Meet Joe Easterly

Joe Easterly

Joe Easterly, Milne’s Electronic Resources and Digital Scholarship Librarian

With Library service expanding deeper into the realm of digital scholarship – the new Digital Media Lab, open-source publishing, Digital Thoreau, etc. — could a matching librarian be far behind? Of course not, and he has arrived in the person of Joe Easterly, who became Milne’s first Electronic Resources and Digital Scholarship Librarian on October 24.

Joe is here to act as the primary human resource for faculty and students working on (or hoping to begin) scholarly projects with a digital focus. It’s what he’s been doing, more or less, at the University of Buffalo for the last four years where he was a media specialist and coordinator of the Media Resource Center, serving as the Visual Resources librarian to the university’s visual arts faculty. The skills he’s acquired through his coursework (he earned his master’s degree in library science in 2007, with an emphasis in digital media information systems and retrieval) and professional experience will serve him – or, more accurately, the Geneseo campus community – very well.

Among the projects Joe has been involved in is UBdigit, the University of Buffalo’s digital library collection. He managed and directed the Visual Resources Collection portion of that resource, from scanning the images to creating the metadata, working closely with faculty and supervising a team of student assistants. Joe is used to collaborating with faculty, having conducted workshops, developed image digitization standards, facilitated licensing and consignment of digital images, and helped write grants. He also has experience digitizing images for exhibitions and scholarly publication, and he’s done digital preservation consulting for UB Galleries and museum curators in the Buffalo-Niagara region. He was a charter member of UB’s Digital Humanities Initiative. Safe to say, Joe knows his way around the digital scholarship landscape and is prepared to lead others through it.

One of the first projects Joe has joined here at Geneseo is the Digital Thoreau Project, headed by English professor Paul Schacht and other faculty from the English department and Milne Library. Digital Thoreau aims to bring the works of Henry David Thoreau – beginning with a TEI-encoded scholarly edition of Walden – to scholars, students and general readers around the world.

Joe’s ease and expertise with digital technology and his commitment to librarianship are built on a solid humanities foundation. He received a BA in linguistics, has studied French extensively and is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in social anthropology. He is also a classically trained pianist. Lately, he says, he’s “really into” wine and photography, and when the weather’s fine he likes to go sailing.

The folks at Milne are very glad that Joe decided to join the faculty, and the feeling is mutual, he says. “I was really impressed by how committed and talented the library faculty and staff are … it was a big motivation for me to join.” Aesthetics played a (small) part, too, in his decision to come to Geneseo. “I was expecting the dreary early-70s late modernist architecture you sometimes see at [SUNY] campuses,” he says. “I had no idea how beautiful the town is, or the campus, until I came to visit.” Joe is not the only one who is optimistic about his future here at Geneseo, and about the future of digital scholarship.

Google eBooks: How will this impact libraries?

Google Books Discussion led by Interim Library Director, Cyril Oberlander

Google Books Discussion led by Interim Library Director, Cyril Oberlander

In early December, Google launched Google eBooks, a service for buying and reading digital books directly in the browser.

Google has announced plans to scan all known existing books (130 million of them) by the end of the decade and his is going to impact libraries and the services they provide, so several of Milne’s librarians took time out to share lunch and catch up on the latest developments in a presentation by Milne’s Interim Director, Cyril Oberlander.

Have you tried out their new service? Are eBooks the way you want to read and do research?

Some libraries reject Google’s offer to digitize book collections

On October 22, The New York Times ran a front page article about several large research libraries’ rejection of Google’s offer to scan and digitize large portions of their collections. The Boston Public Library, University of Connecticut and the University of Massachusetts are among several of New England’s largest libraries to refuse the offer.

Instead, many of these libraries are working with an organization called Open Content Alliance to make “…the material available to any search service…”, and not just limited to Google, who forbids libraries to make their collections available to other commercial search services when Google scans the materials.

Is this a mistake? Does it matter who is providing the service as long as patrons (aka students, faculty, staff) get the material they need? Or, as the refusing libraries counter, does this provide an alternative to Google and ensure that material is openly available and access is unhindered by corporate restrictions set by one search service?

Give us your thoughts and post a comment.