NDSR residencies may be time-limited, but the impact they can have on residents’ careers can be far-reaching. For this series of interviews, we will be talking with former NDSR residents from various cohorts about how their residency affected them personally and professionally.
Program: NY 2015-16
Host: Wildlife Conservation Society
Can you briefly (in a sentence or two) summarize what your residency focused on?
My project focused on testing and implementation of open-source preservation and processing software and development of selection, preservation, and access workflows and policies for born-digital collections at WCS (formerly known as the New York Zoological Society). I mainly worked with electronic records, graphic design and architectural files, audiovisual media, and geospatial data.
What aspects of your residency impacted you the most vis-a-vis your career trajectory?
Everything I experienced has had a huge impact. Exposure to high-level decision-making processes within a large organization was invaluable – seeing how much conversation goes into weighing options has helped me maintain perspective during transitional phases of preservation initiatives. Gaining experience balancing stakeholder and preservation needs with available time and resources, as well as getting technical, hands-on experience testing systems and troubleshooting equipment and software issues was crucial to becoming more comfortable in the open-source universe. Giving presentations publicly and internally throughout the residency helped curb my lingering stage fright and empowered me to reach out to our community when I’m grappling with tricky issues (although I’m still pretty scerd of the Twittersphere).
What are the three most important skills you honed during your residency?
- Professional communication and team dynamics
- Practical application of preservation frameworks, tools, and platforms
- Data analysis and visualization
What advice do you have for future NDSR cohorts or other participants in early career residencies?
Don’t be overly charmed by trendy career pathways or glamorous content – instead, cultivate technical skills and take a continuous and holistic approach to learning that can prepare you for a variety of preservation environments and collection types. Also, get sleep.
What is your favorite NDSR memory?
It’s a tie: the day I broke and then fixed our Archivematica test instance, and cohort beach-day.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’m so grateful to my cohort, and to our former program manager, Margo Padilla! I am still learning from and being inspired by their work, and there is no doubt that their support has helped me get where I am today. Love you gals! Also, I miss my WCS folks – I vote for a NDSR-NY Family Reunion!