Dana Miller named Director of Special Collections

With a strong foundation, team in place Miller is dedicated to moving the department forward

Ghost town of Como, Nevada in 1947. Gus Bundy photograph, courtesy of Special Collections Department, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries.

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5/24/2017 | By: Jill Stockton |

Special Collections and University Archives, which is a department within University Libraries at the University of Nevada, Reno, has a new director. Her name is Dana Miller.  

Miller's love for history and all things Nevada developed as a result of the relationship she had with her grandfather.  

"I'm a third-generation Nevada native," Miller said. "My grandfather was born in a hotel in Caliente. Growing up he'd mention names of famous Nevadans...people like Musser and Stewart who have streets named after them. Over the course of my college career I became interested in telling Nevada's story."  

Miller's career began as a documentary filmmaker. She later transitioned to working as an archivist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She's also worked for The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. Most recently she served as the Head of the Metadata and Cataloging Department with University Libraries at Nevada. Miller assumed the role of Director of Special Collections in early April.  

"Because Special Collections is home to unique and rare materials documenting Nevada's history that literally cannot be found anywhere else in the world, I was especially honored to be chosen for the position," Miller said. "I look forward to partnering with the team to make all of our wonderful collections discoverable and accessible to the public." 

As Director, Miller will build on an already solid foundation.  

Dana Miller, director of Special Collections and University Archives

Dana Miller

She plans to work on streamlining the way collections are processed, which will allow more materials to be available to the public sooner. She also hopes to identify new and innovative ways to share Special Collections materials with the community. She will continue to work on increasing the department's ongoing effort to improve the diversity of its collections by adding materials that represent activist groups, the LGBTQ community, and other marginalized communities that feel underrepresented but want their history preserved and their story told.  

"I want all corners of the University and the community to feel they can relate to the collections we have, whatever your major or interest," she said. "One example of how Special Collections is working to do this includes building relationships with University faculty and students to increase the visibility of our department in order to better connect our primary resource collections to the curriculum. We will begin implementing projects in 2018 to support this initiative."  

Miller said history plays a huge role in connecting community members to the place they live.  

"By utilizing resources available in Special Collections, community members can begin to create meaningful connections with their area, with Nevada." Miller said. "That in turn helps create a stronger sense of community all around. That's a good thing.  

"But our first job is to make it easy to find and understand what we have. That is a piece that thousands of professionals in special collections around the country are also working on, so we are not alone in our efforts to overcome the challenges."

Miller's long-term goal is to work toward the creation and launch of a statewide history portal.  

"I want to tell Nevada's stories because our state's history is richer and more unique than many of us realize," she said. "How terrific would it be if there was a statewide history portalto lead folks to all sorts of digital resources from archives, libraries, and museums across the state, for students in K-12, researchers, members of the community and more?"  

She added, "There's so much here and Nevada's history is so fascinating that it's hard for me to stay away. I want to do my best to honor it!"  

The Special Collections and University Archives Department provides access to unique, specialized and historically significant resources in a variety of formats to support research, teaching and learning at the University of Nevada, Reno. Other researchers and members of the public are welcome and encouraged to use the collections and services in the reading room and online. Materials available include, but are not limited to: manuscripts, photos, architectural drawings, book arts, rare books, political papers, mining materials, materials on the Great Basin Indians, Nevada history and culture and archives on the history of the University of Nevada, Reno.  

Special Collections is located on the third floor of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with special appointments available.  

University Libraries embrace intellectual inquiry and innovation, nurture the production of new knowledge, and foster excellence in learning, teaching and research through scholarly resources, creative learning spaces, cutting-edge technology, and world-class service.  

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