Libraries have taken a lead in tackling the challenges presented by this digital era, innovating and partnering in large and small ways to thoughtfully curate, care for, and share civilization’s burgeoning digitized heritage. In an effort to provide perspective on some of the opportunities and difficulties that work involves, the Center for the Humanities and Washington University Libraries are bringing several university librarians together at 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, for a panel discussion in the Women’s Building (Formal Lounge) on the Danforth Campus.
Titled "Digitization, Dissemination, and Preservation in a Digital Age," the event will feature comments from Robert Darnton, university librarian at Harvard University, and John Wilkin, university librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, along with Washington University’s own university librarian, Jeffrey Trzeciak. Associate University Librarian Chris Freeland, who will moderate the panel, notes that such conversations are perhaps more important than ever in order to safeguard emerging methods and materials for scholarly and creative inquiry.
"All of these digital resources need preservation and management to ensure they are available to users in perpetuity," Freeland says. "I hope people who attend the panel come away with an understanding of the care and consideration that libraries have put into these efforts in support of making collections available to as wide an audience as possible."
University libraries continue to operate at the epicenter of a shifting landscape, responding to changing modes of publishing, new technologies, and evolving academic disciplines. In addition, recent legislative changes—such as the recently instituted federal requirement that the results of federally funded research be made publicly available and include enhanced data-management planning—heavily impact academic institutions, bringing particular challenges as well as opportunities to the libraries upon which students and faculty depend. The panel will touch on a number of related topics and include time for questions from attendees.Faculty Books Celebration beginning at 5 p.m. the same day, taught at Princeton University from 1968 until 2007, when he became the Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the University Library at Harvard. In February of 2012 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal, and his books include The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (1984) and The Case for Books (2009), among many others. He is an expert in the history of the book.
Wilkin assumed the position of university librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2013. Previously he served as executive director of the HathiTrust and as an associate university librarian at the University of Michigan, where he held a number of positions of increasing responsibility. He has been involved in the digitization of collections since the mid-1990s and spent two years at the University of Virginia as a systems librarian for information services.
Trzeciak joined the Washington University Libraries in July of 2012 and has expanded Olin Library operating hours, developed a formal partnerships with The Writing Center, brought the Office of Geographic Information Systems under the Libraries' auspices, and acquired more than $3.5 million in academic resources. He previously served as the university librarian at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and brings more than 20 years of experience working in academic libraries.
Freeland joined WU Libraries as an associate university librarian earlier this year. He is the founding director of the Center for Biodiversity Informatics at the Missouri Botanical Garden and the founding technical director of the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Freeland holds a master’s degree in the biological sciences and has worked as a technologist in several scientific organizations and libraries.