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Oct. 11, 2019

MSU librarian named visiting program officer

MSU data librarian Scout Calvert was appointed as a visiting program officer by the Association of Research Libraries, or ARL. 

In this role, she will work with a team from ARL, the Coalition for Networked Information and EDUCAUSE in a strategic partnership to better understand how research libraries — as collaborative partners in the research and learning enterprise — can best advance research and learning during these times of significant changes in the production, dissemination and reuse of digital content. 

According to ARL leaders, the three partners are focused on understanding how such technologies and emerging disciplines as data science, artificial intelligence, mobility and ubiquitous networking, cloud and ambient computing, augmented/virtual reality and the internet of things are – and are not – fundamentally transforming the way research and learning occur. 

More specifically, the partners will focus on understanding the role research libraries are playing and could play in this dynamic context. 

Calvert’s term began Oct. 1 and will continue through March 2021. 

She will manage project work and communications, co-facilitate roundtables and report findings, conduct primary and secondary research, develop exemplars from across the partners’ shared institutions and participate in writing the project’s final recommendations.

“This opportunity will give me a chance to apply my research experience in the sociology of science and technology to matters of deep and abiding concern to me – adoption and improvisation of information technologies in libraries,” Calvert said. “I’ll use my research background to help people (at libraries like MSU’s) think about how to shape technologies that are still in the making for our purposes of supporting research and learning.”

ARL executive director Mary Lee Kennedy said Scout’s perspective on the sociology of technology is a critical lens for the field. “She has an impressive breadth of experience and research that spans the sciences and social sciences,” Kennedy said. “That experience reflects her exploration of and innovation with digital tools for learning and research. The partners in this project are thrilled that she is joining the team.” 

Calvert’s recent projects have traced the social aspects of data-centric knowledge production in lay communities of genetic genealogists, livestock breeders and citizen scientists. 

Michigan State University Libraries is a member of the ARL. The ARL Visiting Program Officer program provides opportunities for outstanding staff members at ARL member libraries and archives to contribute to special projects and programs, either in whole or in part, in order to advance the agenda of the Association.