Thornton (Thorny) Staples is the Director of Research and Scientific Data Management at the Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO). He has previously been Director of the Fedora Project; Director of Community Strategy and Alliances for DuraSpace; CIO of the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian Institute; Director of Digital Library Research and Development at the University of Virginia; Special Projects Coordinator for Academic Computing at the University of Virginia; and Project Director at the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia, which was responsible for the creation of the Rossetti Archive and The Valley of the Shadow. He has also been involved with the development of information architecture for large, complex digital academic and cultural history projects in Europe, Australia and the United States.
Staples’ view of the cultural heritage landscape is both wide and deep. An evangelist for digitization and repository development, his work has touched almost every area of digital projects, from technical programming to software development. He has worked with nearly everyone involved in early cultural heritage digitization projects.
Staples is also a sculptor, direct carving in stone. He has had one- and two-person shows in Washington DC, at various locations in Virginia and at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. His work is represented in 22 private collections.