The New Andrew W. Mellon Curator

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Kevin MartinKevin J. Martin, the founding Curator of Digital Collections and the department head of the recently formed Department of Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives (AVD), has been named the Andrew W. Mellon Curator for Audiovisual and Digital Collections. On the approval of its board of directors, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation extended this title to Mr. Martin in a recent letter to Hagley Museum and Library’s Executive Director, David A. Cole.

Martin arrived at Hagley in 2007 to start Hagley Library’s digitization program then housed in the Pictorial Collections Department. Before that, he had been the Drexel University Archivist. Based on dramatic online interest in its digitized material, the library created a separate department for Digital Collections, making Martin its curator, retaining responsibility for Hagley’s digitization program, but also taking on the creation of online exhibits, web archiving, online discovery tools, and creating a preservation program for born-digital documents so that they will remain accessible for decades to come.

When Jon Williams, the Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Prints and Photographs, retired in January this year, the library merged management of Hagley’s pictorial collections and its digital program, creating AVD, with Martin as its head. The new department pools the considerable talents of Audiovisual Archivist Laurie Rizzo, Digital Archivist Abby Adams, Audiovisual Reference Archivist Lynsey Sczechowicz, and Reference Assistant Alexander Miller. Digitization requests and projects often target items in Hagley’s vast audiovisual collections, numbering about 2 million items, thereby underscoring the synergies between them.

The Mellon Foundation’s recognition of Martin comes as the digital revolution continues to transform discovery of and access to Hagley’s collections. Reference requests this year have risen by a meteoric 50% over 2012. New endeavors are aimed to improving access to audiovisual and digital collections still further. Another involves the digitization of videotapes susceptible to the effects of aging.

The library is grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for its recognition of Martin’s contributions as well as the Hagley’s approach to its collections.