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Podcast Feed Consolidated

So it doesn’t make sense to have two RSS feeds anymore, one for the all blog entries and one just for podcasts. I’ve consolidated everything into just one feed: If you subscribe to this in iTunes or any podcasting tool you will still get all my presentations and screencasts. Please update your feed readers (note [...]

Tue, 25 Aug 2009 12:28:34 +0000

Change Management

“Change Management” Connecticut Library Association Leadership Institute, Hartford, Ct. Slides: Audio:

Fri, 21 Aug 2009 12:50:55 +0000

Change Management for Connecticut Screencast

Here is the video presentation I did for the CLA/CLC Connecticut Leadership Institute. It is on change management.

Sun, 16 Aug 2009 15:20:58 +0000

Lankes in 100 Best Blogs for Librarians of the Future

While I am guessing this more about getting incoming links than “thanking the academy” it turns out it is a good list of library-related blogs. So: I’ve been listed on the Learn-gasm’s 100 Best Blogs for Librarians of the Future

Tue, 04 Aug 2009 11:40:54 +0000

Lankes Named to board

Library council named to advise OCLC in development of Web-scale management services OCLC has named members of a Library Advisory Council that has been put in place to advise OCLC in developing the first Web-scale cooperative library management service. In April, OCLC announced plans to launch a new service for Web-scale, cooperative library management services—network-level tools for [...]

Tue, 21 Jul 2009 16:08:00 +0000

Another Case for Libraries

In some of my presentations I talk about the danger of libraries ignoring massive scale information and the dangers of letting the commercial sector solve the problem. While not massive scale, the following story still highlights the danger and shows that using functions (providing reading materials) to define what you do over a worldview (why [...]

Sat, 18 Jul 2009 13:39:16 +0000

Screencast of ALA Virtual Conference

Wed, 15 Jul 2009 13:56:22 +0000


“Conversants” Virtual Conference Presentation, ALA Annual Conference 2009, Chicago, IL. Abstract: The following presentation is a crossover between the Conversatns Converation/Confernece and the ALA Annual Conference. Slides: Audio: Transcript:

Wed, 15 Jul 2009 13:36:58 +0000

A Sparrow with a Machine Gun

“A Sparrow with a Machine Gun” Lankes, R. David (Spring 2009). netConnect: Data in Context supplement to Library Journal.

Tue, 14 Jul 2009 12:39:32 +0000

Conversants Conference/Conversation Keynote

Here is the Keynote I did for the Conversants Conference/Conversation back in April. It is the same one that has been available through the Ning site, I’m just posting it here since that site is now wrapping up. They Named the Building After Us: The Library as Conversation from R. David Lankes on Vimeo.

Tue, 14 Jul 2009 12:20:55 +0000

They Named the Building after Us: The Library as Conversation

With the online Conversants Conference/Conversation wrapping up, I wanted to make the materials for the keynote generally available. Thanks to all who helped out and participated. “They Named the Building after Us: The Library as Conversation” Keynote Conversants Conference/Conversation. Abstract: The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities. Through service, [...]

Tue, 14 Jul 2009 00:07:35 +0000

PCC Screencast Now Available

Mon, 13 Jul 2009 13:44:58 +0000

The Death of the Document

“The Death of the Document” Program for Cooperative Cataloging, American Library Association Annual Conference, Chicago, IL. Abstract: When a book becomes an ebook it looses more than simply its physical binding – it looses hard boundaries that separate the content of the book from its use. Online journals are not simply pictures of a traditional journal [...]

Mon, 13 Jul 2009 00:10:43 +0000

How Much is a Petabyte?

Here is an awesome graphic visualizing a petabyte from Mozy ( Great for all those of us concerned with massive scale information and librarianship:

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 13:45:20 +0000

SUNYLA Screencast

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 19:26:31 +0000

Einstein Goes to a Party…

“Einstein Goes to a Party…” State University of New York Library Association, Syracuse, NY. Abstract: Librarians must look beyond functional definition of the field (what we do it and how we do it) and to deeper understandings that will allow them to succeed into the future. Slides: Audio:

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 15:53:01 +0000

Lankes Named Next Director of Syracuse’s Library Science Program

From the Dean: “I am very pleased to announce that Dave Lankes will be the next Director of our MLIS Program, beginning with a year of shadowing of current Director, Scott Nicholson. Dave, Scott, and I have been meeting recently and exploring some very exciting ideas for the program – which we will share [...]

Wed, 17 Jun 2009 18:49:32 +0000

NYSLAA Screencast now Available

Fri, 12 Jun 2009 12:02:23 +0000

Fighting for the Soul of Libraries

“Fighting for the Soul of Libraries” New York State Library Assistants Association, Troy, NY Abstract: Libraries are changing – transforming from quiet buildings with loud rooms to loud buildings with quiet rooms – from places for things to places for knowledge and learning. This change is too big and important. Every one from librarian to assistant [...]

Fri, 12 Jun 2009 11:44:38 +0000

Beta Phi Mu Screencast

Sun, 10 May 2009 12:24:24 +0000

Not Done Yet

“Not Done Yet” Beta Phi Mu Induction, Syracuse, NY Slides: Audio:

Sun, 10 May 2009 11:23:13 +0000

Email Problems

If you sent me email this week, and was wondering why I hadn’t responded, it turns out my email has been screwed up. It should be OK now, but you’ll have to resend.

Thu, 07 May 2009 20:24:34 +0000

Screencast from the Connecticut Library Association

Sat, 02 May 2009 02:43:04 +0000

Challenge your Thinking

“Challenge your Thinking” Connecticut Library Association Annual Conference, New Haven, CT Abstract: What if librarianship wasn’t a vocation of tools and skills, but of passion and knowledge? What if instead of identifying our roles with materials and order, we thought about embracing the chaos and excitement of change? Slides: Audio:

Sat, 02 May 2009 01:22:06 +0000

Conversants Conference now Open

The Conversants Confernce/Conversation is now open to all at You can already see the keynote, start conversations, watch tutorials, read papers, and see cases. We’ll be adding more presentations over the next two months…including hopefully yours.

Thu, 30 Apr 2009 21:43:11 +0000

GetDegrees Puts me in the Top 50

GetDegrees has named this blog in their list of “The Top Fifty Librarian Blogs” Thanks.

Wed, 22 Apr 2009 00:39:27 +0000

Conversants Keynote Title and Abstract

Here are the title and abstract for the keynote: They Named the Building After Us: The Library as Conversation The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities. Through service, innovation, and leadership librarians facilitate conversations in schools, communities, colleges, government, businesses, and beyond. It is this act of facilitation of [...]

Tue, 21 Apr 2009 14:40:37 +0000

Conversing about Conversations

A quick video on starting participatory librarianship conversations, plus some ideas for Conversants sessions:

Thu, 16 Apr 2009 11:01:32 +0000

Conversants Reminder

Tomorrow is the first deadline for submissions to the Conversants Online Conference/Conversation, however we will be accepting new program ideas throughout the duration of the conference. This message is intended to give you an update and some additional information on the conference. We have already lined up sessions in gaming, assessment, and case studies in participatory [...]

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 17:00:29 +0000

In Memoriam: Donna Dinberg, Librarian, Reference Pioneer, and a Dear Friend

On April 11, Donna Dinberg passed away after a fight with cancer. She will be greatly missed. I came to know Donna as a passionate advocate for reference and a key architect of the virtual reference movement. At every meeting Donna was there. She was particularly effective in ensuring that the next generation of reference [...]

Tue, 14 Apr 2009 14:36:00 +0000

Speaker Biography

R. David Lankes is director of the Information Institute of Syracuse, and an associate professor in Syracuse University's School of Information Studies. Lankes has always been interested in combining theory and practice to create active research projects that make a difference. Past projects include the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology, the Gateway to Education Materials, AskERIC and the Virtual Reference Desk. Lankes' more recent work involves how participatory concepts can reshape libraries and credibility. This work expands his ongoing work to understand the integration of human expertise in information systems.

Lankes is a passionate advocate for libraries and their essential role in today's society. He also seeks to understand how information approaches and technologies can be used to transform industries. In this capacity he has served on advisory boards and study teams in the fields of libraries, telecommunications, education, and transportation including at the National Academies. He has been appointed as a visiting fellow at the National library of Canada, the Harvard School of Education and the first fellow of ALA's Office for Information Technology Policy.

Updated: 2007-11-04 21:31:16

Extended Biography

R. David Lankes, PhD, is Director of the Information Institute of Syracuse (IIS) and an Associate Professor at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies. Lankes received his BFA (Multimedia Design), MS in Telecommunications and Ph.D. from Syracuse University.

As a doctoral student, Lankes co-created the AskERIC project with his advisor, Michael Eisenberg, and Nancy Preston the associate director of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources. This work began a long collaboration with Eisenberg, the ERIC system and the U.S. Department of Education. In his work as Researcher (1992-1994), Head of AskERIC R&D (1994-1995), Associate Director (1996-1998) and later Director (1998-2003) of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology Lankes would eagerly explore the growing Internet phenomenon. Within his ERIC work Lankes would create one of the first 100 web sites, the first web presence for CNN, the Discovery Channel, and the U.S. Department of Education.

As the work of the ERIC Clearinghouse expanded beyond Department of Education, Eisenberg and Lankes founded the Information Institute of Syracuse (IIS) in 1996 to house not only the ERIC work (including the Virtual Reference Desk and the Gateway to Educational Materials), but projects for AT&T, MCI/WorldCom, and Sun Microsystems. The IIS, under Lankes' leadership (with the departure of Eisenberg to the University of Washington) would go on to house several high profile research efforts for the National Science Foundation, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, and the MacArthur Foundation. At it's height the Institute employed 30 full time staff and 20 additional researchers and consultants.

In 1998, while director of the IIS, Lankes joined the faculty of Syracuse University's School of Information Studies as an assistant professor. In his dual role as professor and director, Lankes spearheaded the development of the virtual reference movement through his Virtual Reference Desk (VRD) project. VRD helped coalesce the virtual reference movement through research (such as the Digital Reference Research Agenda), projects (AskERIC and the Virtual Reference Desk Consortium answered thousands of education questions), and events (seven international conferences, a research symposium and several White House sponsored briefings). These activities lead to a visiting scholar position at Harvard's School of Education, a visiting fellow position at the National Library of Canada, and being named as the first fellow at the American Library Association's Office of Information Technology Policy.

More recently Lankes has helped transform the IIS from a production-oriented organization to a library think tank. Recent Institute activities with organizations such as the American Library Association, the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the MacArthur Foundation have focused on credibility, gaming, and participatory networks. His current focus is on reconceptualizing the library field through the lens of "participatory librarianship." Simply put participatory librarianship recasts library and library practice using the fundamental concept that knowledge is created through conversation. Libraries are in the knowledge business; therefore libraries are in the conversation business. Participatory librarians approach their work as facilitators of conversation. Be it in practice, policies, programs and/or tools, participatory librarians seek to enrich, capture, store and disseminate the conversations of their communities.

Lankes has authored, co-authored or edited eleven 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. He has been a keynote speaker around the globe, and given over 140 presentations at national and international events.

Updated: 2007-11-04 22:54:22

Press Photos

Formal Photo

[JEPEG, 1632 pixels by 2464 pixels, 5.44" x 8.23" @ 300 dpi, 1.9mb]

Informal Photo

[JPEG, 2464 pixels by 1632 pixels, 8.23" x 5.44" @ 300dpi, 2mb]



Contact R. David Lankes

R. David Lankes
Associate Professor, School of Information Studies
Director, Information Institute of Syracuse
Syracuse University
213 Hinds Hall
Syracuse, New York 13244

Phone: (315)443-3640
Fax: (315)443-5448

Web: E-Mail:

Updated: 2007-10-24 19:30:34


This site makes extensive use of timelines. You can browse presentations, articles and research projects on a timeline. Just click and drag the timeline to see when things were done. If you drag the lower timeline you will move faster.

As a big believer in conversations, WHEN something happened is as important as WHAT happened. Seeing something in the context of other events provides some small context, and seeing how ideas evolved over time is important.

The timeline below is an aggregation of the other timelines in the site. It is meant to provide a sense of activity at a glance.

Drag to move the timeline, and click on an entry for the full results.
= Journal Aricles | = Posters | = Books | = Book Chapters | = Procedings | = White Papers | = Other Pubs | = Presentations

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.