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As part of ProQuest’s commitment to support graduate education and engage the next generation of information professionals, the Roger K. Summit Scholarship is awarded annually to a graduate student enrolled in an accredited library or information sciences program that demonstrates understanding of digital information services, academic achievement, and interest in the field of electronic information services.
Samuel Dodson will be awarded the Roger K. Summit Scholarship on June 14 at the Special Libraries Association's annual conference.
Samuel describes his path to librarianship as serendipitous. As an undergrad at Lewis & Clark College, Samuel double majored in computer science and psychology and spent four years exploring advanced topics like human-computer interaction and parallel computing as a research assistant. After earning his bachelor's degree, Samuel volunteered at Longview Public Library, where he created a digital literacy program for students, which grew into one of the most popular programs at the library. He also participated in the preservation of the historical collection of photographs by digitizing thousands of cultural and historical photographs for the library archive, making them more accessible to the community. This experience inspired his pursuit of librarianship as a profession.
Focusing his graduate work at the University of British Columbia on studying and identifying the problems caused by legacy technologies and preventing the degradation of digital records by creating digital archives, Samuel plans to apply his research to connect people to information through technology and shares how the transition to digital libraries makes now the most compelling time to become an information professional.
What are your thoughts, being named this year’s recipient of the Roger K. Summit Scholarship?
It is a great honor to receive the Roger K. Summit Scholarship. I would like to thank all of my advisors and instructors, I would not be in this position without their efforts and support. I would also like to thank ProQuest for providing this generous scholarship.
What inspired you to pursue a career in library and information science?
I enjoyed volunteering at the public library and found that the library plays an important role within the community, but I recognized that libraries are facing many challenges, including difficulties integrating new technologies into the profession. I saw that as an opportunity to utilize my skills to contribute to librarianship and began exploring the idea of pursuing a master’s degree.
What do you find most exciting about the future of library and information work?
I am looking forward to the difficult task of incorporating technology into the profession and seeing how computer hardware and software will connect people with information in libraries of the future. I am especially interested in the development of digital learning environments. As more learning occurs online, educators must take advantage of the capabilities of the World Wide Web. Enriching materials with new media will provide novel ways for students to interact with, and analyze, content. We must move beyond poor emulations of paper-based reading materials and develop tools that take full advantage of the affordances of digital technologies. I think that this is an important field in which we must invest our efforts.
Tell us how you’re combining your dual master degree program in Library Science and Archival Studies.
I have focused my coursework within the dual program on the design of digital libraries and the digitization and preservation of materials. I am applying this knowledge at the University of British Columbia Digitization Centre as a digitization assistant, where I am currently designing digital learning environments.
What advice do you have for an LIS student?
What is the best career advice you have received?
“If something that seems like work to other people doesn’t seem like work to you, that’s something you’re well suited for.” – Paul Graham
What do you plan to do next?
I hope to find a career where I can teach and continue my research on the development of digital libraries. In my immediate future, I look forward to completing my master’s thesis on computer–supported collaborative learning environments and pursuing a PhD in information studies.
What can you tell us about yourself that we might never guess?
For several years, I worked as a photojournalist and reported on events throughout North America. While I am no longer a professional, I continue to enjoy photography very much.