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James O'Donnell

James J. O'Donnell's picture
James J. O'Donnell is the University Librarian at ASU Library. He has published widely on the history and culture of the late antique Mediterranean world and is a recognized innovator in the application of networked information technology in higher education. In 1990, he co-founded Bryn Mawr Classical Review, the second on-line scholarly journal in the humanities ever created. In 1994, he taught an Internet-based seminar on the work of Augustine of Hippo that reached 500 students which deserves to be called the first MOOC. He has served as a Director, as Vice President for Publications, and as President of the American Philological Association; he has also served as a Councillor of the Medieval Academy of America and has been elected a Fellow of the Medieval Academy. He serves as Chair of the Board of the American Council of Learned Societies. His edition of Augustine's *Confessions* is a standard, while his most recent books, Augustine: A New Biography, The Ruin of the Roman Empire, and Pagans [March 2015] bring cutting-edge scholarship to a wide audience. His work of most relevance to issues of libraries today and tomorrow may be found in his 1998 book, Avatars of the Word: From Papyrus to Cyberspace.

All Posts By James O'Donnell

08/15/2019James O'Donnell
I bought an old book the other day.  Used to be, that wouldn’t have been the lede for any writing designed to grab your attention, but as pastimes go, it’s getting a bit less common, so maybe it will do.  It’s not just that old books have been crowded into a corner of the market for attention by media unimagined only yesterday, but that there are natural cycles that have also been disrupted.  When I was young, we haunted second-hand bookshops and the like because we needed books––good books––ones that had been printed before we were born and long since gone out of print....

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