Trevor Owens looking over his shoulder in his former cube at The Library of Congress, a visualization of all of LC’s MARC records visible in the background.

Award winning inside the beltway bit-level philologist, feral librarian, digital historiographer, open source pragmatist, pragmatic digital preservationist, primary source theorist, digital cultural heritage strategist, sudo archivist, alt-academic, accidental information technologist, reluctant bureaucrat, former curator of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ , Martians and Carl Sagan, professional emailer.

More descriptively, I work on digital library issues at IMLS, I blog about video games and the past on Play the Past, I teach courses for American University’s public history program on digital history and on digital curation for the University of Maryland.

Below is a bunch of stuff about me in the third person in case you need to copy and paste text of a bio about me for some reason.

Trevor Owens serves as the Senior Program Officer responsible for the development of the national digital platform portfolio for the Office of Library Services in the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This involves providing expertise on grant programs and other initiatives relating to ongoing development of digital library infrastructure and services nationwide.

In this role he steers an overall strategy encompassing research, grant making, and policy agendas, as well as communications initiatives, in support of the development of national digital services and resources in libraries. He specifically responsible for envisioning, enacting and leading grant-making priorities related to national digital platform development within the National Leadership Grant Program for Libraries, the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program and the State Library Grant Program.

Alongside these responsibilities in the Office of Library Services he also provides expertise agency-wide on digital and technology policy matters, in particular, those relating to Open Government and Open Data Initiatives.

Teaching: Trevor teaches graduate seminars on digital history and digital curation for American University’s history department and the University of Maryland’s iSchool. An essay on his course appeared in Debates in the Digital Humanities

Previous Experience: From 2010-2015, Trevor served as a Digital Archivist with the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) in the Office of Strategic Initiatives at the Library of Congress. Where he played a key role in defining national strategy for digital collecting and preservation. In this respect, he contributed to Preserving.exe Report: Toward a National Strategy for Preserving Software and Science at Risk: Toward a National Strategy for Preserving Online Science. He also serves as a co-chair for the National Digital Stewardship Alliance’s Infrastructure working group and as a project manager for the open source Viewshare cultural heritage collection data visualization tool.

In 2013, he served as the Special Curator for an expansive online collection and thematic exhibition Finding Our Place in the Cosmos: From Galileo to Sagan and Beyond. The exhibition features over 300 items, 18 thematic essays, and a range of resources for k-12 teachers. The project also resulted in A Draft Guide for Digital Collection Hypertexts, which has been broadly used to inform the composition of online exhibitions at a range of institutions.

Before joining the Library of Congress he was the community lead for the Zotero project  at the Center for History and New Media and before that managed outreach for the Games, Learning, and Society Conference.

Education: Trevor has a doctorate in social science research methods and educational technology from the Graduate School of Education at George Mason University. Trevor’s research focuses on the history and design of online community software systems, video games and culture, and software tools for humanities scholarship. His training is in the history of science, digital history and research methods in the social sciences. Trevor holds a bachelor’s degree in the history of science from the University of Wisconsin, and a master’s degree in American history with an emphasis on digital history from George Mason University.

Publications: His work has appeared in Curator: The Museum Journal, Digital Humanities Quarterly, The Journal of Digital Humanities,  D-Lib,  Simulation & Gaming, Science Communication, Cultural Studies of Science Education and On the Horizon. He is currently finishing a book on the history of online community software platforms for Peter Lang. He also wrote a book for Arcadia Press about the history of Fairfax County told through postcards.

Awards: In 2014 the Society for American Archivists gave him the Archival Innovator Award, an award granted annually  to recognize the archivist, repository, or organization that best exemplifies the “ability to think outside the professional norm.” In 2009 Read Write Web identified him as one of 50 Semantic Web Pros, and the history department at George Mason University granted him the C. W. Bright Pixel Prize for the Best History and New Media Project. In 2006 he won the Ruth Knatz Memorial Prize, an award granted by the University of Wisconsin Integrated Liberal Studies department to recognize the most promising scholar doing interdisciplinary work in the humanities. In 2005 he won the Tricia Nordby Hamrin Research Award, granted by the University of Wisconsin honors department to support research into the history of representations of scientists in children’s books.

He is also a violinist. He likes to read graphic novels. Trevor lives Hyattsville Maryland, with his wife Marjee Chmiel and their dogs Bowser and Zelda.

Contact: You can reach him trevor dot johnowens at gmail dot com


(I don’t like writing these things in the third person, but I am tired of swapping out the first for third person stuff when someone asks me for a bio, so here we are.)

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