Searching for a "University Librarian" at UC Davis; plus request for reading material on modern library challenges and opportunities

Well, I have trouble saying no.  And thus I have a new committee role at UC Davis.  I am a member of the University Librarian Recruitment Advisory Committee at UC Davis tasked with coordinating interviews for, well, the University Librarian position which was just advertised (I have reposted the text of the ad below).

I am writing this post for two reasons.  First, I want to encourage qualified candidates to apply (and also encourage people to share the posting with qualified candidates).  Second, I am requesting help in gathering material for me (and others) to read about new developments in library activities, especially in a University setting.  Any good reviews of the challenges facing University libraries as well as any discussions of new opportunities for libraries would be greatly appreciated.

The Job Ad (taken from a PDF and converted to text/html by me)

The University of California, Davis, invites nominations and applications for the position of University Librarian. The campus seeks an innovative and effective leader to serve as its chief strategist and visionary in developing its next- generation library, combining the traditional strengths of a major research library with new information resources and technology programs that enhance its research, teaching and learning activities. The University Librarian provides overall leadership of the UC Davis General Library in support of University research, instruction, patient care, and community outreach and is responsible for transforming the General Library into an Academic Hub that promotes the effective and innovative use of digital information resources in discovery and learning for the future.

The University of California, Davis is a highly selective, research-intensive institution of approximately 32,000 students, including 7,500 graduate and professional students, an annual research budget that exceeds $600 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools. UC Davis is one of the nation’s top public research universities and an integral part of the world’s pre-eminent public university system, the University of California. For more than 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research, and public service that matters to California and transforms the world. The City of Davis, located in in the heart of the Central Valley, in an environmentally aware and socially innovative community of 65,000 people, is close to the state capital and San Francisco Bay area, and is a unique college town where close relationships between the campus and the local community are valued.

The General Library of the University of California, Davis, is a major U.S. academic research library, operating as an integral part of the University while recognizing obligations to a wider public, particularly the people of California. The University Librarian reports to the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor and serves as a member of the Council of Deans and Vice Chancellors.
The colleges of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science; the schools of Education, Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Veterinary Medicine; and the UC Davis Health System are all served by the UC Davis General Library, both in Davis and in Sacramento. The Library houses comprehensive, world-class agricultural and veterinary medicine collections, especially in viticulture and enology, environmental sciences and ecology, and comparative medicine as well as broadly based humanities, social sciences, and sciences collections. The Special Collections feature a diverse range of topics from agricultural sciences, to Western Americana, to photographs of rural California and Oregon, and a rich University Archives showcasing the campus’s 100-year history. The UC Davis General Library is an active contributor to the highly successful University of California collective efforts of campus libraries and the California Digital Library, providing system-wide online services and access to a wealth of books and journals (~33 million titles), electronic journals (~34,400 titles), large digital image and special collections via Calisphere and the Online Archive of California, and over 422 million web sites in the Web Archiving Service.

Already highly ranked among U.S. public universities, UC Davis aspires to raise its profile even further and recognizes the Library as a key contributor to that achievement. The successful candidate will position the UC Davis Library as a leader among research university libraries and introduce new digital programs to enhance the university’s research and teaching activities.

Specific responsibilities of the position include

  • Strategic planning for and leadership in development of information resources and related programs and services, both print and digital, in collaboration with other organizations at Davis, across the UC system, and with relevant national and international organizations;
  • Development of advanced, innovative e-research and educational technology information and publishing services;
  • Oversight of library operations in support of the university’s strategic goals and current research and teaching activities;
  • Lead the development of Library digital services, including digital reformatting of existing collections, creation of unique and original digital resources in various formats, and development of web-based interfaces to these resources;
  • Leadership of a 120-plus member staff and responsibility for a budget of $24.7M, as well as philanthropic cultivation and stewardship;
  • Strategic planning, including long-range planning for service, staffing, automation, and physical facilities to meet the needs of the greatest number of users with an eye to the rapidly evolving patterns of users’ preferred modes of access;
  • Representing the library with the UC Davis administrative and academic departments and Davis in UC system- wide discussions, national and international research library and academic technology initiatives.

The University of California, Davis seeks outstanding candidates who have a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing research university libraries, especially those involving new technologies for research and teaching; successful library management experience in a complex higher education setting; extensive experience conducting research on and implementing innovative library-based services in support of a major research university’s mission of teaching, research and public service; demonstrated knowledge of state-of-the-art information technologies and successful implementation of IT-based services; entrepreneurial experience and a record of success obtaining external funding through grants and resource development; strong analytical, interpersonal, oral and written communication, and collaboration skills; commitment to and record of promoting diversity and equal opportunity in the workplace; and the ability to be an effective spokesperson for the UC Davis General Library and a fully contributing member of the UC Davis senior leadership team. A Master of Science in Library and Information Science or other advanced degree is required.

Initial screening of applications will begin immediately and continue until an appointment is made; however, to receive full consideration, applications must be submitted by no later than November 11, 2011. Nominations (including the nominee’s contact information and materials) should be provided to Linda Fairfield at the following address by November 11, 2011:

          Linda Fairfield
          Senior Management Group Administrator
          Human Resources Administration Building
          Phone: 530-752-3954

Application materials should include a letter addressing how the candidate’s experiences match the position requirements, a resume and contact information for at least five references. Submission of materials as PDF attachments is strongly encouraged.

For more information about University of California, Davis, please visit the Web site at

PLoS picture of the day: Simon Chan from #UCDavis sports #PLoSOne shirt when presenting to @BillGates

Good to see here that Simon Chan, from UC Davis, knows what is the best outfit to wear to present his work to Bill Gates.  

Thanks to Simon for sending me the photo and to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for approving it’sits use here.

Storification of my notes/tweets from #UCDavis CLIMB Symposium "The infant gut microbiome: prebiotics, probiotics and establishment"

I made a Storify posting for the CLIMB Symposium I participated in yesterday. First I am reposting my summary of what the symposium was about which I posted the day before the meeting:

There is a symposium tomorrow at UC Davis organized by a undergraduates in the CLIMB program.  CLIMB stands for “Collaborative Learning at the Interface of Mathematics and Biology (CLIMB)” and is a program that emphasizes hands-on training using mathematics and computation to answer state-of-the-art questions in biology.  A select group of undergraduates participate in the program and this summer the students had to do some sort of modelling project.  Somehow I managed to convince them to do work on human gut microbes.  And they have done a remarkable job.  

As part of their summer work, they organized a symposium on the topic and their symposium takes place tomorrow.  Details are below. 

The Infant Gut Microbiome: Prebiotics, Probiotics, & Establishment 

  • Jonathan Eisen, UC Davis “DNA and the hidden world of microbes”
  • Mark Underwood, UC Davis “Dysbiosis and necrotizing enterocolitis”
  • Ruth Ley, Cornell University “Host-microbial interactions and metabolic syndrome” 
  • CLIMB 2010 cohort “Breast milk metabolism and bacterial coexistence in the infant microbiome”
  • David Relman, Stanford University “Early days: assembly of the human gut microbiome during childhood” 
  • Bruce German, UC Davis

The only major issue for me is I am losing my voice.  So we will see how this goes.  Though I note I have gotten some very sage advice on how to treat my voice problem via the magic of twitter.  If I do not collapse I will also be tweeting/posting about the other talks during the day. 

Anyway – here is the storification:<a href=”” target=”_blank”>View “CLIMB Symposium at UC Davis” on Storify</a>

Coming Monday at #UCDavis "The Infant Gut Microbiome: Prebiotics, Probiotics, & Establishment"

Just a little announcement here.  There is a symposium tomorrow at UC Davis organized by a undergraduates in the CLIMB program.  CLIMB stands for “Collaborative Learning at the Interface of Mathematics and Biology (CLIMB)” and is a program that emphasizes hands-on training using mathematics and computation to answer state-of-the-art questions in biology.  A select group of undergraduates participate in the program and this summer the students had to do some sort of modelling project.  Somehow I managed to convince them to do work on human gut microbes.  And they have done a remarkable job.

As part of their summer work, they organized a symposium on the topic and their symposium takes place tomorrow.  Details are below.

The Infant Gut Microbiome: Prebiotics, Probiotics, & Establishment

Monday, 12 September 2011, 9am-4pm

Life Sciences 1022

UC Davis

9:00-9:10 Introduction

9:10-9:40 Jonathan Eisen, UC Davis

“DNA and the hidden world of microbes”

9:40-10:40 Mark Underwood, UC Davis

“Dysbiosis and necrotizing enterocolitis”

10:40-10:50 break

10:50-11:50 Ruth Ley, Cornell University

“Host-microbial interactions and metabolic syndrome”

11:50-12:00 general discussion

12:00-1:00 lunch

1:00-2:00 CLIMB 2010 cohort

“Breast milk metabolism and bacterial coexistence in the infant microbiome”

2:00-2:10 break

2:10-3:10 David Relman, Stanford University

“Early days: assembly of the human gut microbiome during childhood”

3:10-3:40 Bruce German, UC Davis

3:40-4:00 next steps

The only major issue for me is I am losing my voice.  So we will see how this goes.  Though I note I have gotten some very sage advice on how to treat my voice problem via the magic of twitter.  If I do not collapse I will also be tweeting/posting about the other talks during the day.

Opening up one’s eyes to other fields (cross-posting from #microBEnet)

Cross-posting this: Opening up one’s eyes to other fields which I posted originally on the microBEnet blog.

I spend most of my time working on biology.  I like to think I cover lots of breadth within biology and I probably do – microbes, evolution, ecology, human health, pathogens, symbioses, forensics, genomics, bioinformatics, and more.  But nothing like really looking at other fields to realize how narrowly focused one is.

And that is what has happened to me since I took on the “microBEnet” project trying to foster communications and collaborations on microbiology of the built environment. I now pay much more attention to anything that might have a connection to “Building Science” in one way or another.  Not only did I just go to an Indoor Air meeting, but I keep discovering more and more stuff right near home that I was not aware of before.  For example – I just got sent this news link from Aaron Darling in my lab: UC Davis News & Information :: History of sciences in architecture subject of Mellon Foundation winner’s study.  Previously, I would definitely not have been paying much attention to architecture and history of science.  But now seeing other people at UC Davis working on the Built Environment just makes me think about how I can build connections with them and talk to them about buildings (and other built environments) and possibly, one day, about the microbes that are in them.

Which brings me to another story.  At the Indoor Air meeting earlier in the week in Austin, Texas, when heading to the conference center I got into a conversation with someone looking for the registration desk.  After showing her where to go she asked where I was from and I said “UC Davis.”  And it turns out – she was too.  Turns out, this was Deborah Bennett, who I had heard mentioned the evening before but had not heard the whole name.  I just knew someone else at the meeting was from Davis.   Deborah is at the UC Davis School of Public Health and works on some really interesting stuff.  And since UC Davis is so big (some 2500 or so faculty I think) – it is not always easy or simple to find people even if you might have a connection to them.

So anyway, just a little commentary on how I find it fascinating to see for the first what was in a way right before my eyes.

#UCDavis to partner with the Beijing Genome Institute (BGI)

Well, it is now formal so I guess I can post about it here.  UC Davis is officially developing a genomics partnership with the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI).

For more on this breaking news see

Not much detail there I know – but in essence the plan is to build a partnership between UC Davis and BGI with BGI provided genomics and informatics expertise and capabilities and Davis providing biological expertise and diversity (of course, Davis has some genomics chops too and BGI does some biology but you probably get the point). 
For those who do not know, BGI is a relative newcomer on the block in terms of large scale genomics research institutes.  But by being new they have had a massive advantage in a way in that they are really the first to be developed as a “Second-generation Genome Center” having been built / developed with the new second generation sequencing systems at its core.  Thus while other large centers around the world have tried to adapt to the new second generation sequencing systems, BGI started from scratch and could build it’s enterprise around the new systems.  
I am excited about the possible connections with BGI though I confess I do not know a whole lot about the plans.  There have been lots of whisperings here at Davis about building a partnership with BGI and people have been a bit nervous about word getting out too early.  So, though I have heard some details I have not been an active part of the discussions.  However, whatever the plans are I am looking forward to interactions with BGI.  They are really pushing the frontiers of genome sequencing in many ways.  And despite the moans and groans from many people, I do not think genome sequencing is on a downward slope in any way.  For example, as a tool in studying microbes, genome sequencing still has many many years of use – after all there are hundreds of millions of microbial species that have yet to be studied and each one has lots of intraspecific diversity (e.g., across geography) to be characterized.  
And as a UC Davis faculty member I think BGI picked a great place to work with.  Davis has an almost unprecedented diversity of faculty working on some area in the life sciences – and these faculty come from across campus from the College of Biological Sciences, School of Medicine, Viticulture and Enology, School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, College of Engineering, School of Nursing, and College of Letters and Sciences.  In fact, you could say – in a way – UC Davis is a campus more dedicated to Life Sciences than almost any other place in the world.  
This development is just one of many that make me impressed with the new UC Davis Administration.    Ever since Chancellor Katehi came on board I have been pleased with almost every major initiative and development and administrative hire on campus.  Sure – the budget cuts from the California government hurt.  But in challenging times, you need great leadership.  And we certainly have it at UC Davis these days.  And if you think I am just sucking up, you should read some of the things I wrote about our previous administration.  I really am impressed here.  
I do not know what will happen with the BGI – UC Davis partnership.  Right now it is just a plan.  But I will do what I can to help it succeed and I am looking forward to interactions with BGI and the bright future at UC Davis. 

New #UCDavis Dean of the College of Biological Sciences: James E.K. Hildreth

Just announced a few minutes ago. The new Dean of the College of Biological Sciences at UC Davis is James Hildreth from Meharry Medical College.

Some tidbits about him:

What’s Lurking in Your (Work) Basement

Well, sad as it may be I finally made it into the basement in the building where I have worked for five + years – the Genome and Biomedical Sciences Facility (GBSF) at UC Davis (the Genome Center is in the same building).  There, down in the basement they were having an Open House for the CMGI – the Center for Molecular and Genomic Imaging.  I knew of some of the stuff they did but had never been down to see their facility and their, well, toys.  And it was really cool.

They also had a nice food spread upstairs on the first floor of our building that I discovered later.  The best part of this spread were the animal chocolates and carvings:

Anyway – just a little post here.  Oh, and they do some pretty cool science at the CMGI, including some interesting uses of CT, PET, SPECT, MRI, and more.   You just never know what you will find in the basement …