I've worked deeply with technology in two different domains - naval nuclear propulsion and systems in academic/research libraries. In recent years, I've focused my efforts on project and program management.
How it began I served for six years in the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, attending Nuclear Power School in Orlando, Florida. I was in class 8005 and passed the comprehensive examination on October 26, 1980. I went on to the Idaho National Laboratory and successfully qualified as an operator on the historic Mark I/S1W reactor. I then served for four years on the USS Enterprise, primarily as a reactor electrical operator - my sea duty, with two deployments, was in the 1982-1984 time period.
I gained an appreciation for the accomplishments of this program and later created an online educational resource, the Naval Reactors History Database that includes public domain materials such as technical reports and congressional hearings. From a cultural standpoint, learning and working in this intense engineering program taught me, in the words of the historian Francis Duncan, "the discipline of technology."
Finding a home in research libraries Upon the completion of my military service, I decided to broaden my horizons from the outstanding, but narrow technical education that I'd received in the program. I first earned a liberal arts degree from Texas A&M University and then a Master of Library and Information Science from Louisiana State University, completing my LSU degree in early August 1992 and starting at Texas A&M's Evan Library on September 1, 1992. I've worked continuously with technology in academic and research library settings since that day.
One of the most exciting projects that I worked on early in my library career was a result of serving on the team that opened Texas A&M's West Campus Library, a highly-automated library facility. I got to work my library consultant Marshall Breeding in planning the hardware/software services for the library. I summarized this work in a 1995 American Library Association conference poster session.
Rethinking library systems and workflows In 1997, I left the Texas A&M University Libraries to work at the National Library of Medicine, serving on a team that digitized NLM's document delivery and interlibrary workflows. This was the first time that I worked on a project that radically changed library workflows - a print-based workflow based on forms and photocopiers was transitioned to a digital-based workflow using customized scanners. I wrote about the Relais International tools used to support this migration in this 2000 journal article.
I left NLM for the Washington State University Libraries in 1999. At WSU, I had the chance to serve and to lead in several other significant projects, including the creation of the Northwest Digital Archives search, retrieval and presentation service (now Archives West), which enables researchers to search and analyze collection finding aids for institutions across the Pacific Northwest. My colleague Jodi Allison-Bunnell and I presented on the tools used to support this archival consortium at the National Archives at College Park facility in May 2006.
With other systems colleagues from Orbis Cascade Alliance institutions, I began to focus more attention in the 2007-2012 time period on integrated library system-related needs. At this time, there was a large number of roughly equivalent ILS options that lacked critical functionality - particularly the ability to manage print and electronic content and to support local functionality extension via APIs. The Innovative Interfaces Millennium and INNReach (consortium borrowing) systems used by most regional institutions seemed to be the epitome of the problem - in the few cases in which APIs were offered, the vendor required substantial payments for a customer to use them. Following a difficult business negotiation, the Alliance decided in 2007 to move its flagship returnables borrowing service from Innovative INNReach to an emerging product, OCLC WorldCat Navigator. At this time, I was as Head, Library Systems at Washington State University. In 2008, I worked on a small team that led the Alliance's migration to Navigator; I published an article summarizing this effort.
Given the importance of the Summit borrowing service and its high volume, this migration was certainly a reach - WorldCat Navigator wasn't even a commercial product for OCLC on the Alliance' go-live date. But it did move the Alliance forward in several ways. Most importantly, it eased the way for Alliance institutions to adopt the OCLC WorldCat Local discovery service developed in conjunction with the University of Washington Libraries. In 2009, I had the opportunity to lead a project team at WSU in its successful implementation of the WorldCat Local discovery service, which expanded discovery beyond holdings of the Innovative Millennium catalog and Summit service to include journal articles and physical items held by libraries around the world.
Modernizing library management services In 2013, I left Washington State University for the opportunity of joining the Orbis Cascade Alliance staff to lead the migration of three cohorts of institutions (31 institutions) from legacy management and discovery solutions to the Ex Libris Alma and Primo services. Like the Relais implementation at NLM, it was an ambitious project: Moving institutions to a cloud-based management service; moving to a shared consortium management system; implementing shared discovery services; and, working directly with the vendor on critical product development in the areas of resource sharing and the Alma Network Zone. The migrations were completed in January 2015; I provided leadership on two subsequent institution migrations to the Alliance's Alma/Primo: Whitworth University and Clackamas Community College. It was a tremendous experience to work in this Alliance effort, which required the commitment of institutional experts at the 39 member institutions, the consortium office, and on the vendor side, including Ex Libris' implementation, support, and development operations. The Alliance signed an extension in 2018 to continue using the Alma and Primo services for five additional years.
Returning to a research library Since mid-May 2018, I've worked as the Director of Library Technology Services (LTS) at the University of Oregon Libraries. It's been an adjustment to return to academia after five years on the Alliance staff, primarily focused on the work with a single vendor. I intend to periodically post in my blog space about the technologies that the Libraries are working with to improve services for UO users.
One exciting aspect of my work has been the collaboration in the Academic Technology area of the Libraries in joint project planning. That is, the three Academic Technology units (LTS, Center for Media and Educational Technologies, and Digital Scholarship Services) share their fiscal year project information with one another and, taking into account strategic needs and resource availability, create a portfolio project list. The Academic Technology Director participates in the work and, at the end of the process, has a list of projects for the fiscal year.
Reach out to me!
At the NCAA Track and Field Championships / Eugene, Oregon (2017)