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Ruth Kitchin Tillman

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Metadata and digital collections librarian with archival training and a drive for making things available or accessible.

For me, that looks like anything from writing ebook borrowing tutorials for public library users to creating beginner-friendly tag libraries to editing open access journal articles to creating new collections into the Goddard institutional repository. I’m excited by the possibilities of linked data in archives and by updated schemas and community standards that allow for broader discovery across archives and repositories.

Related Work Experience

Digital Collections Librarian

Assistant Librarian, Hesburgh Libraries, South Bend, IN (February 2016 — present)

Working across departments within Hesburgh Libraries to select material for digitization, ensure infrastructure for digital collections exists, and build collections on Notre Dame sites and elsewhere. Providing recommendations for digital projects on campus re: metadata, digitization standards, and preservation needs.

Metadata Librarian II

Cadence Group, NASA Goddard Library, Greenbelt, MD (June 2014 — January 2016)

As the Goddard Library’s Metadata Librarian, I primarily work with the library’s institutional repository. The repository combines Fedora 3 and Drupal in a custom, non-Islandora setup and contains metadata in Dublin Core, PUB_MD, GEMS (local), MADS (extended), and RDF. My responsibilities and accomplishments include:

Significant Accomplishments

  • Led project to create new collection of 487 digitized issues of the Goddard News, allowing researchers to access the first 40 years of Goddard’s history. Collaborated with Web Programmer to develop collection user interface.
  • Expanded collection of author publications to include 2090 records from 2005 and 2004.
  • Re-evaluated the repository’s digital object models and use of linked data in preparation for migration to Fedora 4.
  • Served on committee that rewrote the library’s collection development policy to reflect a focus on digital materials.

Regular Responsibilities

  • Harvest metadata for Goddard author publications, standardizing four separate sources and remediating for discovery using SQL before migrating to institutional repository. Increased process automation with new update queries.
  • Create local name authorities, facilitating access to Goddard author bibliographies.
  • Catalog Goddard colloquia and case studies in institutional repository.
  • Collaborate with systems team to plan Fedora 4 migration and repository redesign.
  • Copy-catalog print materials and apply local subjects using the NASA Thesaurus.
  • Participate in library outreach, staff move, book shifting, and ad hoc committees.

Serials and Continuations Specialist

Jacob Burns Law Library, George Washington University, Washington, DC (December 2008 — June 2014)

  • Oversaw handling of serials, periodicals, and continuing publications from initial receipt through delivery to shelvers.
  • Maintained records of item receipt to ensure prompt claiming of late issues.
  • Trained and supervised 4 processing student worker positions.

WordPress Consultant

Self (July 2008 — July 2010)

  • Set up, upgraded, migrated, imported, and troubleshot WordPress installations for bloggers and small businesses.
  • Restored and repaired hacked sites.
  • Performed SQL and XML database alternations and migrations.

Other Library Positions:

  • Clerical Aide, Hyattsville Public Library (January 2008 — December 2008)
  • Page, Newark Free Library (October 2001 — June 2007)
  • Technical Services student worker, Messiah College Library (September 2004 — December 2005)

Professional Projects

Archival Field Study
George Washington University Law School, Washington, DC (Spring 2013)

  • Arranged and described the school’s unprocessed collection of miscellaneous papers and materials.
  • Created finding aids for the collection in Word/PDF and Archivists’ Toolkit.
  • Oriented rare book librarian on archival principles and tools for upkeep of the collection.
(June 2013 — present)

  • Replicated the EAD 2002 tag library in an interlinked format with language more suitable to XML beginners.
  • Published tutorials for EAD and Archivists’ Toolkit beginners.
  • Released second, EAD3-focused version of the site one year before EAD3’s release with continued updating to match final changes to the schema.
  • Created multi-site experience to handle multiple versions of EAD, deprecated and new elements, and changes between EAD 2002 and EAD3

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.


Master of Library Science, University of Maryland (December 2013)

Bachelor of Arts — English Literature, Messiah College (2007)
summa cum laude, College Honors Program


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


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.