by Sandra Hoyer, Head Editor, INALJ Washington
Camille Salas… MLS Student and Intern with Viewshare.org
Sandra: Hi, Camille, tell us about yourself. Where are you from and how did you come to be a part of the LIS community?
Camille: I am currently a second year MLS student at the University of Maryland’s iSchool focusing on Information and Diverse Populations. I am originally from El Paso, Texas, but have lived in the Washington, DC, area for the past twelve years. I am also currently interning with the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIPP) (http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/index.php) at the Library of Congress on its Viewshare (http://viewshare.org/) initiative. I decided to pursue an MLS degree after concluding that the aspects I enjoyed most in my previous professional experiences as a business analyst, non-profit administrative manager, and paralegal were very much the core responsibilities of an information professional.
Sandra: What kind of librarianship do you hope to be a part of in the future?
Camille: The answer to this relates to one of my most formative experiences, which was attending college in Massachusetts. It was a huge transition from having grown up in a border community. Many college students leave the United States their junior year to study abroad but attending school in New England was very much like going abroad. Unexpectedly and fortunately, the individuals who truly helped ease my transition most were archivists and librarians. They were warm and welcoming in my new academic and social settings. I will never forget how helpful they were in answering my questions and assisting me with primary research. I hope to serve in a similar capacity one day, whether it be in an academic or other information environment. The concentration in Information and Diverse Populations has been great preparation for work post-graduation.
Sandra: What are your current favorite reads (blogs, books, Twitter feeds etc.)?
Camille: When I am not reading for class, I enjoy articles from the New Yorker and Texas Monthly or through the website, Longform. There are so many well-written articles about the drug war in Mexico, and I wish more people read them to truly understand the implications of what is happening in that part of the world. For current events and popular culture, I read blogs like The Awl, The Hairpin, Pitchfork, or Slate. The last book I read was The Imperfectionists. I look forward to catching up on many more after graduation.
Sandra: Please tell us about your internship with the Library of Congress and what Viewshare is.
Camille:Viewshare is a free platform for generating and customizing views (interactive maps, timelines, galleries, facets, and tag clouds) that allow users to explore digital cultural heritage collections. Anyone associated with a cultural heritage organization (including library and information students) can request a free account online. My responsibilities include assisting new users by demonstrating Viewshare and answering their Viewshare questions. I also write an occasional post about Viewshare and its many uses for the Library’s blog, The Signal (http://blogs.loc.gov/digitalpreservation/). I recently completed the first version of a Viewshare LibGuide (http://libraryschool.libguidescms.com/Viewshare) for individuals looking for additional Viewshare examples and guidance.
Sandra: What are some of your favorite Viewshare examples?
Camille:I have many but I do highlight a few in the LibGuide (http://libraryschool.libguidescms.com/viewshareexamples). One of the views that I worked on last summer is related to the Rhizome ArtBase (http://viewshare.org/views/cmsalas/rhizome-artbase/).
For those interested, I wrote more about this view for a Signal blog post (http://blogs.loc.gov/digitalpreservation/2012/12/discovering-art-collections-through-viewshare/). One of my great passions is art and working on this view showed how information professionals and tools like Viewshare can help others discover and learn about it.
Another view (http://viewshare.org/views/jdw079/william-breitenbach-mexican-mask-collection/) I recently discovered and shared with family and friends is one on a Mexican mask collection at Sam Houston State University. I hope the creator adds more views or information about these masks because it looks like a fascinating collection.
Sandra: What do you enjoy about working with Viewshare?
Camille: While my internship might not be considered a very traditional library internship, I have learned a lot about outreach, collections, and the work of librarians at many different types of institutions. I have also enjoyed learning how tools like Viewshare are helpful in improving access to collections and information. I interviewed a librarian at the Library of Congress who was looking for a way to share a database of digitized Russian collections. She discovered that Viewshare could easily facilitate the sharing of her database with others in her field. The experience has demonstrated that being aware of tools like Viewshare can serve to solve problems such as how to improve communication across information silos.
In addition to the continuous learning opportunities, one of my favorite responsibilities is guiding and serving as a resource to new users as they start their Viewshare journey and then witnessing how they end up mastering the tool. Once users get really comfortable with Viewshare, their own creativity really shines through in their final product.
Sandra: Overall, what are the top three things you would like the public and future information professionals to know about Viewshare?
Camille: (see below)
- It’s FREE! Viewshare is a great tool for organizations or individuals who might not have a big budget but are looking for ways to increase access to their digital collections by embedding views or linking to them.
- It facilitates discovery for users and organizations. A recent article (http://www.dlib.org/dlib/november12/algee/11algee.html) co-authored by one of my supervisors, Trevor Owens, highlights how Viewshare can be used by collection managers to glean new insights about their collections. While Viewshare can facilitate greater access to collections, members of an organization can use the tool to: learn more about their collections, how to manage them, or even how to enhance them. The visual representations of data also serve to engage users and prospective researchers.
- Each view is unique and an opportunity to share collections in a different format. Subscribing to Viewshare’s RSS feed for newly created views is a great way to learn about projects people are currently working on and the different collections that exist in a variety of institutions. Since each user has his/her own content, it means that each collection is going to be a unique representation of that content. Visual representations of data can serve to capture and highlight collections in a manner that is often more appealing and therefore can increase use of your holdings, which is what we all want!