Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) Dean Elizabeth D. Liddy delivered the Rudi Weiss Lecture at the 2010 New York Library Association (NYLA) Conference in Saratoga Springs, New York, on November 5, 2010. Liddy focused her presentation on the emerging areas of professional opportunities for librarians in an environment that is constantly changing.
“At the whirling speed at which increasingly diverse information resources, information technologies, and new constituencies are arriving at the doors and portals of libraries, we observe that both practicing librarians and academic programs that educate librarians are quickly adapting, as well as expanding their purview into arenas that may have not previously appeared to be naturally within their realm,” Liddy said. “One of the most promising of these is e-librarianship, a newly emerging focus within our field that applies our recognized information organization, management, and access skills to supporting large-scale information management projects for researchers.”
Since 1981, the Rudi Weiss Memorial Lecture program has featured a promoter or defender of libraries or the idea of public access at each annual NYLA conference. The speaker often works outside library walls, and topics have ranged from copyright to a feminist view of Melville Dewey, creator of the Dewey Decimal System. Rudi Weiss of the Westchester Library System was an active member of the NYLA Section on Management of Information Resources and Technology (SMART) through the 1960s, serving as president in 1965. To honor his memory, SMART first established a grant to send a librarian to attend a workshop or meeting on some aspect of technical services, and now sponsors one talk per year at the NYLA Conference.
Liddy is Dean and Trustee Professor in the Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool), ranked No. 1 in information systems, according to U.S. News & World Report. Liddy is completing a three-year term as chair of the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group of Information Retrieval, the leading professional organization in the search field. She is also chair-elect of the iCaucus, an organization of 27 US, European, and Asian member iSchools, with the mission of advancing the world’s understanding of iSchools.
As dean, Liddy has overseen the creation of three new academic programs—Professional Doctorate in Information Management and two interdisciplinary Certificates of Advanced Study in Cultural Heritage Preservation and in eGovernment Management and Leadership—as well as the formation of an executive education program at the iSchool. She has also been an instrumental leader in the development of a 10-year, $30 million collaboration between Syracuse University and JPMorgan Chase. Liddy was part of the SU leadership team that helped establish a $100 million project with the non-profit FAIR Health and a consortium of academic researchers. The project seeks to develop and maintain a new database that health insurers across the nation will use to set their out-of-network payments to physicians, hospitals and other health providers and create an interactive web site for consumers.
An entrepreneur herself, Liddy has infused entrepreneurship and innovation into all facets of the curriculum and life within the iSchool, including supporting the development of the Syracuse Student Start-Up Accelerator and the establishment of Syracuse University’s first entrepreneur-in-residence. As a faculty member, Liddy founded the University-based TextWise LLC, which she led from 1994 to 1999 in the development of a natural language processing-based search engine that was used by the U.S. and European Patent Offices. In addition, she is inventor or co-inventor on seven patents in the area of Natural Language Processing.
Liddy holds a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Daemen College, and an M.L.S. and a Ph.D. in information transfer, both from SU.