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CDL Transitions: The Arch Wherethro’ Gleams that Untravell’d World

On September 30th, CDL said a poignant farewell to Laine Farley as she headed into a well-earned retirement after nine years at the helm of the CDL.  As CDL’s longest serving Executive Director, Laine presided over many of the CDL’s most significant accomplishments:  expanding initiatives in library publishing and data management, developing policies and tools for UC’s open access initiatives, overseeing the largescale digitization of UC library holdings in partnership with Google and the Internet Archive, and establishing UC libraries as founding members of the HathiTrust.  Laine’s dedication to CDL and to the collaborative endeavor that is the University of California was legendary, animated by a user-centered vision of digital libraries with “scholars at the center” that informed many of the CDL’s activities under her leadership.

While a national search for a successor to lead the CDL is in progress, I have the privilege of serving CDL as its interim Executive Director.   Assisting me as Interim Deputy Director for Operations will be the incomparable Felicia Poe, CDL’s Manager of User Experience and Design Services (and, for the time being, interim Director of the UC Curation Center).  Those who don’t know us can find out more about Ivy and Felicia here.  Both Felicia and I look forward to engaging with our many colleagues both within and beyond UC over the next several months, and we invite you to reach out to us at any time.

Although I’m sad to see Laine move on, I’m excited at the opportunities that lie before us.  CDL’s initiatives are robust and thriving;  our bedrock collaboration with the UC campus libraries is unshakeable (earthquake-prone California notwithstanding);  and our staff is passionate about the work we do every day in collaboration with our UC colleagues to support digital transformation in libraries and scholarly communication.   Leading the CDL during this period is an honor and a humbling responsibility, but its burden is made light by the passion and dedication of so many inspiring colleagues at CDL and across UC.

In contemplating the new adventures on which Laine is about to embark as well as the prospect of a new generation of leadership at the CDL, I always return to a favorite touchstone of mine, Tennyson’s Ulysses —  for whom, in Tennyson’s words,

…all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.

[from Tennyson’s Guinevere, and other poems. Illustrated by Florence Harrison.  London, Blackie & Sons, 1912.]

So it is with the scholarly enterprise itself, where new frontiers of knowledge continually open up as we advance our understanding of the world around us.  Building and supporting a robust digital knowledge infrastructure that can sustain the academic enterprise long into the future – allowing UC scholars of today and tomorrow “To follow knowledge like a sinking star, Beyond the utmost bound of human thought” – is a never-ending journey on which we, too, roam with an ever-hungry heart.

As CDL looks to the future, some work of noble note, may yet be done.