portrait of MacKenzie Smith

Position Title
University Librarian and Vice Provost of Digital Scholarship


University Librarian and Vice Provost of Digital Scholarship MacKenzie Smith is responsible for the strategic vision and oversight of the UC Davis Library, one of the top academic research libraries in the nation.

A national leader in digital libraries, Smith has defined and implemented a strategic framework and organization that integrates digital resources and information technology with traditional library services to better serve the UC Davis academic community now and in the future. She has created new programs in the library for scholarly communications, data science and informaticsdata managementdigital archives, communications, fundraising, and equity, diversity and inclusion.

Smith also oversees operations for UC Davis’ library buildings: Peter J. Shields Library and the Carlson Health Sciences Library on the Davis campus, and the Blaisdell Medical Library in Sacramento. As the university continues to grow and diversify, these buildings are undergoing redesign and renovation to meet the needs of a changing campus.

As vice provost of digital scholarship, Smith defines and leads major university initiatives involving information technology, data science and informatics, data governance, knowledge management, research computing and digital publishing as they relate to the mission of UC Davis and the research and higher education enterprise.

Building partnerships to advance research in the digital age

Under Smith’s leadership, the library has deepened its partnership with the UC Davis community, the UC library system, and the national academic library community. Smith helped launch and oversee UC Davis’ Data Science Initiative, leading to the creation of the DataLab for data science and informatics, supporting training and research in every discipline and coordinating with data technology and analytics units across the university.

She also co-chairs the new Institutional Data Council, which is responsible for the university’s overall data governance. Within the UC system, she has led UC libraries’ system-wide initiatives to use technology for greater efficiencies. At a national level, she oversees UC Davis’ participation in large-scale digitization initiatives, such as HathiTrust and the Google Books initiative, as well as transformative open access publishing initiatives such as TOME: Towards an Open Monograph Ecosystem.

Identifying new opportunities in scholarly publishing and library operations

Previously, as a research fellow for Creative Commons, Smith worked on intellectual property policy for scientific research data and advocacy for open science. In collaboration with the California Digital Library and other library partners around the country, Smith led the Pay It Forward project, a 2016 study funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that shed new light on the financial viability of “gold” open access to scholarly journals; she is continuing that work with projects to accelerate that publishing transformation. Smith has also led research to define opportunities for library technical operations, such as cataloging, to leverage the efficiencies of the Web and modern online data formats.

The path to UC Davis

Prior to coming to UC Davis, Smith spent nearly three decades on the East Coast working at the libraries of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At both MIT and Harvard, Smith played a critical role in helping those universities adapt their libraries and research and teaching programs to the emerging technology of the digital age. At MIT, Smith also led the development of DSpace, the open source software platform for digital archives, now used by hundreds of universities worldwide and managed by a non-profit organization.

Originally from Seattle, Smith holds degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Chicago. She is a widely published national expert in information technology and digital knowledge management. Smith consults broadly in the library field, helping develop strategic plans to support digital research and data curation. She is on the Board of the UC PressAuthors Alliance, and the Global Council of OCLC, a library cooperative providing shared technology services, original research and programs to the global library community. She has chaired the University of California’s Council of University Librarians, and served on advisory or governing boards for the Sloan Foundation, the National Technical Information Services agency, the Corporation for Digital Scholarship, ORCID and other organizations dedicated to creating efficient and effective access to knowledge.

Smith enjoys reading, rowing, and good wine, and is committed to advancing teaching, learning, and research through better use of technology and to transforming libraries to support the changing needs of universities today.