What attracted you to information science as a profession and field of study?
I was initially attracted to the field of information science because of what I perceived as an underlying goal of ubiquity of access to information. After being involved in the field for a number of years, I have come to realize that accessibility is only one component of the meaningful work that is done in the application of information towards development of individual and community knowledge. By providing tools for the contextualization and re-contextualization of information, creation of learning resources, preservation (both physical and digital), as well as safeguarding intellectual freedom, we are contributing to the greater good of our society.
In what area of information science do you practice, teach or do research? What about that area of practice/study made you choose it?
Digital scholarship in academia is ever-changing, which provides for some fluidity in the work performed by academic libraries in support of students and faculty. In my current position, I work in the areas of Digital Collections, Digital Scholarship, Research Information Management, and Data Management. My work also has a large community engagement component, often partnering with local libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage organizations to develop community-based digitall initiatives.
I chose Digital Collections because the work resonated with my philosophical views in two ways: 1) materials that are digitized and made accessible online are often unique/rare and hidden or otherwise difficult to access as physical objects; 2) materials that are digitized are often primary sources, which once digitized, become available to new interpretations and historical narratives. Both of these aspects of digitization lend themselves to empowering individuals and our community through the democratization of information. I continue to work in Digital Collections because of the fluidity of digital scholarship that comes with technological advancements and new methodologies for analyzing, re-configuring, and visualizing information. There are endless opportunities for partnering across disciplines on new and exciting projects.
Why did you join ASIS&T and what does your membership in ASIS&T do for you?
I recently joined as a member of ASIS&T in order to expand my professional network, engage in conversations, and share knowledge with colleagues, nationally and internationally, who have similar subject area interests. ASIS&T is an appealing organization to participate in because of its long-standing reputation as a resource for the intersection of information science and technology, through research, professional development, as well as opportunities to connect at conferences and member meetings.
What advice would you give to young people contemplating information science as a potential profession or field of study?
I would encourage those contemplating a profession in information science to explore the things that fascinate and challenge them. This is a career path with lots of potential in a variety of disciplines. My own path was by no means a direct line. With a background in fine art, it wasn’t until I had been working in an academic library that I chose to pursue a degree in Management of Information Systems. Although an unlikely pairing, the analytical skills I developed in the arts has suited me well in moving towards a more highly technical field of study and profession.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge for those working in information science in the next decade?
I anticipate that those working in information science will encounter a number of challenges over the next ten years. Although, if I had to choose one, I would focus on stewardship of technologies and applications. As new technologies for creating, accessing, and interacting with digital artifacts and data come into existence, evolve, and perish, it isn’t enough to simply archive these digital artifacts and data. We will need to come up with new methodologies for documenting processes and systems. This has been a growing challenge with digital scholarship technologies and data visualization across a variety of fields, academic and commercial. The effects of which can be seen in academia as we struggle to continually support or migrate homegrown digital projects and in commercial fields, including journalism, where online news stories as well as associated interactive media, images, and data visualizations are proving to be ephemeral.