MacKenzie Smith

portrait of MacKenzie Smith

Position Title
University Librarian and Vice Provost of Digital Scholarship


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 academic research libraries in the nation.

One of the nation’s leading experts in digital libraries, Smith has defined and implemented a strategic framework and organizational design that integrates digital resources and information technology with traditional library services to better serve the UC Davis academic community now and in the future. She has created new programs in online strategy, scholarly communicationsdigital scholarshipdata managementinstitutional digital asset management, diversity, communications, and fundraising for the library.

Smith also 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.

She is 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.

As vice provost of digital scholarship, Smith defines and leads major university initiatives involving information technology, data science and informatics, data governance, knowledge management, research computing and digital publishing.

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 continues to oversee UC Davis’ Data Science Initiative, which supports research in every discipline and coordinates with data technology and analytics units across the university. She also co-chaired the committee to define the university’s new data science academic program. Within the UC system, she led UC libraries’ system-wide initiatives to use technology for greater efficiencies. At a national level, she oversees 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 science. 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; she is continuing that work with projects to accelerate that publishing transformation. 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 the digital age. At MIT, Smith also led the development of DSpace, the open source software platform for digital archives, now used by hundreds of universities worldwide and managed by a non-profit organization.

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 has chaired the University of California’s Council of University Librarians, and served on the National Technical Information Services advisory board, the boards of the Corporation for Digital Scholarship, ORCID, UC Press, the Global Council of OCLC (a library cooperative providing shared technology services, original research and programs to the global library community), 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.

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