Richard Furuta is a faculty member at Texas A&M University where he is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Director of the Center for the Study of Digital Libraries, and Director of the Hypermedia Research Laboratory. His current areas of research are based in digital libraries.
Dr. Furuta's current areas of research include projects in digital libraries and digital humanities. Many of his current research projects are highly interdisciplinary. In the area of Digital Humanities his recent projects include the Cervantes Project, centered on the iconic author of Don Quixote, the Picasso Project, which is creating a digital reasoned catalog that already contains more than 10,000 of Picasso's art works, and the Nautical Archaeology Digital Library, in conjunction with the campus' Institute for Nautical Archaeology. He also is involved in the multi-institution Ensemble project, which will provide a portal to NSF's National Science Digital Library for the areas of computing.
Dr. Furuta has served on the JCDL Steering Committee since the initiation of the conference series in 2001. Before that he was a member of the steering committee for the ACM Digital Libraries Conference series, which joined with the IEEE ADL conference to form JCDL. He was involved in organizing one of the first conferences on digital libraries, which took place in Texas in 1994 and 1995. He was program chair of JCDL 2009 and of ACM Digital Libraries in 2000.
In addition to his conference-related activities, Dr. Furuta is one of the Editors in Chief of the International Journal on Digital Libraries, published by Springer.
Dr. Furuta is a Senior Member of IEEE, a member of IEEE-CS, and holds the ACM membership grade of Distinguished Engineer. He also is a member of ASIS&T. His professional society activities include service as chair of ACM SIGLINK (now SIGWEB) from 1993 to 1997; one of the sponsors of JCDL. He also served the ACM through ACM SIG Board and SIG Governing Board from 1997 to 2001. He has served on the TCDL Executive Committee and as First Vice Chair.
Dr. Furuta received the B.A. degree from Reed College in 1974, the M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Oregon in 1978, and the Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the University of Washington in 1986.
TCDL is the only professional organization serving the digital library research community that is international in scope and focused purely on digital libraries. For example, the two ACM groups that join with TCDL in sponsoring JCDL, while international in scope, include Digital Libraries as one of a wide set of interests. TCDL therefore plays the central role in development of the international community, in influencing the directions taken by the community, and in promoting the interests of the community to broader research arena. TCDL is especially well-positioned to ease collaboration, communication and coordination among the major digital library conferences, including JCDL, ICADL, and ECDL.
The Digital Libraries community has shown strong longevity, and the field has continued as a robust and developing area even after the conclusion of many of the initial large-scale funding initiatives worldwide. In many ways, Digital Libraries have become a central part of many organizations' information infrastructure. Questions common 15 years ago about whether realistic digital libraries could be achieved have been addressed, and to a large part recent debates about whether digital dissemination has the same academic recognition as print are becoming moot. The core community is changing and shifting, growing from its research basis in computer science, information science, and library science, to include an increasingly larger group of professionals who have the responsibility for producing content and supporting libraries in use. I have long advocated for a broad definition of what we do when we study digital libraries and I think it is critical for TCDL to embrace this breadth in order to continue to thrive.
As I write this position statement, it is only a few weeks before the start of the joint meeting of JCDL and ICADL in Australia. This is a watershed event for our community, much as was the formation of JCDL through the merging of the ACM DL and IEEE-CS ADL conferences ten years ago. This year's joint conference has required flexibility, compromise, adjustment, and, indeed, willingness to assume a greater degree of risk than would separate conferences. In doing so, the conference committees have demonstrated their commitment to the global digital libraries community.
This is an area where TCDL has played a significant role, and can play an even stronger role in the future. Beyond bringing together members of the international community, TCDL should serve as the locus for activities that sustain the community. Volunteer development--bringing a broader pool of volunteers into the leadership of TCDL--and recognition of service are two key aspects.
TCDL's unique position in the digital libraries research community will be crucial as the needs and opportunities in digital libraries continue to evolve. I would be honored to play a role.