Emory Report
July 10, 2006
Volume 58, Number 34


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July 10 , 2006
New Vice Provost, Dir. of Libraries named

BY Elaine Justice

According to Provost Earl Lewis, newly named Vice Provost and Director of University Libraries Richard Luce “is the perfect leader to steward the library during its next phase of development.” Lewis recently announced Luce’s appointment to the post being vacated by the retirement of Linda Matthews. He will begin his new duties Aug. 14.

Matthews, who is retiring after years of service, echoed the provost’s sentiments. “He’s going to be a great director, and he has a strong vision for libraries in the 21st century.”

Luce, who comes to Emory from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico where he is research library director, is someone with “an eye on new technologies, but is very conversant with the historical role of the library as a place for the preservation and distribution of information,” said Lewis.

“Rick Luce is one of the most innovative and visionary library directors in the country,” said Gray Crouse, professor of biology at Emory and head of the search committee. “The Emory libraries are already very strong and Luce’s appointment promises to build on that strength to make us one of the leaders in both preserving and disseminating knowledge in the service of teaching and research.”

Luce is delighted to be bridging both worlds. “Certainly science libraries and the sciences have led much of the innovation in digital library services in the last 10 to 15 years,” said Luce. “But there are now incredible opportunities in the social sciences and the humanities. For me, the challenge is to see what kinds of additional needs these communities have, so that we can enrich and enhance what they bring to the table and so that their scholarship can be done in new ways.”

Today’s digital-age generation presents the clearest example that the approach to gathering, retrieving and analyzing information is changing, said Luce. “People of my generation and most Emory faculty have been exposed to the centuries-old tradition of how scholarship has been done.” By contrast, students are used to learning in different ways; they’re almost certainly more visually-oriented, he said.

“To integrate where we’ve come from with how the current generation uses scholarship is still a challenge for us,” Luce said.

Emory’s recent history seems to have prepared it for the challenge. In 1979 when the University received approximately $105 million from the Emily and Ernest Woodruff Fund, the library began making great strides in its archival collections, said Ron Schuchard, Goodrich C. White Professor of English and a member of the search committee.

“Since then it has grown faster than many research libraries, and its growth has been meteoric and unrivaled in 20th century literary collections,” said Schuchard.

As far as the library has come, “we feel we’re on the threshold of something that will be much bigger,” said Schuchard. “The next step will be to use Emory’s phenomenal collections as part of a teaching mission. We want undergraduates to come into contact with those materials on a daily basis even as they develop digital skills so that the collections will have an impact on their development and lives.”

University Archivist Ginger Cain said that Luce “knows how to make the library a vital part of a research institution. He has the skills, experience, vision and energy to interpret the library’s strengths and its role to a wide variety of audiences.”

As research library director at Los Alamos since 1991, Luce has managed a world-class scientific research library with a $12.5 million budget that supports information delivery in a high technology environment serving 4,000 Ph.D.s and 8,800 laboratory researchers. He has forged regional, national and international public information and communication technology collaborations and co-organized the Berlin and Brazilian Declarations on Open Access. He also was co-founder of the Open Archives Initiative to develop interoperable standards for author self-archiving systems.

Luce also serves as project leader for the Library Without Walls at Los Alamos, one of the world’s most advanced large-scale digital library implementations and the only U.S. Department of Energy-approved library user-facility center in the nation, supporting 26 nationally prominent research organizations and 180,000 researchers.

From 1988-1991 Luce served as executive director of the Southeast Florida Library Information Network, a research-sharing consortium with 13 institutions encompassing 89 libraries. From 1985-1988, he was network director of IRVING Library Network Inc. in Boulder, Colo.

Luce has been the senior advisor to the Center for Information Management of the Max Planck Society from 2000-2006 and served from 1998-2004 on the executive board of the National Information Standards Organization. He is the recipient of the 2005 Fellows Prize for Leadership at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the first ever awarded to a nonscientist.

Luce holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of San Diego, a master of public administration degree from San Diego State University and master’s in library and information science from the University of South Florida.