AUSTIN, Texas—Roberta I. Shaffer, director of Research Information Services at the Washington-based law firm of Covington & Burling, is the new dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at The University of Texas at Austin. The appointment is effective Aug. 1.
In her position at Covington & Burling, which Shaffer has held since August 1991, she directed all literal and virtual library operations for the 340-lawyer firm that has offices in London, Brussels and Paris in addition to Washington, D.C.
Previously, Shaffer served as acting director of the library of George Washington University Law Center and as a special assistant to the law librarian of the Library of Congress. At the University of Houston Law Center, she was the director of the Research and Writing Program and the assistant director of the Law & Technology Center.
“Roberta Shaffer brings to campus a marvelous background and much fresh insight,” said UT Austin Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Sheldon Ekland-Olson. “She is superbly qualified to take advantage of the vast array of new information technologies. Her rich experience will provide a solid foundation for our initiatives in the international arena. She is a grand addition to our faculty and administration.”
In 1987-88, Shaffer was a Senior Fulbright Researcher in Israel and Portugal. In both posts, she was involved in government-sponsored projects dealing with constitutional reform and legislative drafting.
Shaffer has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Vassar College, a law degree from Tulane University and a master’s degree in librarianship from Emory University. She is admitted to the Washington, D.C., Texas and U.S. Supreme Court bars.
Since 1991, Shaffer has been the coordinator of the Law Libraries program at the Catholic University School of Library and Information Science. She has written numerous articles and edited a book on law libraries and legal research. She regularly lectures at bar and library association conferences on topics dealing with intellectual property, knowledge capitalization and other technology-driven issues that affect information.
For several years, Shaffer has been active as a volunteer lawyer and advocate for the arts. She now is serving a three-year term as vice president of the International Association of Law Libraries.
GSLIS was established in 1948 as part of the Graduate School at UT Austin. Rated one of the top 10 schools in the United States in the field, the school provides a program of studies to prepare information professionals to experience and meet the challenges of the information age.
GSLIS offers a doctoral degree program, as well as a master’s degree program with concentrations in five broad fields: library science, learning resources, information science, archival enterprise, and preservation and conservation studies.