Awards have been a part of the amateur radio community almost from the beginning. Their purpose is to acknowledge all sorts of achievement, such as when you have contacted Radio Amateurs in certain number of countries. Í.R.A. Icelandic Radio Amateurs has been issuing awards since 1984 and the number of Icelandic awards has increased in the past years.
Several books, with information about awards, are published in the world to day. I will just name one which is "THE K1BV DX AWARDS DIRECTORY" published by Ted Melinosky, K1BV, 12 Wells Woods Road, Columbia, CT 06237 U.S.A.