Library Journal recognizes Sherwood as a ‘Data Literacy Leader’
Author: Matthew Cook
Emily Sherwood

Librarians working in digital scholarship regularly face two challenges: Staying current with the ever-changing tools and methods and increasing the capacity to provide support. In other words, how do they learn and teach all things digital? 

At the River Campus Libraries, Emily Sherwood, director of the Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL), took the lead in developing a community that would help build data literacy in central and western New York. Sherwood’s efforts, and collaboration with librarians at Colgate, Cornell, and Syracuse University, became the New York Carpentries Library Consortium. Her work with the consortium is also among the reasons she has been honored as a Data Literacy Leader in Library Journal’s “2020 Movers & Shakers.”

“Emily is a perfect combination of communicator, trailblazer, innovator, and relationship builder,” says Mary Ann Mavrinac, vice provost and Andrew H. and Janet Neilly Dean of the University of Rochester Libraries. “She adds value to anything she touches. We are so proud and grateful to have her on our team.”

Day to day, Sherwood’s work involves helping faculty and students incorporate digital tools and methods into their teaching and research. Often, they approach her with “problems or kernels of ideas,” which she helps them better understand and begin tackling.

Sherwood and her team recently created several virtual experiences that contributed to celebrating the Class of 2020. Students were able to take a start-to-finish video tour of Rush Rhees Library’s tower, enjoy a 360°-view at the top, and then “fly” down to the George Eastman statue on the Eastman Quad.

Another recent project Sherwood helped with was a website for the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ annual Senior Design Day. Paul Funkenbusch, associate dean of the Hajim School, explains that prior to Sherwood’s involvement, there was debate about whether they should hold an online Design Day at all.

“Emily came in and said, ‘We can do this,’” says Funkenbusch. “She gave us the reassurance and sense of calm that the project was doable. Then once we actually started, she served as our main contact for the website’s content, structure, and all the details that got the site up and functioning as it should. And it looks beautiful.”

So, what’s next for Sherwood? Studio X.

Studio X is the University’s new hub for students, faculty, and staff to experience, explore, and experiment with extended reality (XR).

“My hope is that Studio X becomes a hub for interdisciplinary inquiry and engagement,” says Sherwood. “We already have a large number of researchers across campus engaged in XR. I can’t wait to see what our community creates with access to the expertise, equipment, and infrastructure needed to support these emerging technologies.”

Library Journal’s "Movers & Shakers" are “the people shaping the future of libraries.” This year’s cohort included 46 individuals recognized for their work as change agents, innovators, digital developers, educators, advocates, and community builders. Sherwood’s recognition puts her in the company of four other River Campus Libraries honorees: Julia Maddox, founder and director of the Barbara J. Burger iZone (2019), Lindsay Cronk, head of collection strategies and scholarly communications (2017), Sarah Pugachev, director of research initiatives (2017), and Emily Clasper, director of service strategies (2012).

To work with or for information about on the Digital Scholarship Lab, contact Emily Sherwood at Enjoy reading about the University of Rochester Libraries? Subscribe to Tower Talk.