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Library of Michigan's Legislative Biography Database Wins National Notable Documents Award

July 25, 2019

LANSING – A Library of Michigan (LM) database of state lawmakers is among the 2019 winners of the Notable Documents Award bestowed by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

“This national award recognizes excellence in documents that deliver substantive, relevant content in an outstanding format,” Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles said today in announcing the honor for the Michigan Legislative Biography Database. “We are very proud that our public information services are being recognized for their excellence.”

The database, and other winning documents, will be highlighted at the NCSL Legislative Summit, August 5-8, in Nashville, TN.

The Notable Documents Awards, presented annually by the Legislative Research Librarians at the NCSL Legislative Summit, are meant to:

  • formally recognize excellence in documents or publication that explore topics of interest to legislators and legislative staff and present substantive material in an outstanding format;
  • advertise the extensive range of information available to legislators and staff; and
  • increase participation by legislative research librarians in the state’s information network

Michigan’s Legislative Biography Database, freely available at, provides searchable biographical information on everyone who has served in the state legislature since 1835.

The database is the result of years of data gathering and project development, spearheaded by LM Reference Librarian and Electronic Resources Coordinator Janice Murphy, who foresaw the need for the now-celebrated database.

“Ms. Murphy has demonstrated a boundless degree of perseverance, as well as an uncanny ability, to recruit volunteers and fellow staff to assist her in this monumental task,” State Librarian Randy Riley said. “With more than 5,400 people on the roster, and elections happening every four years, it is an ongoing project to populate each of the 20-plus fields of information.”

Using a scorecard, Notable Documents Awards Committee members evaluate each document on several criteria, including relevance, organization, clarity, effective use of graphics, innovation, balance, and expansion of the base of knowledge on a particular subject.

Winners are selected from the highest-rated documents. Authors of the winning documents receive certificates during the NCSL Legislative Summit.

For purposes of this award, a document is defined as one produced by a federal, state, or local government or legislative agency, by a foundation, or quasi-public or private sector nonprofit organization. Formats may include print, web, CD-ROM, or periodical/serial.