November 21, 2017

Daniel Cornwall | Movers & Shakers 2008

On a Mission

Daniel Cornwall regards his work at the Alaska State Library as fundamentally moral. He is passionately committed to our right to know what our government is doing and to free access to information our taxes paid for. Formerly a government publications librarian, he believes documents librarians have a unique role in assuring “transparency and accountability in government”—knowing what information exists, they can “raise alarms” when it disappears.

Cornwall may be “humble and quiet,” as Stanford librarian Shinjoung Yeo calls him, but when public information is endangered, he “raises alarms” galore, on blogs, electronic lists, and Facebook.

Another threat to government information is invisibility, so Cornwall works with the American Library Association’s Government Documents Round Table to increase public awareness of what’s available. Because he is concerned about the future readability of digital documents, he led the Alaska State Library to adopt LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) technology for preservation.

Cornwall’s work helps libraries become what President Eisenhower called them: places where people “can freely seek the whole truth.”

Vitals

CURRENT POSITION Head of Information Services, Alaska State Library

DEGREE MLIS, University of Texas at Austin, 1996

BLOG alaskanlibrarian.blogspot.com; freegovinfo.info

PERSONAL HERO Thomas Merton

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