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Ruth Kitchin Tillman

Photo of Ruth Kitchin Tillman

I am the Digital Collections Librarian at the University of Notre Dame's Hesburgh Libraries. As a member of the Digital Production and Preservation unit, I'm collaborating across the library on our digitization program and building infrastructure to support digital collections. I worked previously as the Metadata Librarian at NASA Goddard, through Cadence Group. I completed my Master's Degree in Library Science from the University of Maryland in December of 2013. My MLS specialization is in archives, with a personal concentration on metadata and accessibility. My career to date has been that neither of a librarian, nor an archivist, but rather a "platypus," spanning both and using skills from both professions while focusing on building and enhancing collections of digital objects.

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 and will soon bring the EAD3 one over to the main site while continuing support of the previous version. After that has been completed, I plan to work more on tutorials and FAQs. I have already worked with other members of the EAD Roundtable to create an official FAQ. I believe in lowering barriers to understanding metadata. Many people who are intimidated by something sounding "techy" when they don't consider themselves "techy" can learn if it's presented in the proper fashion.

Just as I care about access to information in libraries and archives and information about archival description schemas, I care about the overall accessibility of information to persons with disabilities. I've done self-study on accessibility issues, both physical and technical, within archives as well as web accessibility. I've also volunteered with Bookshare, a service that provides accessible copies of undigitized books to persons with qualifying disabilities.

In June of 2014, I began work at NASA Goddard as their Metadata Librarian. I used a variety of metadata schemas, scripts, and programming languages to manage materials in the Goddard institutional repository for internal and external patrons. In 2015, I led a project to bring digitized issues of the Goddard News online. For my work history, check out my LinkedIn profile or my resume. 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, Dublin Core, GEMS (local schema), MADS, MODS, PREMIS, 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, OCLC Connexion, Innovative Interfaces: Millennium and Sierra, SirsiDynix Symphony

Applications: Oxygen XML Editor, OpenRefine, MySQL Workbench, Adobe Acrobat Pro, Microsoft Office

Content Management Systems: Wordpress, Drupal, Omeka

Professional Service

Co-Chair, EAD Roundtable Steering Committee
Society of American Archivists, (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 Subcommitte for EAD (ex-officio)
Society of American Archivists (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.

Editor and Wordpress Administrator
Code4Lib Journal Editorial Committee (June 2015 — present)

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


Tillman, Ruth Kitchin. "Extracting, Augmenting, and Updating Metadata in Fedora 3 and 4 Using a Local OpenRefine Reconciliation Service." Code4Lib Journal. January 28, 2016. Accessed March 19, 2016.


Tillman, Ruth. "Pull It Together! Exporting, Augmenting and Re-Ingesting Data in Fedora 3 and 4." Fedora Users Group Meeting, College Park, Md, October 8, 2015.

Schwartz, Molly and Ruth Tillman. "Embracing Archivists' Toolkit to Implement EAD." Student paper presented at MARAC, Richmond, VA, October 25-27, 2012.

My section of the paper focused on the methods I'd used to teach myself more about EAD and Archivists' Toolkit and how other students could replicate them. I followed it up with tutorials on the EADiva site and a collection of sample EAD finding aids donated by other archivists.

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