I am currently the Sally W. Kalin Early Career Librarian for Technological Innovations (Associate Librarian) at the Penn State University Libraries. My role spans traditional and emerging technologies from launching a new version of the Libraries’ catalog, to exploring opportunities in linked data, supporting projects of the Cataloging and Metadata Services department, and helping others reuse our data for their work. I have previously worked with library repositories, as the Digital Collections Librarian at the University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Libraries and as the Metadata Librarian at NASA Goddard. I’ve been working in libraries, part- and fulltime since 2001.
While still in graduate school, I created EADiva.com, 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.
More recently, I’ve developed workshops and led documentation projects which bridge library/archival description practices and Wikidata. I believe in lowering barriers to understanding metadata/descriptive practices. Many people who are intimidated by something sounding technical can learn if it’s presented in the proper fashion and with an assumption of their competence in other areas.
In 2017, I co-founded the DLF Labor Working Group (currently on hiatus 2023) with the hope of both providing a space for connection and changing conditions for temporary workers in the field. As I reflected on the technical projects I lead in the context of my research on labor, I began to take an interest in the emerging field of maintenance studies. Innovation in and migration of library systems are much studied, but their maintenance, the majority of systems work, is greatly underrepresented in the literature. I am also beginning research into the experiences of library staff in a post-migration environment, focusing on morale and adaptation.
Master's Degree in Library Science, 2013
University of Maryland iSchool
Assistant Librarian, September 2017-June 2023
Engaging with the Libraries’ discovery, cataloging, and metadata systems to promote interoperability and identify opportunities for linked data. Research interests include: maintenance of cataloging and discovery systems, contingent labor, ethics in practical cataloging and linked data work.
Implemented working digital collections infrastructure in CurateND, the library’s institutional repository.
The development of linked data vocabularies and infrastructure remains primarily project-based. While such experiments and short-term initiatives move the field forward, they often overlook the demands of ongoing maintenance and sustainability. Because linked data infrastructure and vocabularies are fundamentally interdependent, the deprecation or disappearance of one project cascades to damage other vocabularies and systems which had incorporated it into their design. Such losses undermine the development of a robust semantic web, particularly harming those who don’t have the expertise or infrastructure to adapt quickly. In this chapter, we review several key cases of loss and rescue and propose maintenance and sustainability as core ethical responsibilities in linked data development.
Over 30 years after such systems were first developed, the Integrated Library System underlies most operations of an academic library. Yet in the literature, its day-to-day maintenance is often reduced to a list of tasks. Through interviews with 16 system maintainers, this study attempts to develop an experiential understanding of its maintenance. Findings suggest that most maintainers find such work meaningful but face barriers when colleagues and administrators don’t understand what they do well enough to support it. The article proposes steps toward building a workplace where core maintenance tasks are recognized and supported.
Where does linked data fit in archival description? How do we get from promise to implementation? This article evaluates the benefits and limitations of current approaches to linked data in archival work. It proposes four pragmatic principles for the archival community to follow when determining how to pursue linked data. This approach engages with communities (both inside and outside cultural heritage institutions) already publishing linked data, accounts for institutional resource limitations, and recognizes the need for technological, educational, and social support for institutions and workers. Through an examination of the work of the Archives and Linked Data Interest Group with Schema.org and Wikidata, the article provides case studies which explore how these pragmatic principles for archival linked data create inclusive, rather than exclusive, communities.
Regular expression cartoon under Creative Commons NonCommercial 2.5 Generic license, original image at XKCD.com.