Biographical / Historical
Established in 1989 as a partnership between
and the Smithsonian Institution, the Computer World Smithsonian Awards (CWSA) Program brought together the Chairmen or Chief Executive Officers of the world's foremost information technology companies with the world's leading universities, libraries and research institutions to document a revolution in progress: the global information technology revolution.
The awards program was dedicated to identifying the men and women, organizations and institutions, that were leading this revolution and to recording the impact of their achievements on society. The first awards were presented in 1991 during a ceremony at NMAH. According to that year's press release, the CWSA awards were created to "recognize heroes of technological innovation, to demystify public perceptions of technology and to clearly identify the benefits technology brings to the lives of the general public."
Over the course of each year, members of the Chairmen's Committee would identify those organizations whose use of information technology had been especially noteworthy for the originality of its conception, the breadth of its vision, and the significance of its benefit to society. Those organizations were asked to contribute a case study regarding their project to the CWSA collection, which was to be housed at the Smithsonian's NMAH. Nominated projects were sorted into ten categories and winners were selected by a panel of distinguished representatives in each specialty. The first year's categories were: business and related services; education and academia; environment, education and agriculture; finance, insurance and real estate; government and non-profit organizations; manufacturing; media, arts and entertainment; medicine and health care; and transportation. The categories changed slightly over the years as the process was refined.
In 2001, the Smithsonian decided to sever its affiliation with the CWSA program. The program continued under the sole auspices of Computerworld magazine, without any Smithsonian connection. New case studies now "become part of the broader, worldwide collection, archived on the world wide web and also presented, in a variety of formats, to archives, museums, universities and libraries in each of the more than 40 countries on six continents represented by the award winners," according to their website (http://www.cwheroes.org/home.asp