University Librarian and Vice Provost of Digital Scholarship MacKenzie Smith is responsible for creating and leading the strategic vision of the UC Davis Library, one of the top 100 research university libraries in the nation. She oversees operations for UC Davis’ four main libraries: Peter J. Shields Library, the Physical Sciences & Engineering Library, the Carlson Health Sciences Library, and the Blaisdell Medical Library in Sacramento.
One of the nation’s leading experts in digital libraries, Smith has defined and implemented a strategic framework and organizational design that integrates traditional and digital library services. She has created new programs in online strategy, scholarly communications, digital scholarship, data management, institutional digital asset management, diversity, communications, and fundraising for the library. She has also led the library’s efforts to integrate digital resources and information technology at the highest level to better serve the UC Davis academic community now and in the future.
Smith is also responsible for launching the most significant capital project in the UC Davis Library’s history — a major space planning initiative for the library facilities on the Davis campus. A central focus of this multi-year project is rethinking and renovating Shields Library, which was last renovated in 1990, a time when the campus community was a fraction of its current size.
Building partnerships to advance research in the digital age
Under Smith’s leadership, the library has deepened its partnership with the UC Davis community, the UC system, and the national academic library community. Smith helped launch and oversee UC Davis’ Data Science Initiative and co-chaired the committee to define new data science academic degree programs. She also led university-wide initiatives in key digital areas such as research intelligence and data governance. Within the UC system, she led UC libraries’ system-wide initiatives to use technology for greater efficiencies. At a national level, she oversaw UC Davis’ participation in large-scale digitization initiatives, such as the Google Books initiative.
Identifying new opportunities in scholarly publishing and library operations
As a research fellow for the Creative Commons organization, Smith worked on intellectual property policy for scientific research data and advocacy for open access to scholarly research. In collaboration with the California Digital Library and other library partners around the country, Smith led the Pay It Forward project, a 2016 study funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation that shed new light on the financial viability of “gold” open access to scholarly journals. Smith has also led research to define opportunities for library technical operations, such as cataloging, to leverage the efficiencies of the Web.
The path to UC Davis
Prior to coming to UC Davis, Smith spent nearly three decades on the East Coast working at the libraries of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At both MIT and Harvard, Smith played a critical role in helping those universities adapt their libraries and research and teaching programs to the emerging technology of digital age. During that time, Smith also led the development of DSpace, the open source software platform for digital archives that is now used by hundreds of universities worldwide and is managed by a non-profit organization based in New York.
Originally from Seattle, Smith holds degrees from the University of Washington and The University of Chicago. She is a widely published national expert in information technology and digital knowledge management. Smith consults broadly in the library field, helping develop strategic plans to support digital research and data curation. She currently serves as chair of the University of California’s Council of University Librarians, sits on the National Technical Information Services advisory board, and has served on the Boards of the Corporation for Digital Scholarship, ORCID, and other organizations dedicated to creating efficient and effective access to knowledge.
Smith enjoys reading, rowing, and good wine, and is committed to advancing teaching, learning, and research through better use of technology and to transforming libraries to support 21st-century universities.