University of Cambridge > > Arcadia Lectures > The Social Life of Digital Libraries: the Second Arcadia Lecture

The Social Life of Digital Libraries: the Second Arcadia Lecture

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The digitization of libraries had a clear initial goal: to permit anyone to read the contents of collections anywhere and anytime. But universal access is only the beginning of what may happen to libraries and researchers in the digital age. Because machines as well as humans have access to the same online collections, a complex web of interactions is emerging. Digital libraries are now engaging in online relationships with other libraries, with scholars, and with software, often without the knowledge of those who maintain the libraries, and in unexpected ways. These digital relationships open new avenues for discovery, analysis, and collaboration.

This is the second annual Arcadia Lecture. For more information on the Arcadia Project please visit the project’s web site.

About the speaker

Daniel J. Cohen is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and Art History and the Director of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. He is coauthor of ‘Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web’ (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005), author of ‘Equations from God: Pure Mathematics and Victorian Faith’ (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007), and has published articles and book chapters on the history of mathematics and religion, the teaching of history, and the future of history in a digital age in journals such as the Journal of American History, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Rethinking History. He is an inaugural recipient of the American Council of Learned Societies’ Digital Innovation Fellowship. At the Center for History and New Media he has directed projects ranging from digital collections (September 11 Digital Archive) to scholarly software (the Zotero extension for the Firefox browser that enables users to manage bibliographic data while doing online research).

Professor Cohen received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton, his Master’s from Harvard, and his doctorate in history from Yale. He blogs at, tweets as @dancohen, and podcasts at

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