The Impossibility of Knowing Everything
Visiting Speaker
Past Event
Brent Reidy
Senior Director, Digital Research at New York Public Library
Feb 28, 2020
Watch video
4:00 pm
177 Huntington Ave
11th floor

As the world of knowledge shifts from paper to petabytes, institutions like the New York Public Library are increasingly able to make vast amounts of information accessible to a global audience of researchers and learners. This is a moment of both triumph and anxiety. The scale of available information may outstrip the human capacity to assess, understand, and generate knowledge. Increasingly, it is recognized that machines have a fundamental role to play, not only in helping to organize, unlock, and sift through the information collected, but also in finding and drawing new connections among data. The role of the Library is thus evolving: our task is not just to acquire and preserve information, but to make explicit choices about how information is made available to both man and machine in order to achieve our mission of advancing knowledge.

About the speaker
Brent Reidy is Senior Director, Digital Research at New York Public Library, a new library division tasked with developing and executing a visionary strategy for digitization, digital preservation, access, and information policy for the world's greatest public library. Digital Research stewards a rapidly growing collection of 30+ million digitized and born-digital collection items across 5 petabytes. Brent also currently serves as Interim Executive Director for the Library for the Performing Arts, an archive containing one of the world’s largest and most important performing art collections spanning music, theatre, dance, and recorded sound. Prior to NYPL, Brent worked at AEA Consulting, management strategy firm focused on strategic, business, and capital project planning for the cultural and creative services industries worldwide. Brent focused on strategic planning, financial modeling, and research. At AEA, Brent worked with the Frick Collection, Barnes Foundation, SculptureCenter, Georgia O’Keeffee Museum, Public Art Fund, Benaki Museum, National Gallery of Australia, Aspen Art Museum, and Albright-Knox Art Gallery. He also undertook projects for performing arts organizations, foundations, and public entities, including the John F. and James L. Knight Foundation and City of Sunny Isles Beach. His research included studies published by Arts Council England and the James Irvine Foundation. Brent completed a Bachelor's degree in music at Dartmouth College and will earn his PhD in Musicology at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music this April, where his studies focus on American music and arts policy. He is an Instructor at Columbia University's Arts Administration graduate program and was a Lecturer in the music department at Dartmouth College.