The last time I sat down with Deanna Marcum at ALA in 2008, she was the very active and highly visible Associate Librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress. Running the day-to-day activities of perhaps the greatest and most complex library in the world, with its 53 Divisions and over 2,400 employees, is a massive undertaking. Being responsible for Acquisitions, Cataloging, Public Service and a number of other units is a managerial challenge second to none in the library world. At the end of December 2011, and after nearly ten years at the Library of Congress, Deanna decided to trade in the excitement and political intrigue and to close that chapter of her exciting career.
Most individuals would be looking forward to returning home to a quieter life, working in their garden, traveling around the world, or just taking time to recharge their batteries, but not Deanna. Deanna left the Library of Congress on a much stronger footing and far better organized than she found it, and has taken on a new responsibility as the managing director of Ithaka S+R, a strategic consulting and research service that focuses on the transformation of scholarship and teaching in an online environment. Ithaka S+R is one of the services from ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization.
Looking at Deanna's long career in public service, I was not surprised to see her moving to the opportunity at ITHAKA. She has always had a strong work ethic that stems from her growing up as a farm girl on a large family farm in Illinois. Armed with a first-rate education from the University of Illinois and advanced degree from the University of Maryland, she has dedicated her career to education, scholarship and teaching.
“Deanna is often on the front line moving, leading, or organizing people to tackle the most critical issues in our profession.”
Deanna is often on the front line moving, leading, or organizing people to tackle the most critical issues in our profession. Whether it is preservation, bibliographic control, scholarly communications or scholarly publishing, one can always find Deanna in the middle of the discussion. Just follow her career path from her work at the Association of Research Libraries, her creative leadership as president of the Council on Library and Information Resources, her deanship at the Catholic University of America School of Library and Information Science and her latest project, the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control at the Library of Congress. Deanna is indeed one of the most influential librarians of the 21st century. She continues to be an active leader in many of the transformational issues facing our profession.
Perhaps one of the most important efforts Deanna will continue to influence is helping to define the Bibliographic Framework Initiative at the Library of Congress. The library community is seeking the development of a new means for capturing and sharing bibliographic data. The replacement of the MARC format is one of those transformational activities that will influence hundreds of companies which provide products and services for libraries as well as thousands of libraries that manage their collections with shared bibliographic data.
While many people may not have heard of ITHAKA, certainly everyone knows of ITHAKA's services, such as JSTOR and Portico. ITHAKA was founded in 2003 with funding from Andrew W Mellon and a few other foundations, and merged with JSTOR in 2009. ITHAKA is a not-for-profit organization with over 230 professionals that is dedicated to helping the academic community take full advantage of rapidly advancing information and network technologies. Its services include Ithaka S+R, a strategic consulting and research service, as well as JSTOR (a trusted digital archive and hosting service for over 1,000 academic journals) and Portico (an electronic preservation service for electronic journals, e-books, and digitized historical collections).
“… a proud moment was receiving the 2011 Melvil Dewey Medal, one of the highest awards given in the library profession.”
Deanna is no stranger to ITHAKA, having served on the Board of Trustees since 2005. When she decided to retire from the Library of Congress, Kevin Guthrie, president of ITHAKA, saw a golden opportunity to add to his management team an individual with an extraordinary background and major accomplishments. Deanna joins the senior management team which includes Laura Brown, the former president of Oxford University Press, who now has responsibility for JSTOR.
In her role as managing director of Ithaka S+R, Deanna will continue to focus on those critical issues that are facing our profession. She will be able to mold the research agenda and continue to look at the sustainability of digital resources, the role of the library, practices and attitudes in scholarly communications, teaching and learning with technology, and scholarly publishing. As the technology changes and transforms the education, library and publishing communities, she will be able to steer the research agenda to meet the needs of the leaders in the academic community.
The role of the library at the university in the digital age is of particular interest to Deanna as is providing data to researchers who are looking into the sustainability of digital resources. How to share the data that has already been collected is one of the agenda items on a growing list of activities under review.
In the past, Ithaka S+R has produced a number of key reports such as Faculty Survey 2009: Strategic Insights for Libraries, Publishers, and Societies or University Publishing in a Digital Age. Under Deanna's leadership we can look forward to a continued supply of important research results.
When I asked Deanna what have been her proudest moments in her career, she told me that her work with the Bibliographic Framework Initiative and her work with the Working Group of the Future of Bibliographic Control were particularly rewarding. Also a proud moment was receiving the 2011 Melvil Dewey Medal, one of the highest awards given in the library profession.
Deanna Marcum has already had a lifetime of amazing achievements; let's hope that she will find her work at Ithaka S+R rewarding and continue to provide her particular style of leadership and wisdom for years to come.