John Wilkin, Dean of Libraries and University Librarian - General Information

Dean of Libraries and University Librarian

John Wilkin
John Wilkin – Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian

John Wilkin assumed the position of Dean of Libraries and University Librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2013. In addition, he served as Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Designate at Illinois from February 2017 through January 2018. Previously, Wilkin served as Executive Director, HathiTrust and Associate University Librarian for Publishing and Technology; Interim Co-University Librarian; Associate University Librarian for Library Information Technology and Technical and Access Services; Head of the Digital Library Production Service; Head of the Humanities Text Initiative; and Data Services Librarian and English Selector at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He also spent two years at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville as their Systems Librarian for Information Services.

Phone: 217-333-0790
Fax: 217-244-4358



  • “Can Research Libraries Learn from Toynbee’s Study of History.” Talk delivered at Cornell University Library, April 20, 2015.
  • With Heather Christenson, “Intellectual Rights and the HathiTrust Collection,” in The Memory of the World in the Digital Age: Digitization and Preservation. Vancouver: UNESCO, 2012.
  • “Grounding Tomorrow’s Digital Library in Traditional Values: The Past, Present and Future of the HathiTrust Digital Library” in Rebooting the Academy, eds. Tim McCormick and Jeffrey Young. Chronicle of Higher Education, 2012. Available as ebook (e.g., Kindle).
  • “Bibliographic Indeterminacy and the Scale of Problems and Opportunities of ‘Rights’ in Digital Collection Building,” in February 2011 release of Ruminations (CLIR),
  • Courant, Paul N. and John Wilkin. “Building ‘Above-Campus’ Library Services.” EDUCAUSE Review 45, no. 4 (2010): 74.
  • “Into the future: The challenge and promise of technology for digital libraries.” Journal of Library Science in China, v. 1 (2009) pp. 184-189.
  • “HathiTrust and the Google Deal.” Library Journal 134, no. 1 (2009): 142.
  • Hodges, Patricia, Maria Bonn, Mark Stuart Sandler, W. John Price-Wilkin, and University of Michigan. Digital Libraries a Vision for the 21st Century: a Festschrift in Honor of Wendy Lougee on the Occasion of Her Departure from the University of Michigan. SPO Scholarly Monograph Series. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Scholarly Publishing Office, the University of Michigan University Library, 2003.
  • “Enhancing Access to Digital Image Collections: System Building and Image Processing,” pp. 101- 118 in Moving theory into practice : digital imaging for libraries and archives, eds. Anne Kenney and Oya Rieger. Research Libraries Group, Mountain View, CA: 2000.
  • Langland, William. The “Piers Plowman” Electronic Archive, Vol. 1: Corpus Christi College, Oxford, MS 201 (F) (SEENET: Society for Early English and Norse Electronic Texts). Edited by Robert Adams, Hoyt N. Duggan, John Price-Wilkin and Thorlac Turville-Petre. University of Michigan Press, 2000.
  • The Making of America II Testbed Project: A Digital Library Service Model, co-authored with Bernie Hurley, Howard Besser, and Merrilee Profitt. Washington: The Digital Library Federation, December 1999.
  • Crist, Margo and John Wilkin. “The Access Context.” Collection Management 22, no. 3-4 (1998): 169–176.
  • “Just-in-time Conversion, Just-in-case Collections.” D-Lib Magazine 3, no. 5 (1997).
  • “The feasibility of wide-area textual analysis systems in libraries: a practical analysis.” Literary texts in an electronic age: scholarly implications and library services. Proceedings of the 1994 Clinic on Library Applications of Data Processing, 10-12 Apr 1994. Edited by Brett Sutton, Illinois University at Urbana-Champaign, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, 1994, pp.113ff.
  • “A Gateway Between the World-Wide Web and PAT: Exploiting SGML Through the Web.” Public-Access Computer Systems Review 5, no. 7 (1994): 5–27.
  • “Using the World-Wide Web to Deliver Complex Electronic Documents: Implications for Libraries.” Public-Access Computer Systems Review v5, Issue 3 (1994) pp.5-21.
  • “A Campus-Wide Textual Analysis Server: Projects, Prospects, and Problems,” in Eighth Annual Conference of the UW Centre for the New OED and Text Research: Screening for Words, Proceedings of the Conference. (1992) pp. 123-138.
  • “Text Files in RLG Academic Libraries: A Survey of Support and Activities.” Journal of Academic Librarianship 17, no. 1 (1991): 19–25.
  • “Text files in libraries: present foundations and future directions.” Library Hi Tech, (1991) v9, issue 3, pp. 7-44.


  • With Heather Christenson, “Intellectual Rights and the HathiTrust Collection,” presented at the 2012 UNESCO Memory of the World conference.
  • “HathiTrust’s Past, Present and Future,” opening remarks for the HathiTrust Constitutional Convention, October 2011. present-and-future.
  • “Scholarship, Teaching and Learning in the Age of Google Book Search and HathiTrust: The Michigan Difference?” 2010 Kanazawa Institute of Technology, July 2010.
  • “Business Models for the Interdependent Digital Collection: The HathiTrust v.1 and v.2 Business Models.” 156th Association of Research Libraries Membership Meeting, Seattle, WA, April 2010.
  • “What is HathiTrust And How Can It Make A Difference? ‘Sourcing And Scaling’ Brought To The Collective Collection.” 2010 Brendel Lecture, Brown University, April 2010.
  • “Thinking and Acting Globally to Better Serve Local Needs in the Michigan Digital Library,” presented at the 2010 ALCTS “Living Digital” Symposium, Boston, January 2010.
  • “It all depends…. The challenge of associating rights with content,” presented at the March 2007 RLG Programs symposium.
  • “Massive Digitization Projects: An Update on the Google Book Search Digitization,” presented at the 2006 JISC/CNI Conference, July 2006. [Note: This is one of many presentations on the digitization effort, most of which include a significant component of discussion of likely impacts of the effort.]
  • “Three Big Ideas Transforming Scholarly Communication: The Impact of Googlization,” presented at the 2005 SPARC-ACRL Forum, ALA Annual.
  • “Collaborative interoperable full-text searching: Inter-institutional approaches to interoperability,” presented at the spring 2002 DLF Forum.


Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson
Dean of Libraries, University Librarian, and Professor of Library Administration
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
230 Main Library, 1408 West Gregory Drive, Urbana, Illinois 61801


MLS (School of Library and Information Science), University of Tennessee, 1986
MA (English), University of Virginia, 1980
BA (Literature; Education), Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio, 1979


Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2013-present)

  • Responsible for the leadership of the University Library, the largest public university research library in the United States with a budget in excess of $37 million and a staff of more than 500.

Executive Director, HathiTrust and Associate University Librarian for Publishing and Technology, University of Michigan (2008-2013) 

  • Continued responsibility (see below) for University Library, Library Information Technology division, Google digitization, and participation on the Library’s executive leadership team (see below). Added responsibility for UX Department (user research and interface design) and Learning Technologies Incubation Group (integration of services with learning environments).
  • In 2008, assumed role as Executive Director of HathiTrust, guiding budget, operations and development of partnership. By the end of HathiTrust’s third year, grew collection to nearly 10 million volumes and guided development of key policies and technologies.
  • In 2012, assumed responsibility for Michigan Publishing (MPublishing) division, including the University of Michigan Press, electronic journal publishing activities, Open Access monograph publishing activities, digital projects, Deep Blue (Michigan’s institutional repository), the Copyright Office, and the Text Creation Partnership.

Interim Co-University Librarian (2006-2007)

Associate University Librarian for Library Information Technology and Technical and Access Services, University of Michigan (2002-2008)

  • Responsible for two of the then three divisions of the University Library. Library Information Technology then included five units that provided critical technological infrastructure to the Library: Core Services (supporting system administration and system integration); Desktop Support Services (providing desktop support for staff and patrons, and support for Library networks); Digital Library Production Service (engaged in building digital library systems and providing digital conversion services); Library Systems (supporting the Library’s LMS and associated systems); and Web Systems (responsible for the Library’s general web presence).
  • In late 2004, added responsibility for Technical and Access Services, including: Acquisitions and Serials Cataloging; Cooperative Access Services (i.e., ILL and document delivery); Monograph Cataloging; and general metadata support. Participate on the Library’s Executive Council and, in this capacity, play a key role in all University Library budget, policy, management, and leadership issues.
  • Coordinated all phases of Michigan’s large-scale digitization effort with Google, including negotiation of contract terms and Michigan’s portion of implementation. The resulting effort was intended to convert the entire 8 million volume collection (now approx. 10 million volumes) from the University of Michigan libraries.

Head, Digital Library Production Service, University of Michigan (1995-2002) 

  • Managed the Digital Library Production Service (DLPS) from its inception in 1996. DLPS is responsible for services focusing primarily on full-text resources, continuous tone images, and bitonal images. Grew DLPS from approximately 5 FTE to approximately 25 FTE. Responsibilities include budgeting, personnel management and performance review, planning, and policy setting.

Head, Humanities Text Initiative, University of Michigan (1994-1996)

  • Created and coordinated the online initiative sponsored by the UM Press, the School of Information and the University Library. Humanities Text Initiative activities included text creation, systems development, education, technical direction of campus SGML initiatives.

Systems Librarian for Information Services, University of Virginia (1992-1994)

  • Library-wide position responsible for services and programs to meet information technology needs of Library patrons. Responsibilities included: operations management for the University’s Internet information servers, coordination of the development of the University Library’s electronic centers, including the Electronic Text Center, the Digital Image Center, and the Social Science Data Center, and general system administration. Responsible for planning and organization of staff training using new technologies, and implementing other new services and technologies as appropriate. While at the University of Virginia, provided technical guidance in support of SGML encoding for the University’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities.

Data Services Librarian and English Selector, University of Michigan (1988-1992)

Research Library Resident, University of Michigan (1986-1988)


Copyright Review Management System, U.S. and World (2011-2014)

  • Participating investigator for $948,122 grant from IMLS to create a distributed copyright review management system for non-US publications.

CLIR/DLF Data Curation Fellowship (2010-2014)

  • Secured funding for UM Library data post-doctoral fellows to assist grant U-M PIs in developing data management plans and managing data.

Validating Quality in Large-scale Digitization (2010-2012)

  • Participating investigator in grant to determine metrics for characterizing quality in large-scale digitization.

2011 LITA award for Outstanding Communication in Library & Information Technology

Feasibility Study for a National Science Foundation Open-Access Publication Repository (2009-2011)

  • Co-PI to conduct a feasibility study for the implementation of an open access NSF publication repository.

Copyright Review Management System, U.S. (2008-2010)

  • PI for $578,955 grant from IMLS to create a distributed copyright review management system for US works published between 1923-1963.

Creating an Academic Hotbot: Revealing the Hidden Web (2001-2002)

  • Author/PI for $150,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for an OAI-enabled discovery service (which eventually became OAIster).

A Distributed Digital Library of Mathematical Monographs (2000-2003)

  • Primary author and co-PI for $315,701 grant from the NSF for support to the University of Michigan and Cornell University (and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft support to Göttingen State University and Library) for the implementation of an interoperability mechanism for the three participating digital library systems.

Making of America IV, the American Voice (1999-2001)

  • Primary author and organizer for $420,000 grant to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for conversion of approximately 7,500 19th century US imprint monographs.

Frye Leadership Institute (inaugural class of 2000)

Sun Academic Equipment Grant, U of M Digital Humanities Project (1999)

  • Sun AEG program grant for $230,000 of equipment to support publicly available digital collections.

Middle English Compendium (1997-1999)

  • Primary author and principal investigator for successful $325,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant to convert the Middle English Dictionary, mount it online, and create a new, supporting reference work (the HyperBibliography of Middle English Prose and Verse, conceived by Prof. Frances McSparran).


University of Michigan, School of Information

  • In the 1995-1996 academic year, taught two courses on the application of SGML for information organization and retrieval. In 1996-1997 taught one advanced course in the application of SGML to humanities resources, focusing on special problems of encoding, such as complex editorial projects and lexicography.

Rare Book School, 1994 and 1993

  • One-week (40 hour) courses at the Rare Book School (University of Virginia) in electronic formats for rare books environment, focusing on creating viable data and networked access.


Digital Preservation Network (DPN) Executive Committee (2013-present)

Advisory Board for the Berkeley Law Digital Library Copyright Project (2011-present)

HathiTrust Executive Committee (2008-present) and HathiTrust Board of Governors (2013-present)

  • The Executive Committee was (until mid-2012) the primary governing body in HathiTrust, bearing final responsibility for the activities and functions of the HathiTrust operations and for the partnership, as well as for the long-term integrity and accessibility of deposited materials. The Executive Committee was replaced by a Board of Governors, on which I serve in an ex-officio role.

University of Michigan Blue Ribbon Panel on Research Data Strategy (2010-2011)

  • Charged by Dan Atkins, Michigan’s AVP for Research Cyberinfrastructure, the Blue Ribbon Panel was asked to review the complex issues involved in support for data and to help the University of Michigan develop a plan to manage data.

Research Libraries Group Partnership Council (2008-2011)

  • Served as part of Council responsible for advisory role to RLG Partnership, advising the Vice President of OCLC Research and the Chief Strategist for OCLC.

UM Decennial Accreditation: The University’s Knowledge Environment and Roles of Research, Professional and Creative Activities (2008-2010)

  • As part of Michigan’s decennial accreditation review, worked as part of committee that explored the role of research, professional and creative practices at the University. Contributed significant section to final report.

Ad Hoc Task Force to Review the Proposed OCLC Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records (2008-2009)

  • The ARL Executive Committee established an Ad Hoc Task Force to review the OCLC record use policy and identify issues of particular interest to research libraries.

ARL Digital Repository Issues Task Force (2008-2009)

  • Convened to evaluate trends, contextualize current activities among ARL member libraries and recommend leadership roles and activities.