Michigan State University

MSU Data Librarian Scout Calvert Named Visiting Program Officer by the Association of Research Libraries

Cindy Hunter Morgan

MSU Data Librarian Scout Calvert was appointed as a visiting program officer by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). In this role, she will work with a team from ARL, the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), 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 as VPO began October 1 and will continue through March of 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. I think it is important for the library world to understand what’s possible with new technologies and technology practices so that we can make sure that development processes meet our needs and values.”

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. Calvert also investigates data and metadata practices in libraries and among academic researchers, informing data policy issues in academic libraries. Before coming to MSU, she was a Council on Library and Information Resources Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for the Sciences and Social Sciences. She also served as assistant project scientist at the University of California, Irvine, and was co-investigator, with others at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, on the Health Data Exploration project. She earned her PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in history of consciousness. She holds an MA in information resources and library science from the University of Arizona. 

Michigan State University Libraries is a member of the ARL. The ARL Visiting Program Officer programprovides 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. 


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