Oxford profiles: Richard Ovenden - Throwing open Oxford's digital doors
In a new profile, 'Throwing open Oxford's digital doors', Richard Ovenden, Bodley's Librarian, discusses preserving scholarship, protecting democracy and Man U:
Forget everything you ever thought about libraries and librarians. Richard is a passionate believer and advocate of the library and the archive and their essential role in society. Far from the clichés about stacking shelves, he insists the librarian is a defender against ignorance and tyranny. He declares, ‘One of the essentials of a democratic society is the preservation of knowledge….librarians, museum curators, archivists, we’re custodians of knowledge and in the front line of defence of the open society.’
He maintains they are as much part of the future as of the past and have a critical and ongoing role – not least in preserving evidence in times of war and political scandal. Richard says, ‘Ukraine and Afghanistan have shown this. Libraries and museums have been deliberately targeted by invaders and by groups such as the Taliban. They want to eradicate the ability of people to form their own ideas. Libraries and archives are bulwarks for independent thought. They contain evidence – and that allows people to think.