This interview is over 1 year old and may no longer be up to date or reflect the interviewee/interviewees’ positions
by Melanie Masserant, Head Editor, INALJ NYC
Jen Cwiok …AMNH Digital Projects Manager
Melanie: Can you tell us about your current job and how you found it?
Jen: I am currently the Digital Projects Manager at the American Museum of Natural History Research Library. I learned about the position through Metro’s job list. I am primarily responsible for managing, upgrading and troubleshooting the library’s applications: Innovative Millennium for OPAC, DSpace for publication and data repository, Omeka for images, WordPress blog, and Archivists Toolkit. I also create and manage all of the workflows for digitization projects. There’s a lot of data clean-up and data analysis that I do for legacy databases and digital assets that I inherited. There is also a good deal of Linux server based work that I do. Luckily, I have an incredible programmer who I work alongside who does the heavy lifting. I also do general IT work in the library…fix printers, install software, troubleshoot problems staff members have with their machines, etc.
Melanie: What courses, internships, or previous positions gave you the skill set to thrive in your current job?
Jen: My metadata course with Richard Smiraglia at Palmer was an important turning point for me while I was in library school. The work I did in that class motivated me to work with digital objects. I had previously worked as a serials cataloging assistant at the University of Georgia before coming to NYC and going to library school. At the time, I was really interested in public libraries and the social justice aspect of librarianship. Smiraglia’s class introduced me to the wonderful world of metadata and with that, a new career path.
Beyond that, it’s really been the hands on work that I’ve done. I’ve been a jack of all trades in library land…I’ve worked in the library at Lazard Freres, a global investment banking firm, Conde Nast, and the Morris-Jumel Museum before finding my niche.
My work as the metadata librarian at the Granger Collection was a great introduction to the Digital Asset Management world. I followed one of my colleagues from the Granger to Marvel Entertainment where I learned SO MUCH about project management, enterprise content management, intellectual property, and digital archives. The Granger and Marvel were game changers for me.
Melanie: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Jen: You’re not above doing anything. It’s important to get your foot in the door and be scrappy. Be social! try and connect with the people you are interning/volunteering/staff members with. I’ve found librarianship to be a very generous profession…most librarians want to help you find your dream job…a job…period.
Melanie: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Jen: I think that being able to read presents us with the opportunity to learn pretty much anything. Libraries are the stewards of all of this wonderful content and they’re just giving it away for FREE! It’s idealism at its finest. Bring on the unicorns and rainbows!
My favorite thing about library technology is all of the open source applications that are out there and all of the awesome things libraries do with them. My favorite is Omeka since it’s what I’ve been heavily working with at AMNH.
Melanie: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Jen: I like Another DAM Blog for digital asset stuff anotherdamblog.com and I like Leala Abbott’s blog for taxonomies and metadata http://lealaabbott.com/wp/
Melanie: Have you switched over to eBook Readers or iPads for leisure reading?
Jen: If not, would you ever? I read most of my books I my iPhone these days. I still read regular old books too…especially when I’m reading to my daughter.
photo and permission to use provided by the interviewee