UVA Librarian John Unsworth Speaks about the Mission of Libraries in Radio Podcast

In a podcast recorded for the August 22 Sunday Morning Wake-Up Call on WPVC 94.7, UVA Dean of Libraries John Unsworth speaks with host Sean McCord (UVA Library AV & IT Systems Engineer) about his life in academia, about UVA’s Library, and the past, present, and future mission of libraries in general.

The wide-ranging conversation covers Unsworth’s inauspicious debut as a teacher when he was a lecturer at UVA in 1980s, his becoming the founding director (1993–2003) of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, the importance of librarians in the digital age, the integration of library instruction with student coursework, and the renovation of Alderman Library. He speaks in depth about his interest in text mining—the statistical analysis of text that he traces back to the 1850s!—and gives background on the Book Traces @ UVA project to discover history in the handwritten notations in the margins of Alderman’s public domain collections.

Despite libraries’ movement toward more digital content, Unsworth maintains that the modern library’s mission remains what it’s always been, to “make yesterday’s information available tomorrow.”

Listen to the complete podcast.

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