UCLA Information Studies: Fields of Endeavor || Featuring Lizzy Rolando (Georgia Tech)

SAA @ UCLA presents “UCLA Information Studies: Fields of Endeavor.” The Fields of Endeavor series introduces UCLA Library and Information Studies program graduates and current interns who are out in the field taking knowledge learned in the program and putting it to use! We are delighted to feature data dynamo, Lizzy Rolando.

Name: Lizzy Rolando
Graduation Year: 2012
MLIS Focus: Informatics
Title and Site: Research Data Librarian – Georgia Tech Library | Atlanta, Georgia | http://www.library.gatech.edu/ |

What do you do all day?
Right now the majority of my time is spent finding faculty, staff, and students who are willing to talk to me about their research data. Data services at the Library are still fairly new, so outreach and marketing make up a big part of my day. Additionally, we are finishing up a campus-wide data assessment, so I have been analyzing the data from that project in order to write a report with our final recommendations. I also have some more traditional Library duties – maintaining a LibGuide on Research Data, participating in Library committees and working groups, teaching workshops, answering questions from Library patrons about data, etc.

Most interesting item, record, document, etc. you have come across:
I don’t technically work in Archives, so this wasn’t something I came across in the course of my work, but I was fortunate enough to see the two Oscars in the Georgia Tech Archives collection. They both were awarded to a former Paramount film executive, Y. Frank Freeman, who is a Georgia Tech alumnus.

First personal item that you put on your desk:
A cardboard deer bust. The PhD student I worked with at UCLA, Jillian Wallis, had a few in our office in the IS building and she gave me one of my very own as a going away present.

Most frequently asked question when you tell people what you do:
“So, like big data?”, or “Oh, that sounds interesting…”

Most frequently asked question at work:
What do you mean by ‘metadata’?

Recommendation(s) for students who’d like your job:
Be prepared to define, defend, and market your work. This field (research data) is still new and really fuzzy, so it’s not yet clear what a data librarian should be doing. And because it’s new, many people don’t even know there are trained librarians out there to help them deal with their research data. Of course, being new also means you have to constantly demonstrate your value, which can be really positive. It keeps you flexible and on your toes, and it forces you to focus on what your users and patrons really need.

One professional commandment you would establish:
Thou shalt be flexible and willing to try new things.

Favorite archive to visit:
For online data archives, NASA’s Life Sciences Data Archive or the ICPSR Data Archive can’t be beat.

Jobs or internships worked while in UCLA IS Program:
My first year in the MLIS program, I worked as the Library Assistant at the Archer School for Girls. I then moved on to working as a graduate student researcher under Dr. Borgman, and I was an intern at the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC).

Favorite/Most memorable course from UCLA IS Department:
Dr. Borgman’s Data, Data Practices, Data Curation courses were what trained me to become a data librarian, and her Electronic Publishing course was the class where I first became interested in Open Access, institutional repositories, and non-traditional scholarly materials. But I promise I liked the classes taught by other faculty too! Digital Preservation with Dr. Blanchette was definitely a highlight of my student career.

Course you wish you had taken/was offered at UCLA IS Department:
I wish I had taken Academic Libraries because a better understanding of how that type of institution functions would be helpful in my current work. I also wish I had paid better attention in Management when we discussed things like the politics of a Library workplace, because the ability to manage so many different, and at times conflicting, expectations and interests is a surprisingly important skill to have.  Oh, and the Archaeology of the Media course being offered through MIAS this winter sounds amazing!

Photos courtesy of Lizzy Rolando

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