Purdue Libraries professor headed to Egypt as Fulbright Scholar

June 16, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Michael Witt, an assistant professor of library science and interdisciplinary research librarian at Purdue University, has been named a Fulbright Scholar.

Michael Witt

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The Fulbright Scholar Program is the U.S. government's flagship academic exchange effort. It is administered by the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars for the U.S. Department of State.

The award will support Witt in relocating his family to Alexandria, Egypt, where he will lecture and conduct research at the Bibliotheca Alexandria from January to May 2011. The city once housed the Library of Alexandria, which was founded in the third century B.C., and is widely recognized as the first and greatest library of its kind in ancient times.

The Arab Republic of Egypt began construction of the modern Bibliotheca Alexandria in 1995. The library has capacity to hold 8 million books and houses three museums, four art galleries, a planetarium, conference center and other specialized facilities.

Witt's lecturing and research will benefit Egyptian librarians who are managing electronic resource collections and help them assess technologies to improve access, such as link resolvers, federated search engines and resource selection tools. His research focuses on new roles for librarians in curating non-traditional digital information such as datasets and applying library science principles to e-science. He also has been invited to speak at Alexandria University and the October (City) University for Modern Sciences and Arts in Cairo.

Witt said his Egyptian students at Purdue inspired him to apply for the award. His family invites international graduate research assistants from his lab to Thanksgiving dinner at their home every year. During Ramadan last year, one of the students returned the invitation to Witt to join his family for Iftar, an evening feast, and it piqued his interest.

Writer:  Jim Bush, 765-494-2077, jsbush@purdue.edu 

Source:  Michael Witt, 765-494-8703, mwitt@purdue.edu