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Penn Libraries News

Nicky Agate to Join the Penn Libraries as Assistant University Librarian for Research Data and Digital Scholarship

Photograph of Nicky Agate.

The Penn Libraries is pleased to announce that Nicky Agate has been named the inaugural Assistant University Librarian for Research Data and Digital Scholarship. 

In this newly created role, Agate will launch and direct the Libraries’ Center for Research Data and Digital Scholarship. The new Center will serve as a hub for textual and data analysis, data curation, data visualization, geographic information systems, software creation and management, web platform design, and digital start-ups across disciplines.

“Through deep engagement with Penn’s many research communities, the Center for Research Data and Digital Scholarship will advance the integration of knowledge and magnify Penn’s impact on society,” says Constantia Constantinou, H. Carton Rogers III Vice Provost and Director of Libraries. “We are delighted that Nicky will be joining us to help plan and implement a unified vision and strategy surrounding new modes of research and learning.”

Agate joins the Penn Libraries from Columbia University Libraries, where she has served as the Interim Director of Digital Scholarship since June 2019 and as the Assistant Director for Scholarly Communication and Projects since February 2018. In her roles at Columbia, Agate designed innovative forms of support for open scholarly communication infrastructure; oversaw the library publishing, digital scholarship, and scholarly communication programs; and supported a university-wide initiative to provide training on research computing for graduate students and postdocs. Agate also managed and expanded a digital scholarship team, hiring new staff in digital publishing, research and learning technology support, and scholarly communication support.

Agate previously held roles at the Modern Language Association, Humanities Commons, and ProQuest. She has played a major role in grant-funded projects supported by the Mellon Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Agate’s work has been or will soon be published in The MLA Guide to Scholarly Communication, Syllabus, and the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication, where she is also a member of the editorial board. Among her national and international professional service roles, Agate has served as the chair of the Ivy+ Digital Scholarship Working Group throughout the 2019-2020 academic year, the steering committee for the Force Scholarly Communication Institute, and she is a co-PI on the Mellon-funded HuMetricsHSS project, an initiative for rethinking humane indicators of excellence in academia, focused particularly on the humanities and social sciences (HSS).

Agate holds a doctorate in French literature from New York University; a master of fine arts in literary translation from the University of Iowa; and a bachelor’s degree in English and French literatures from the University of Glasgow and has completed professional courses in UX design and digital humanities. Her first day at Penn will be April 13.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Penn Libraries at this exciting time, as they deepen their commitment to supporting innovative forms of scholarship that are open, community-oriented, and collaborative,” Agate says. “I look forward to working with colleagues across the institution to help our faculty and students create, disseminate, and preserve knowledge in sustainable, open and equitable ways.”