School of Information Studies (iSchool) Professor R. David Lankes will depart Syracuse to join the faculty at the University of South Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science as director and associate dean in the College of Information and Communications. His appointment will take effect July 1.
Lankes has served on the faculty at Syracuse since 1998. He is a graduate of the iSchool’s Ph.D. program, and the founder of the Information Institute of Syracuse.
“I make this move with a great deal of excitement, and a healthy dose of sadness,” said Lankes. “I have been affiliated with Syracuse University for nearly 28 years in one capacity or another but now is the time for me to apply what I have learned in a new environment.”
Lankes’ work as a doctoral student focused on building platforms and funded research and he then evolved his scholarship to examine how experts answer questions online, and how concepts such as learning and participation have changed the world of librarians.
“Throughout my academic evolution, I have had fantastic mentors, colleagues, and students pushing me along,” said Lankes. “Syracuse, for me, has always been a fantastic think tank full of interesting people thinking deeply on interesting ideas.”
In his early days at Syracuse, Lankes established the Information Institute at the iSchool, a long standing research center in the areas of education, technology and librarianship. It has been the source and host for a number of highly visible and widely successful digital education information services. Research projects have included The Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, The Virtual Reference Desk (VRD), AskERIC and the Educator's Reference Desk.
“When [former iSchool faculty member] Mike Eisenberg and I created the Information Institute, the Internet as we know it today was just blossoming, and those early days trying to figure out how a global network would change education, libraries, and our daily lives were exciting.” Lankes recalled. “I think it is rare to witness first hand a seismic shift in a discipline, and in information science that was the Internet. One of my best memories from that time was putting together an R&D group with iSchool students where we built the first websites for places like CNN and the Discovery Channel.”
A passionate advocate for librarians and their essential role in today’s society, Lankes’ current research has sought to understand how information approaches and technologies can be used to transform industries. His most recent work involves how participatory concepts can reshape libraries and their credibility.
Lankes has authored, co-authored or edited 15 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, and has given more than 200 presentations at national and international conferences.
His book, The Atlas of New Librarianship, won the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature. He recently wrapped up his “Expect More” world speaking tour in multiple U.S. cities and around the world.
“At the iSchool we are very sad to see Dave leave, but at the same time we know that this is a logical next step in his extraordinary career,” said Interim Dean Jeffrey Stanton. “Dave has been a powerful positive force in the transformation of the library profession. Serving as director at the University of South Carolina will provide another opportunity to put his stamp on the next generation of librarianship."