John Durno


John Durno in a blue shirt, looking professional
Professional portrait, 2018


From January 2, 2006 through March 31st, 2024 I was Head of Library Systems at the University of Victoria, where I led the team responsible for building and maintaining the Libraries' IT infrastructure. Areas of operation included server administration, web development, specialized desktop deployments, digital asset management, and digital preservation systems and services.

Following a sudden and massive reorganization of IT on campus my role has become less well defined, although it seems likely I will remain situated somewhere in the liminal space between Library work and IT wrangling.

My research is in the area of digital preservation. Major projects include the recovery and restoration of Canadian Telidon artworks from the 1980s, and curating a collection of historic computers.


Professional Experience

Head, Library Systems (pending possible title change) April 2024 - present.
University of Victoria Libraries

IT coordination, digital preservation, IT special projects.


Head, Library Systems 2006 - 2024.
University of Victoria Libraries

Led a team of a systems administrators, programmers, technicians, and librarians all variously responsible for building, deploying and supporting a wide range of information technologies required by the Libraries.


Project Coordinator/Acting Manager, 1998 - 2005.
BC Electronic Library Network (BC ELN)

Responsible for technology support for BC ELN products and services, web site development, database trials and renewals. Took on Acting Manager role for several months in 2002 and again in 2004.


Public Services Librarian, 1997-1998.
Open Learning Agency

General reference/instruction, research and report writing, web development, database design.



MLIS, University of British Columbia, 1996

MFA, University of British Columbia, 1993

BFA, University of British Columbia, 1987


How I got here

My original ambition was to teach visual art at a college or university. I was in the middle of completing an MFA degree when I realized that my idea of what that would entail was somewhat at odds with reality and it would probably not be a good fit for me. By that time I had already spent a couple of enjoyable years working as a library assistant so it made sense to refocus my career plans on librarianship.

I began my MLIS degree in 1994, just as the Web was entering the exponential phase of its growth curve, and it didn't take long to see it was going to have a profound effect on all aspects of the information industry, libraries included. I hadn't paid more than passing attention to computing up to then, but something clicked at that point and I became quite fascinated by the beige boxes in the lab, teaching myself first HTML and then Perl, then database development, and eventually the rest of the LAMP stack. (More recently, in the context of my research projects I've picked up a smattering of Javascript, Python, and C).

My still fairly rudimentary web development skills, plus a library degree, opened the door to my first librarian position at the Open Learning Agency. I worked there for a couple of years, and then moved downstairs to the BC Electronic Library Network, which in those days operated out of the same building. At BC ELN I further developed my technical, project management, and general management skills. That in turn led to a position at the University of Victoria Libraries, where among other things I became conversant with the ins and outs of managing a departmental IT unit. Over the years I've had the opportunity to to work on a number of varied and interesting projects, which you can read more about here.


Last modified: May 31 2024 09:21:23.