national Research Data Framework for the National Institutes for Standards and Technology. Most recently, she was instrumental in bringing the World Data System International Program Office to Oak Ridge Innovation Institute, a joint venture between ORNL and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Today, she serves on the Board of Research Data and Information of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, has been the secretary general of the Committee on Data for Science and Technology, or CODATA (term ended November 2021) and is the chair of the U.S. National Committee for CODATA. She staffed two U.S. White House Interagency Working Groups in Biodiversity Informatics and Digital Data. She has extensive experience in organization planning and analysis.

For over three decades, Carroll was the executive director of CENDI (Commerce, Energy, NASA, Defense Information Managers Group), a federal interagency cooperation among 14 agency scientific and technical information managers. She has helped two major U.S. agencies restructure their information exchange programs.

She had a principal role in international development projects, including one to help develop a national information policy for the Kingdom of Jordan, a joint Jordanian Technical Information Center andWorld Bank project. She has done special studies for the International Atomic Energy Agency and led a pilot project to develop telematics services – long-distance transmission of computerized information — for the Eastern Caribbean people.

Carroll is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and has served on its council. She has written and presented extensively on information policy, information strategy and planning for scientific and technical information management.

She is a member of the editorial board for the journal “Information Services and Use” and of the Board of Visitors for UT’s College of Communication and Information. She earned an M.S. degree from Columbia University and a B.A. degree from Cornell University.

Carroll said her experience working across organizational lines and international boundaries in different subject areas helps her understand the needs of various stakeholders in the public and private sectors.

This article originally appeared on Oakridger: Local entrepreneur to speak May 10 on “The Power of Information”


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