Photo of Ruth Kitchin Tillman

I am the Cataloging Systems and Linked Data Strategist at the Pennsylvania State University’s libraries. My role spans traditional and emerging technologies—exploring reuse and augmentation of our MARC data (as linked data and in other ways), exploring opportunities in linked data, and otherwise supporting projects of the Cataloging and Metadata services department. I have previously worked as the Digital Collections Librarian at the University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Libraries, where I collaborated across the library to create digital collections and worked with the digital libraries technology team to build a system which could support our digitized objects. I worked previously as the Metadata Librarian at NASA Goddard, through Cadence Group. My MLS specialization is in archives, with a personal concentration on metadata and accessibility. I’ve self-described as a “platypus” because my career has spanned and split the worlds of librarianship and archives without being a traditional form of either and always involving various forms of metadata.

While still in school, I created, a beginner-friendly version of the EAD 2002 tag library. I have created an EAD3 version of the site while continuing support of the previous version. In my time as co-chair of the EAD Roundtable, I led the creation of an official FAQ. I believe in lowering barriers to understanding metadata. Many people who are intimidated by something sounding technical when they don’t consider themselves “techy” can learn if it’s presented in the proper fashion and with an assumption of their competence.

For my work history, check out my LinkedIn profile or my cv. To get to know me better, I’m @ruthbrarian.


Everybody stand back! I know Regular Expressions

Web/Markup Languages: XML, XSLT (1.0/2.0), XQuery, JSON, XHTML, CSS

Library/Archival Metadata Standards: EAD, EAC-CPF, TEI, Dublin Core, MADS, MODS, METS, DACS, RDA/AACR2

Semantic Web Standards: RDF/S, SKOS, OWL, SPARQL

Programming Languages/Tools: bash shell, regular expressions, PHP, SQL, Python

Library/Archival Software and Systems: Fedora (3.x/4), Archivists’ Toolkit, ArchivesSpace, III Millennium and Sierra, SirsiDynix Symphony, OCLC Connexion

Applications: Oxygen XML Editor, OpenRefine (with LOD plugin), MySQL Workbench, Adobe Acrobat Pro, Microsoft Office

Content Management Systems: WordPress, Drupal, Omeka

Professional Service

Society of American Archivists

Co-Chair, EAD Roundtable Steering Committee, Elected
August 2014 – August 2016

  • Organized presenters for and co-chaired 2015 meeting of EAD Roundtable.
  • Led creation of EAD3 FAQ to address questions from the community.
  • Developed plan for community outreach and resource gathering as archives begin implementing EAD3.

Member, Technical Subcommittee for EAD (ex-officio)
August 2014 – August 2016

  • Provided feedback on the EAD3 schema during development, particularly on technical inconsistencies.
  • Reviewed official tag library twice during development for accuracy and clarity.
  • Created examples for the official EAD3 tag library.

Member, Technical Subcommittee for Encoded Archival Standards, Appointed
August 2016 – present

  • As documentation subteam lead, handle documentation updates and maintenance for EAD and EAC-CPF.
  • Participated in feedback on proposed linked data standard for Records in Context.

June 2016 – Kiesling, Kris, and Christopher J. Prom. 2017. Putting descriptive standards to work.

Samvera/Hydra Community

Samvera/Hydra Metadata Interest Group co-facilitator
January 2017 – present

  • Plan and lead monthly phone conference meetings.
  • Coordinate effort to create and assemble metadata-related documentation for various Hydra instances.

Digital Library Forum

DLF Labor Working Group co-facilitator
January 2017 — present

  • Guide conversations and plan work around addressing issues in the area of digital labor.

Code4Lib Journal

Editor and WordPress Administrator
June 2015 – present

  • Select articles that match the journal’s mission.
  • Collaborate with authors to improve article structure and clarity.
  • Responsible for technical administration of the journal’s website.


“Opportunities for Encoding EAD for Linked Data Extraction and Publication.” Journal of Archival Organization, 12(1-2) (2016), p. 19-36, doi: 10.1080/15332748.2017.1400725. peer review

“Where Are We Now? Survey on Rates of Faculty Self-Deposit in Institutional Repositories.” Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication, 5(1) (2017). doi: peer review

“Editorial: Introspection as Activism, or, Getting Our Houses in Order.” Code4Lib Journal 35 (2017). Accessed April 30, 2016.

“Extracting, Augmenting, and Updating Metadata in Fedora 3 and 4 Using a Local OpenRefine Reconciliation Service.” Code4Lib Journal 31 (2016). Accessed March 19, 2016.


Rodriguez, Sandy, Ruth Tillman, and Amy Wickner. “Reproducing Contingency: Grant-Funded Labor in Digital Libraries.” Libraries in the Context of Capitalism, New York, NY, February 2, 2018.

“Management & Reuse: What Your Metadataists Do.” Samvera Connect, Evanston, IL, November 8, 2017. (Lightning Talk)

Hardesty, Julie and Ruth Tillman. “Documenting Our MAPS.” Samvera Connect, Evanston, IL, November 8, 2017.

Nowviskie, Bethany, et. al. “Our DLF Now.” DLF Forum, Pittsburgh, PA, October 25, 2017.

Tillman, Ruth, Sandy Rodriguez, Lisa Hinchliffe, Graeme Slaght, and Emily Drabinksi. “Valuing Labor in Digital Libraries.” DLF Forum, Pittsburgh, PA, October 24, 2017.

“Stalin and ampersands and Lebenen, oh my!” Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, July 26, 2017 (Lightning Talk)

“Lightning Talk: Results from a Survey of 81 Institutional Repositories.” HydraConnect, Boston, MA, October 5, 2016.

“Pull it Together! Reusing Your Own Metadata and Augmenting Collections with OpenRefine.” Ohio Valley Group of Technical Services Librarians Annual Meeting, Louisville, KY, May 27, 2016.

“Pull it Together: Exporting, Reconciling, and Batch Updating Metadata in Fedora 3 & 4.” DC Fedora User Group Meeting, College Park, MD, October 8, 2015.

“EAD 2002 to EAD3: the N big changes.” Code4Lib DC Unconference, Washington, DC, August 11, 2014.

Schwartz, Molly and Ruth Tillman. “Embracing Archivists’ Toolkit to Implement EAD.” Student paper. MARAC, Richmond, VA, October 25-27, 2012.

Regular expression cartoon used under Creative Commons NonCommercial 2.5 Generic license, original image at