Donald Elkin SCHAUDER (1946 - 2023)

Professor of Librarianship, Archives and Records (1996 - 1997)
Professor of Information Management (1998 - 2006)

Don Schauder

Professor Don Schauder, who died on 12 January 2023 aged 76, was a pioneer of Australian electronic publishing who dedicated much of his career to improving information access for people with disabilities.

Don believed in causes, with much of his work focusing on the development of information products and services that benefited individuals, organisations and society.

He worked tirelessly to reduce the "digital divide” mixing research and engagement in a seamless manner. He had a strong reputation for innovation, particularly for starting new research fields and was consistently well ahead of his time in perceiving and guiding future directions of his discipline.

He pioneered the electronic publishing of Australian research databases and promoted research in social computing. He also fostered the growth of development informatics, linking community informatics to initiatives in developing countries.

Don pursued two main research themes; the first was on the evolving relationship between analogue and digital information media and its impact on information services in government, education, research, the arts, business and the community. The other focussed on the interdependencies among stakeholders in the information services industry such as authors, publishers, governments and customers.

Don came to Monash in 1996 when he was appointed Professor of Librarianship, Archives and Records. He continued his career as Professor of Information Management (1998-2006) and Associate Dean Research, Faculty of Information Technology (2002–04). In 2005, he was invited by the Australian government to represent Australian civil society at the United Nations Second World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis.

As part of the Monash team, Don undertook commissioned research on knowledge management for the Olympics movement internationally. He served as a member of several advisory committees to the Government of Victoria on library and information policy and of the Australian Government delegation to the UN World Summit on the Information Society.

Professor Schauder founded and chaired The Centre for Community Networking Research (CCNR), which was honoured in the inaugural Monash Industry Engagement Awards in May 2006.

Donald Elkin Schauder was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in November 1946. At school, he played the trombone and developed a love of learning, particularly English and the works of Shakespeare.

After graduating BA from Rhodes University (South Africa) in 1968, he completed a Diploma in Librarianship at the same university in 1970. From 1969-1972 he was Director of the South African Library for the Blind. At the same time, he undertook his MA in Librarianship at the University of Sheffield (UK), graduating in 1972, the title of his thesis was Libraries for the blind: A comparative study of policies and practices.

Following a year as a scientific officer in information and research services for the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, where he participated in pioneering applications of computer technology to information service work, he was appointed as the University Librarian at the University of Natal in 1974.

Don migrated with his wife Cherryl, and their children to Australia in 1977 to escape the apartheid society and took up appointment as chief librarian at the Prahran College of Advanced Education, where he participated in the planning of the Victoria College library amalgamation.

He was associate librarian at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) from 1982-84 and institute librarian at Chisholm Institute of Technology from 1985-88, completing a M.Ed. in Higher Education at the University of Melbourne in 1987.

The following year he returned to RMIT as University Librarian. In 1994, he was awarded a PhD from the University of Melbourne for his thesis entitled Electronic Publishing of Professional Articles: attitudes of academics and implications for the scholarly communication industry.

Some notable examples of his earlier work include Informit Electronic Publishing, a pioneering endeavour in academic e-publishing (now RMIT Publishing) which he co-founded whilst Head of RMIT Library in 1989, and VICNET, a joint initiative with the State Library of Victoria which enabled the public and community organisations to access the internet, develop skills in its use, publish electronically, and build communities. It had significant influence on Victorian government policy in the 1990s.

Don played a continuing role in the development of library services for people with disabilities as a member of the National Advisory Committee on Library Service to People with Disabilities, National Library of Australia, Vice President of the Braille and Talking Book Library and Chair of LISAD (Advisory Committee on Library Services to People with Disabilities) of the Ministry for the Arts. Amongst other professional activities, he was a member of the Victorian Ministry of Education Accreditation Panels for private providers of higher education programs under the Tertiary Education Act: a member of the Libraries Board of Victoria and co-founder and member of the management committee of UltiBASE, the national clearinghouse for University Learning and Teaching in Business, Art, Society and Education.

In 2007 he was appointed a Fellowship of the Australian Library and Information Association and in that same year he was also appointed Emeritus Professor.

Don was known as a wise and compassionate individual, who believed in personal responsibility. He was proud of his Jewish identity and devoted to his family. Despite his health issues, he remained connected and engaged with his wife, children and grandchildren until the end.

Edited version of article published 18 January 2023.