I came to Mimas in October 2007 to become the Senior Manager for Library and Archival services. This is no bad achievement for someone who is neither a Librarian or an Archivist, but I am pleased to report that my colleagues within the Copac seem to have now accepted me as one of their own.
Prior to my time here, I was in the United States, based at Michigan State University where I originally worked as a Lecturer in English and Cultural Studies, but in 2000 I became Senior Projects Manager at the University’s Digital Humanities Research Centre, Matrix (http://matrix.msu.edu).
At Matrix I learned a great deal about ‘digital libraries’ in the broadest sense of the term. I collaborated on the development of mulitiple-project distributed repositories that allow institutions to both manage their digital assets and also deliver objects and corresponding metadata online. (Exhibit A: A Gazzillion Quilts and the mother of all metadata schemas) . Beyond search and retrieval of digital objects, we also wanted to explore how repository design could support the presentation and combination of digital objects in contextually meaningful ways. A project I am particularly proud to have been a part of is Overcoming Apartheid, an educational site on the history of South Africa which is built upon a digital repository of primary content, including video and audio materials. This and many other sites we developed are built entirely open source repository software, Kora.
After fifteen years in the States, I decided it was time to move back home to the UK, and I feel like I couldn’t have landed at Mimas at a better time. Over the last year I have been learning the ropes with the Copac and Archives Hub team, and I now know far more about MODS, MARC21, EAD, than any decent person would perhaps care to. I am also learning a lot more about Library 2.0 and the challenges of supporting personalisation in services such as Copac and the Hub. This is rich and nicely messy territory, which works for me. And despite the messiness, it’s clear that there’s a strong and thriving community of experts around the topics that interest us here in the Copac team, and this is why I am pleased that we’ve started this blog