Cathy Norton - The MBLWHOI Library and Archives

Cathy came to the MBL in 1980 as a member of the MBLWHOI Library staff and earned a Masters in Information Science from Simmons College in 1984. Throughout her career, she worked to implement change putting the Library and the scientific institutions in Woods Hole on the forward edge of change. In 1989, the Library secured funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to create the Library of the Future, Cathy was named the Director of Library Planning. A broadband connection was installed in the Library at this time to start the process of creating a digital library. In 1990, the HHMI funding allowed Cathy to install networking around the campus at MBL, converted the Library catalog to electronic records and joined the CLAMS network of Libraries. At the time, the fact that researchers could now search the Library catalog from their office was revolutionary. In 1991, as the electronic frontier began to enhance information access, Cathy embraced change to become the MBL’s first Director of Information Systems. In 1994 she was appointed Library Director and became a leader in promoting the digital library and open access.

Cathy continued at the forefront of trends in libraries and informatics. She saw the need for the institutions in Woods Hole to make the work of their researchers available through open access, and the Library started implementing an institutional repository in 2002, well before most other libraries. As a forerunner on so many ideas in libraries and informatics, she secured numerous grants from the Federal Government and private foundations including:  SeaGrant, NIH, Andrew Mellon Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the MacArthur Foundation, and the George Frederick Jewett Foundation. The MBLWHOI Library led the way on many projects due to Cathy’s willingness to jump in and get to work. Cathy inspired her staff to think creatively and be flexible to meet the challenges of forging new paths. She encouraged librarians and members of MBL IT to think of creative solutions to encourage the use of information resources.

Cathy’s reach extended beyond Woods Hole, during her tenure at Woods Hole, she was a member and leader of many prominent Library initiatives including:

Biodiversity Heritage Library, Deputy Director                                            

Open Knowledge Commons, Board of Directors                                          

National Library of Medicine Literature Selection Technical Review Committee (LSTRC)                       

OCLC Members Council                                                                         

NELINET Executive Committee                                                               

Boston Library Consortium (Twice as Vice President, President, Past President, and in the Executive Committee)              

Knowledge Trust

Special Libraries Association (Public Information/Planning Committees)         

International Association of Marine Science Libraries and Information  

Centers (IAMSLIC)                                                                    

Editorial Review Board, UNESCO, MIM Publication Series,             

Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

Editorial Advisory Board, Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences