April 24, 2018

Marc Davis | Movers & Shakers 2003

The Fixer


Just show Marc Davis a problem and his eyes light up: it gets all the same creative juices flowing that used to inspire his sf stories, back when he still had spare time for writing.

He’s not a librarian, but he has worked with librarians to create WebWizard, a database-driven web application that weans his library’s users from Google by providing the same easy keyword access to more academically appropriate resources. In honoring WebWizard with the RUSA Gale Group Award, Kathleen Sullivan marveled that it “allows librarians to create anticipated and custom web-based research guides that access a broad range of resources and provide content as well as bibliographic information,” while also running link checks and providing use statistics.

When students were having a problem with inadequate storage space for their data files, Davis created an application called My Files, which operates on the library’s web page.

When librarians were dissatisfied with the mail to – based systems used to submit e-mail questions, he created Ask a Librarian (ASKAL), which, like WebWizard, he makes freely available.

As publisher for the library’s web site, Davis helped design its model, which permits “everyone in the organization, regardless of position or web experience, to function as authors and editors in developing web content.” The site was honored with an LJ netConnect
Award in 2002.

Davis just loves to fix things, loves to watch people use his solutions. “Almost every day brings a new observation that frames a problem in search of a solution or inspires a new idea that can be explored,” he says. He freely admits he’s a workaholic who writes code for fun, and he doesn’t write much fiction anymore. But that’s fine with him. “I’m more fulfilled by creating tangible products and spaces than by expressing myself verbally, and my position gives me an endless opportunity to do so.”




Current Position: Manager, Support Services, University Library, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Degree: BA, Liberal Studies, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 1975

Web Site: University of Nebraska at Omaha Library (library/unomaha.edu); Web Wizard (library.unomaha.edu/research/wizard)