My name is Sara. I like working with data in digital or non-traditional spaces, and improving user experiences with collections by making them easy to find.
I live in Nashville, TN. I’m the Cataloging & Exhibition Services Librarian at Vanderbilt. I catalog rare books & special collections, and do metadata creation for digital and physical exhibits displays in our libraries.
I’m also a coffee-obsessed, long distance running, artsy fartsy goofball & a proud dog mom :)
I developed an interest in systems, access, and high-fidelity metadata in graduate school, when I grew frustrated with how much data-loss happens when transferring XML and data from most systems to another, and even more frustrated when I realized that the hard, labor-intensive work wasn’t paying off : data loss meant users were not getting the experience they should be. I also saw how pointless “online museum collections” often are – rows of thumbnail images without any space for interaction, discussion, controversy, or even feedback.
I often write about ways to improve this on a meta-level in my blog, and reiterate similar points of view from thought leaders in the LAMS and in general – people who are far smarter than me. I want people to be able to interact directly with information & content digitally. I think other users want this too. Although in-person experiences can’t (and shouldn’t) be replicated, a new and different interaction with information, data, and culture happens in digital spaces. But to make learning effective and meaningful in that space requires intelligent design that involves users from the beginning.
As a trained archivist and current metadata librarian, my contribution to this is small – but is an important piece of the puzzle. For me it means cataloging, tagging records, attributing metadata, selecting subject headings, migrating old code, and sometimes developing taxonomies to make data as simple, clean, and usable as possible. There’s always plenty to stay busy :)
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Thanks!