May. 31st, 2007

deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
At the end of June, I will be leaving Brandeis to accept a position as Digital Resources Archivist at Tufts, and I'm experiencing major seller's remorse. Not buyer's remorse -- I am extremely excited about joining the team over at Tufts Digital Collections and Archives -- but seller's remorse. I don't want to leave my baby, my digital collections, with so much exciting work going on here.

The fact is that in only a year we've built the digital collections here from the glint in the milkman's eye to a robust and scalable program which will be ready to launch in a few weeks. What I'm most proud of is that I think we've built something which can live just fine without me while they hunt for a replacement, and what I am most upset about is leaving for somebody else all the great ideas for projects we've been forming as we've approached the finish line: Institutional Repository; ETDs; special faculty projects; integration with the University photography department. So all of you out there who read this humble blog and might have the skills to foster my baby? Apply for this job. The Brandeis Digital Collections deserve the best.

So, Tufts. Why am I so pleased about a position which looks like a step down? I'll be going from driving the entire digital collections initiative at one university to being responsible for a small component (management, ingest, and maintenance of digital objects) of the digital collections at a roughly equivalent university. (Not to mention that I will be moving from DSpace to Fedora, and so far, I very much prefer DSpace.)

Over the years that I've been working, I've learned something startling about myself: I'd rather be a small fish in a big pond than a big fish in a small pond. Which is not to say that I would rather be a peon or cog in the machine -- anything but. Everyone who knows me knows that I am chock full of opinions. But I want learning opportunities, mentors, people to teach me things. At the best working environment I ever had -- The Company Formerly Known As, as we like to call it -- I was smack in the middle of a large group of people which included both some of the best mentors I've ever had and some really terrific entry level people who were eager to learn. There was the opportunity to teach and learn from my peers.

I've had a great time over the last year at Brandeis learning by doing, learning by screwing up, learning by attending classes, learning by attending conferences, learning by reading blogs and mailing lists and conference proceedings. I've had my trial by fire, and now it's time for me to get some solid mentoring. The conferences I've attended over the last year have been chock full of presentations by people in the group I'm about to join. Now is my chance to really learn from people who've been doing this for a long time.

Also, I would be lying if I didn't admit that proximity to my home and a walking commute played a large part in my decision to change. One of the advantages of working in a university is gaining the University community. As a car-free person, I'm so distant from Brandeis geographically that I can't take advantage of that community. At Tufts, I can.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Now I follow up that librarianship entry with one on scholarship, just to keep the readers of my infrequent posts hopping.

You may remember that recently I blogged about the gender issues which were raised after Media in Transition. I've been invited to participate in Henry Jenkins' fanboy/fangirl détente. I'm very pleased by the opportunity to contribute to the conversation. In the original version of this post I was also going to say how honored I am that as an independent scholar at been asked to contribute, but the thought-provoking first installment of the conversation in Henry's blog, this one between Karen Hellekson and Jason Mittell, has raised some interesting questions about the gender divide in the academic hierarchy. As Jason said,

I would hope that within media studies, the gender divides would be less structuring than in older & grayer fields, but there's no doubt that divisions between tenure-track and adjunct, affiliated and independent scholars are gendered across the board. Even perusing the lists of Henry's invitees for this forum suggests that more women are in less traditional academic roles.

Anyway, I' be writing in September with Alan McKee from the Queensland University of Technology. Right now I'm delving into his work to learn more about it. I have to admit that one of the very nice side benefit of this whole conversation is that it's giving me the impetus to read the work of some scholars that I have sadly neglected. Of course, to a certain extent, that's not a side benefit, that's the point of the entire exercise: encouraging communication across whatever gender boundary may or may not exist.

(Although Karen and Jason have started the first round of official conversation, I suspect that side conversations will be springing up all over the place as this project heats up. Kristina Busse and Will Brooker have already started a preliminary conversation online).
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