From TDL Chairperson Dana Rooks:
Dear TDL Colleagues,
It is with pride and excitement for Mark McFarland and, hopefully forgivable regrets on my part, that I announce that Mark will leave his position as Director of the Texas Digital Library to assume a new role with the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas – Austin.
Thanks to Mark’s loyalty and commitment to TDL and the generosity of his new Dean, Mark will remain in his TDL role part time pending the recruitment and appointment of a new Director for TDL.
I have known, respected and worked closely with Mark for many years. Mark has worked in libraries, in one capacity or another, for most of his life. He started out shelving books in the Bizzell Memorial library in Norman, Oklahoma and then went to work in the Archives of the Western History Collections, also in Norman. So, before he even got to Texas, where he got his MLIS, he had already been working in libraries for years. He completed the MLIS degree while working at various positions in the UT Library system on the Austin campus.
I have known Mark since the TexShare days. In those early days, when libraries were struggling to find the best ways to pool resources and provide access to electronic information, Mark was already working with colleagues at UT to help provide cutting edge tools like Gopher. In addition, he was helping train library colleagues all across the State in all kinds of libraries as we all prepared to take on the huge challenges of working with an ever-increasing amount of digital information. Mark and his team, which consisted mostly of Ladd Hanson at that time, provided the technical leadership, expertise and technical assistance for all of us to actually run those first databases on TexShare hardware at UT. As TexShare matured and vendor services became more sensitive to our needs, we transitioned from a model of running the hardware ourselves, to allowing the vendor to run it and the technical team became more focused on providing websites and services in direct support of user needs.
All the while that Mark was working with TexShare, he was also working with colleagues in the UT System schools helping to shape electronic services for them and providing similar kinds of support. Mark is an avid collaborator and has always worked hard to advance libraries, and push them forward toward into the digital world.
Once the TexShare and UT System digital libraries became established, Mark began working to establish the Texas Digital Library – which is focused on tools and services to assist librarians, faculty and students in the discovery, dissemination, preservation and use of online information. TDL is in it’s 9th year and, again, Mark has worked with colleagues throughout the State to build a consortium of libraries and librarians who are committed to advancing library services and values. Along the way, Mark has helped form other organizations (the Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group, The Texas Conference on Digital Libraries, the Digital Preservation Network) and has worked with many others around the country and the world to advance the aims of next generation scholarship and research.
We will never be able to adequately acknowledge all of Mark’s significant contributions to Texas libraries. He promises he will not stop his involvement with libraries. We are very grateful that we will be able to rely on Mark as needed as we make this transition to new leadership of TDL.
I will be following up with details on the search process for a new Director very shortly. Please send your thanks and your best wishes to Mark as he begins his exciting new responsibilities.
Dana C. Rooks
Chair, Texas Digital Library Governing Board