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David Oberhelman: Profile

Professional Information

Faculty Rank

Professor; W. P. Wood Professor of Library Service

Research Interests

Information literacy instruction, digital humanities, history of the book, research needs in the humanities and performing arts, popular culture studies, science fiction and fantasy literature


M.L.I.S., University of Pittsburgh, 1997

Ph.D., English (w/ Critical Theory Emphasis), University of California, Irvine, 1993

M.A., English, University of California, Irvine, 1989

B.A., English, Rice University, 1987

Professional Service

  • Modern Language Association
    • MLA International Bibliography Advisory Committee (2014-2017), Chair (2016-2017)
    • Libraries and Research in Languages and Literatures Discussion Group Chair (2013)
  • American Library Association - Association of College and Research Libraries
    • Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award Committee Chair (2012-2013)
    • Instruction Section
      • 2017 Conference Program Planning Committee Chair (2016-2017)
      • 2016 ALA Preconference Program Planning Committee Chair (2015-2016)
      • Research and Scholarship Committee Chair (2014-2015)
    • Literatures in English Section
      • Virtual Participation Committee Chair (2012-2014, 2015-2017)
      • ALA Annual Conference Program Planning Committee Chair (2013, 2014)
      • Executive Committee:  Member-at Large (2012), Secretary (2010)
    •  Western European Studies Section
      • Research and Planning Committee Chair (2014-2016)
  • Southwest Popular/American Culture Association
    • Digital Humanities Area Chair (2013- )
  • North American Regional Editor, Reference Reviews (2004-2012)
  • OSU University Service
    • OSU Faculty Council, Library Representative (2015-2018)
      • Academic Standards and Policies Committee Chair (2016-2017)
      • Faculty Committee (2015-2016, 2016-2017)
      • Long-Range Planning and Information Technology Committee (2015-2016)
    • Co-Director, Noon Concert Series at the Library
    • Allied Arts and Campus Entertainment Committee (2014-2017)
    • OSU Grade Appeals Board (2014-2016)


The Great War and its Legacy, 1914-1918. Four-Year Programming Series for the Centenary of World War I Sponsored by OSU Library and Department of History. Co-Director with Barbara Miller, 2014- .

Soul of a People. Public Programming Series Grant on WPA Federal Writers’ Project, American Library Association/National Endowment for the Humanities. Principal Investigator/Project Director, 2009. 

Selected Publications & Presentations

Books and Chapters

Wadoski, A., Oberhelman, D., & Coates, S. (2016). OkstateShakespeare: Bringing special collections and digital humanities into the undergraduate classroom. In K. Totleben, K. & L. Birrell (Eds.), Collaborating for impact: Special collections and liaison librarian partnerships (pp. 221-235)Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries.

Oberhelman, D. (2015). Distant reading, computational stylistics, and corpus linguistics: The critical theory of digital humanities for literature subject librarians. In L. Braunstein, L. Golomb, & A. Hartsell-Gundy (Eds.), Digital humanities and libraries: Challenges and opportunities for subject librarians (pp. 53-66).  Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries.

Oberhelman, D. (2013). From Iberian to Ibran and Catholic to Quintarian: Lois McMaster Bujold's alternate history of the Spanish reconquest in the Chalion series.  In J. B. Croft (Ed.), Lois McMaster Bujold: Essays on a modern master of science fiction and fantasy (pp. 159-171). Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Sturgis, A. H. & Oberhelman, D. (Eds.). (2009). The intersection of fantasy and Native America: From H. P. Lovecraft to Leslie Marmon Silko. Altadena, CA: The Mythopoeic Press.

Oberhelman, D. (2008).  A brief history of libraries in Middle-earth: Manuscript and book repositories in Tolkien's legendarium.  In J. B. Himes (Ed.), Truths breathed through silver: The Inklings' moral and mythopoeic legacy (pp. 81-92).  Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Oberhelman, D. (2006).  [Multiple entries]. In M. D. C. Drout (Ed.).  J. R. R. Tolkien encyclopedia: Scholarship and critical assessment.  New York: Routledge.

Oberhelman, D.  (1995).  Dickens in Bedlam: Madness and restraint in his fiction.  Fredericton, NB: York Press.


Oberhelman, D. (2014). Lights, catalogs, archives!: A selected annotated list of web resources for film and television studies.  Reference Reviews, 28(1), 2-5.

Oberhelman, D. (2011).  Alexandria, the world brain, and the universal digital library: Beyond the Google Books settlement.  Reference Reviews, 25(8), 4-6.

Oberhelman, D. (2011).  Rekindling reference?: E-book readers and reference collections. Reference Reviews, 25(1), 5-7.

Oberhelman, D. (2002).  On navigating labyrinths and webs: Print and the internet as institutions of research.  Against the Grain, 14(6), 24-27.

Oberhelman, D. (1995).  Trollope’s insanity defense: narrative alienation in He Knew He was Right.  SEL: Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, 35, 789-806.

Oberhelman, D. (1991).  Waverley, genealogy, history: Scott's romance of fathers and sons.  Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 15, 285-292.

Papers and Presentations

Wadoski, A., Oberhelman, D., and Coates, S.  (2016. May). Newell Poems Digital Course Project. Paper presented at THATCampOK 2016, OSU Library, Stillwater, OK.

Oberhelman, D. (2016, February). Remembering the Great War: Library programming for the World War I centenary at Oklahoma State University. Paper presented at the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association 36th Annual Conference, Albuquerque, NM.

Oberhelman, D. (2016, January). The evolving scholarly record.  Panel discussion organizer/presider at the Modern Language Association Convention, Austin, TX.

Oberhelman, D. (2015, August).  "On second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place”: Myth, politics, and parody in Monty Python and the holy grail.  Paper presented at 46th Mythopoeic Society Conference, Colorado Springs, CO.

Oberhelman, D. (2015, June). What is Digital Humanities?  Presentation at THATCampOK, Norman, OK.

Oberhelman, D. (2015, February). OkstateShakespeare: Digital humanities in undergraduate course projects.  Paper presented at Southwest Popular/American Culture Association 36th Annual Conference, Albuquerque, NM.

Oberhelman, D. (2015, January). Libraries, archives, and public memory.  Respondent remarks presented at the Modern Language Association Convention, Vancouver, BC, Canada.  

Oberhelman, D. (2014, August). The body, deformity, and divinity in Bujold's Vorkosigan and Chalion series. Paper presented at the Biology and manners: The Worlds of Lois McMaster Bujold Conference, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Oberhelman, D. (2014, February). From incunabula to digital texts: Teaching the history of print to undergraduates. Paper presented at the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association 35th Annual Conference, Albuquerque, NM.

Oberhelman, D. (2013, July). From Westmansweed to Old Toby: The economic and cultural herblore of pipe-weed in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Paper presented at the 44th Mythopoeic Society Conference, East Lansing, MI.

Oberhelman, D. (2012, February). Rites of (alien) encounter: Native and non-Native collisions in the science fiction of Russell Bates. Paper presented at the Southwest/Texas Popular Culture Association, Albuquerque, NM.

Oberhelman, D. (2011, April). A noteworthy partnership: Library-music department programming collaborations at Oklahoma State University. Paper presented at National Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Conference, San Antonio, TX.

Chang, H. F., Clements, H., and Oberhelman, D. (2010, July). From whiteboard to discussion board: The considerations and challenges of teaching a for-credit information literacy class online. Paper presentation at Community of Oklahoma Instruction Librarians Workshop, Stillwater, OK.

Oberhelman, D. (2010, July). Magical historiography: Revisionist histories and wainscot fantasy in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Paper at the 42nd Mythopoeic Society Conference, Albuquerque, NM.

Oberhelman, D. (2008, June) Talking theory: Deconstruction. Paper presented at Association of College and Research Libraries Literatures in English Section Forum, American Library Association Conference, Anaheim, CA.