Major: Environmental Studies
What is your current role? What was your journey in arriving there?
I am both the lead of the digital preservation program for the World Bank Group Archives and the team lead for our broader Archives and Digital Preservation Systems team.
I divide my time mostly among these tasks:
– Design, implement, test, and create training for World Bank Archivists using our digital preservation platform
– Lend my expertise to an assortment of projects related to publishing archival descriptions and other information about our materials online, including photos and digitized papers
– Lead work with subject matter experts from across our archives team to design plans for ingesting different born-digital record types
My first career was working at Oracle for nearly 15 years in database and application design/development. The first 8 years I was in consulting – working with clients to design and modify their databases and related applications. The last 6 years was with a team in development – with a lot of that time spent on document management components of the Oracle Portal product (mostly targeted at creating intranet portals). When I left Oracle, most of the jobs I was interested in related to “knowledge management” (big buzz word back in 2004) wanted me to have a Masters in Library Science. I found a job at Discovery doing more Oracle work, but also got into the University of Maryland, College Park’s (UMD) iSchool to get my MLS. While there, it wasn’t their floundering knowledge management program that caught my interest – but their Archives, Records, & Information Management track.
During my time at UMD, I started my blog (https://www.spellboundblog.com/) and found my way to the digital preservation community that was young but growing. It seemed clear that digital preservation was at the intersection of my existing technology experience and my MLS studies.
What do you enjoy about your work? What do you struggle with?
I love the puzzles that are part of my job. Technology and file formats change so quickly that digital preservation will never run out of new challenges.
I think the biggest challenge to digital preservation is the amount of digital content being created. Navigating the tidal wave of 1s and 0s will make it hard to identify the records that should be preserved, as well as ensure we retain the necessary context to understand the records in the future and methods for viewing/interacting with the records in a meaningful way.
How did your time at Wesleyan influence your career choice/journey?
My work-study jobs at Wesleyan, in computer operations and as a computer consultant, helped me realize how much I enjoyed working with computers and helping people.
Do you have any advice for students thinking about entering your industry?
Embrace both technology and archival studies, you need both areas of expertise to excel in digital preservation.
Updated October 11th, 2023