R. David Lankes is a professor and Dean’s Scholar for the New Librarianship at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and director of the Information Institute of Syracuse. His book, The Atlas of New Librarianship won the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature. Lankes is a passionate advocate for librarians and their essential role in today’s society.
R. David Lankes is a professor and Dean’s Scholar for the New Librarianship at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and director of the Information Institute of Syracuse. Lankes has always been interested in combining theory and practice to create active research projects that make a difference. Past projects include the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology, the Gateway to Education Materials, AskERIC and the Virtual Reference Desk. Lankes’ more recent work involves how participatory concepts can reshape libraries and credibility.
Lankes is a passionate advocate for libraries and their essential role in today’s society. He also seeks to understand how information approaches and technologies can be used to transform industries. In this capacity he has served on advisory boards and study teams in the fields of libraries, telecommunications, education, and transportation including at the National Academies. He has been a visiting fellow at the National Library of Canada, the Harvard School of Education, and the first fellow of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy. His book,The Atlas of New Librarianship won the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature.
R. David Lankes, PhD, is a Professor and Dean’s Scholar for the New Librarianship at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and the Director of the Information Institute of Syracuse (IIS). Lankes received his BFA (Multimedia Design), MS in Telecommunications, and Ph.D. from Syracuse University.Lankes co-created the AskERIC project with Michael Eisenberg and Nancy Preston. This work began a long collaboration with Eisenberg, the ERIC system, and the U.S. Department of Education. In his work as Researcher (1992-1994), Head of AskERIC R&D (1994-1995), Associate Director (1996-1998) and later Director (1998-2003) of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology Lankes explored the growth of the Internet. Within his ERIC work Lankes would create one of the first 100 web sites, the first web presence for CNN, the Discovery Channel, and the U.S. Department of Education.
As the work of the ERIC Clearinghouse expanded beyond Department of Education, Eisenberg and Lankes founded the Information Institute of Syracuse (IIS) in 1996 to house ERIC projects (including the Virtual Reference Desk and the Gateway to Educational Materials), as well as projects for AT&T, MCI/WorldCom, and Sun Microsystems. The IIS, under Lankes’ leadership would go on to house several high profile research efforts for the National Science Foundation, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, and the MacArthur Foundation.
In 1998, while Director of the IIS, Lankes joined the faculty of Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies as an assistant professor. In his dual role as professor and director, Lankes spearheaded the development of the virtual reference movement through his Virtual Reference Desk (VRD) project. VRD helped coalesce the virtual reference movement through research (such as the Digital Reference Research Agenda), projects (AskERIC and the Virtual Reference Desk Consortium answered thousands of education questions), and events (seven international conferences, a research symposium and several White House sponsored briefings). These activities lead to a visiting scholar position at Harvard’s School of Education, a visiting fellow position at the National Library of Canada, and being named as the first fellow at the American Library Association’s Office of Information Technology Policy.
More recently Lankes has helped transform the IIS from a production-oriented organization to a library think tank. Recent Institute activities with organizations such as the American Library Association, the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the MacArthur Foundation have focused on credibility, gaming, and participatory networks. His current focus is on reconceptualizing the library field through the lens of “New Librarianship.” Simply put new librarianship recasts library and library practice using the fundamental concept that knowledge is created through conversation. Libraries are in the knowledge business; therefore libraries are in the conversation business. New librarians approach their work as facilitators of conversation. Be it in practice, policies, programs and/or tools, participatory librarians seek to enrich, capture, store and disseminate the conversations of their communities.
Lankes has authored, co-authored or edited fifteen books, written over 30 book chapters and journal articles and numerous pieces for the professional audience. He has been principle investigator on over $13 million of competitively awarded research as well as serving as a researcher on numerous projects. He has been a keynote speaker around the globe, and given over 187 presentations at national and international conferences. In 2012 his book, The Atlas of New Librarianship, won the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature.
R. David Lankes
Professor, School of Information Studies
Director, Information Institute of Syracuse
213 Hinds Hall
Syracuse, New York 13244