Data Services in Liberal Arts College Libraries

2:00pm - 3:00pm EDT April 24, 2013

Mark Dahl, Director of the Aubrey R. Watzek Library at Lewis and Clark College and a special advisor to NITLE, moderates a panel on emerging data services positions in liberal arts college libraries. (Times EDT)

In today’s information environment, liberal arts college libraries must continually realign their staffing to meet emerging information needs. Finding, analyzing, and managing data to be used in student and faculty scholarly projects is an area of growing interest on liberal arts campuses. College libraries are beginning to develop support for the location and acquisition of data sets, the curation of research datasets, and the presentation and management of field research data. In this session, a panel of library professionals will explore ways that liberal arts college libraries are supporting data services. The panelists will describe services that they provide and discuss emerging trends in data services at their institutions.


Mark Dahl (panel moderator) has served in academic libraries for 15 years as a systems librarian, associate director for technical and digital services, and director. He is currently director of the Aubrey R. Watzek Library at Lewis and Clark College. His professional interests include digital initiatives, student engagement with library resources and the future of the liberal arts college library. He has presented and written extensively on library technology and digital initiatives and is currently active in the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education and the Orbis Cascade Alliance Consortium. He holds an undergraduate degree in history and journalism and master’s degrees in history and library/information science.

Heather Van Volkinburg is a data librarian and manager of the Empirical Reasoning Lab at Barnard College. She has a Ph.D. in psychology with a focus in cognitive psychology. Her research in psychology focused on the perception and memory of time, or in other words, how we learn about time from our environment and how we remember and use that information. Her current work focuses on supporting the use of data across the curriculum by developing online resources, conducting workshops and training sessions, providing consultations, and developing means for increasing confidence in using quantitative and qualitative data in research and education.

Kristin Partlo is a reference and instruction librarian for social sciences and data at Carleton College. A graduate of St. Olaf College, she comes to Carleton most recently from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where she worked as both a reference and instruction librarian and a GIS and maps librarian.

Wendy Shook is the science data librarian at Middlebury College. She served most recently as a volunteer librarian at the Hawai’i Academy of Arts and Science. Prior to this position, she was a data analysis specialist at the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy – Gemini Observatory. She holds a Master of Information Studies from Charles Sturt University in Australia (2011), and a Bachelor of Science, Physics Cooperative Program, from University of Victoria (1996).

Jeremy McWilliams is the digital services coordinator at Watzek Library, Lewis and Clark College. He develops web applications and supports library systems at Watzek.

About the Future of the Liberal Arts College Library series

The Future of the Liberal Arts College Library seminar series is part of NITLE’s continuing effort to engage members of the NITLE Network in conversation around this important topic. Over the course of the year, the series will bring librarians, faculty, and interested others from NITLE’s member campuses together to explore principal elements: What is the future of the liberal arts? the future of the liberal arts college? the future of the library?

By asking these questions, exploring potential answers, and engaging stakeholders from across the NITLE Network in sharing their diverse perspectives, we prepare the groundwork for moving on to the next step: joint and individual action. These discussions are aimed at inspiring and guiding us in strategically crafting campus policy that supports intra- and inter-campus collaborative connections. Ideas generated and feedback gathered via this seminar series will inform development of NITLE Shared Libraries.

Because broad engagement across diverse viewpoints is key to developing strategies that are actually effective in the long run, we encourage stakeholders from member campuses to participate regularly in this seminar series, recruit campus colleagues to join the discussion, and to use seminar discussions as fuel for ongoing conversation on campus.

Series Hashtag

Participants are encouraged to share their thoughts on Twitter via this series’ hashtag: #LAClibrary.


Faculty, librarians, instructional technologists, and others from the NITLE Network are invited to attend: attendance by institutional teams is strongly encouraged. Individuals are also welcome to participate.

Please register online by Monday, April 22, 2013. Participation in NITLE Shared Academics events is open to all active member institutions of the NITLE Network as a benefit of membership and as space allows. No additional registration fee applies.


For more information about this event, please contact Sean Johnson Andrews at


NITLE Shared Academics logoNITLE Shared AcademicsTM models a new approach to liberal education – made possible through strategic collaboration, driven by shared knowledge, and supported by emerging technologies. Campuses learn how inter-institutional academic exchange works by actively participating in it, building the knowledge and experience to re-architect liberal education.