April 19, 2018

Patricia K. Galloway | LJ/ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award Winner 2015

ljx151102webGallowayRarely can one find a professor with such a wide and profound knowledge of the fields and disciplines that relate to applying digital technology to development of cultural archives. Professor Patricia K. Galloway, of the iSchool at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, takes these achievements several levels higher with her record of original and broad scholarship; her many contributions to research and new knowledge in her practice and belief system of cultural archives and historiography; and the roster of current and former students she has led, instructed, and greatly inspired. Together, these achievements moved the judges to name her the winner of the 2015 Library Journal/ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award, sponsored by Rowman & Littlefield.

Galloway’s teaching reaches far beyond her classroom. She is and has been an adviser, committee chair and member, mentor, and close friend to those she has taught. She has used her vast experience in administering, managing, and leading projects for institutions and states to enrich her sessions with real experience that offers vision few teachers can match.

Inspiring students

Sarah Buchanan, a former student and advisee of Galloway’s calls her “a remarkable educator and a change agent who has mentored several master’s and doctoral graduates into digital archivist and data management positions that were once rare.” Buchanan calls it “a sign of [Galloway’s] abilities and skills as a teacher” that many of her students are now “carrying out innovative programs in the area of digital archiving through their work at universities, companies, and governments at all levels.”

“She continues to make herself available as a resource whenever we have questions or are seeking insight on issues surrounding museums…. Her focus on student learning and the practical, meaningful application of this learning is always evident,” writes Rachel Winston, a recent MSIS graduate of the Texas program.

Galloway’s teaching at Texas has included such courses as Introduction to Electronic and Digital Records, Lifecycle Metadata for Digital Objects, Problems in the Permanent Retention of Electronic Records, Appraisal and Selection of Records, Historical Museums: Context and Practice, and the more basic Introduction to Information Studies and Information in Social and Cultural Context. Since coming to UT, Galloway has created a sequence of courses in digital archives and others in archives and museum studies and has worked with faculty colleagues to create others.

“As a teaching assistant for two of Dr. Galloway’s courses, I have witnessed her exemplary teaching methods. Her seminar-style courses welcome student inquiry and discussion. Challenging, humorous, and always at the forefront of digital archives policies and events, [she] accomplishes the incredible feat of uniting theory with praxis. She never loses sight that students must engage with information science concepts for career development,” says Pearl Ko, who earned her Texas MSIS this year.

The research record and agenda

Galloway recently wrote about her research plans, building on a massive record of earlier research efforts and publications. The trajectory of her research, she says, has remained constant.

“I continue to focus on several aspects of digital archiving as a longitudinal practice by individuals and by cultural institutions, the infrastructure of digital archiving including platform environment…as well as beginning to investigate the optimum software development tempos and techniques for reliable and trustworthy digital repositories. I will work on developing means by which secure repositories may share sensitive materials more precisely with stakeholders and on preserving digital objects over time by individuals as well as institutions,” Galloway writes. “I am currently developing further the work that I and colleagues did to look toward the importance of considering the digital archival repository as a significant part of the meta-infrastructure of the world of digital records, one that requires more stability than environments in which digital records are in active use.”

This work includes investigating the conditions around the development of this archival infrastructure in an open source environment, examining both the DSpace and the more recent Archivematica projects through their versioning environments. She is investigating changes in archival theory resulting from a dozen years of work at UT (on the iSchool DSpace repository) that “have demonstrated movement in the ‘code’ of archival theory and the thinking around digital preservation.”

The Central State Hospital (CSH) project in which she participates with two colleagues under a three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has added two new threads to Galloway’s research schedule. She is working on a survey of state archives in the United States and their actual hardware, software, and staffing environments. The plan is to produce open source applications for use by state repositories. The CSH project has been helped by Galloway’s experience in the 1990s establishing a system for opening digitized records of the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission that allowed virtual redaction driven by authentication. She is currently writing a comparison of the two projects and changes that have both historical and ethical elements.

Galloway’s research on personal record keeping has resulted in her paper at the 2014 Personal Digital Archiving conference. That paper is nearly ready for publication, but she needs some additional investigation first.

“I am beginning to see a broad trend already being reported…in which people may over time begin to resist innovation.”

Seeing a smart, simplified future

That is not the only trend that Galloway observes that complicates the tech-saturated visions of the future in common use. “In the Seventies, we got to personal computers. Everyone was really excited, and they got an Apple and all the devices…,” says Galloway. “At first they had to go through a computer to get all the things. Now they are down to the smartphone. In the past most people didn’t keep many records. Now Facebook and the like are keeping and stealing all their records to make money. I’m teaching students how to get them back, but many don’t care. All they want they get through [their phone], instant communication, connectivity, and relief from the loneliness caused by people moving around so much.”

“We are going to go back to a world in which we don’t have computers,” says Galloway. “I’m not sure the smartphone is all we’ll need, but it is all we’ll really want. If the people need something more than a smartphone, they will come to the library. I can see that libraries are beginning to realize a much broader role ahead than librarians ever thought.”

Teachable moments

Galloway is one of the most productive and vast researchers and writers in archives and anthropology, which has added hugely to the dimensions of her teaching.

“What I bring to the understanding of the digital world is that I have personally experienced the old equipment, software, environments—and know we must pay attention to that beginning. In the classroom, when students open up an old computer and try to undertake the naming of parts so they can understand the real materiality of that environment, they are instantly taken to a strange place [in which] all they thought they knew is brought into question. Arm’s length is not close enough to understand technology, and lack of history prevents understanding the patterns that keep repeating,” Galloway ­asserts.

Galloway’s own rich education began with a BA with honors in French from Millsaps College, Jackson, MS, continuing with an MA in comparative literature from the University of North Carolina; summer school in Romanesque art/history at the Université de Poitiers, France; an acting program at the Goodman School in Chicago; a 1973 University of North Carolina (UNC) PhD in comparative literature; and study in computational linguistics at the University of Pisa, Italy, culminating in a Certificate in Data Processing and finally her 2004 UNC PhD in ­Anthropology.

With more space we could more completely display Patricia K. Galloway’s incredibly intensive and varied experience as an archival theorist, scholar, researcher, teacher. Though she sums it up herself this way:

“I think it is very important to work with students,” she says. “The beauty of all that I have done is that I have an unending supply of stories for class. They make what I’m teaching stick in students’ heads.”

Library Journal would like to thank this year’s judges and ALISE representatives: C.A. Copeland, PhD, School of Library and Information Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia; LJ Editorial Director Rebecca T. Miller; Suzie Allard, Associate Dean for Research, College of Communication & Information; Professor, School of Information Sciences; Director, Center for Information & Communication Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and winner of LJ’s 2013 Teaching Award; Clara M. Chu, Director and Mortenson Distinguished Professor, Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, University of Illinois at Urbana; and Charles Harmon, Executive Editor of award sponsor Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group

This article was published in Library Journal's November 15, 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

John N. Berry III About John N. Berry III

John N. Berry III (jberry@mediasourceinc.com) is Editor-at-Large, LJ. Berry joined the magazine in 1964 as Assistant Editor, becoming editor-in-Chief in 1969 and serving in that role until 2006.



  1. Well Deserved! One of my favorite courses while earning my MSIS was Dr. Galloway’s Historical Museums: Context and Practice class. Always looked forward to taking her courses and very glad to see her recognition.