This interview is over 1 year old and may no longer be up to date or reflect the interviewee/interviewees’ positions
by Jessica N. Hernandez, Program Analyst, Office of the Director, Office of Science & Engineering Laboratories, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, U.S. Food & Drug Administration
Nichole Rosamilia …Librarian: Pushing Boundaries and Blending Disciplines at FDA
Institution: U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Degree (Institutions and Years):
Master of Library Science (MLS), with a specialization in Archives, Records, and Information Management, University of Maryland, 2011
Favorite LIS Website or Blog:
Digital Humanities Now: http://digitalhumanitiesnow.org/
Digital Koans: http://digital-scholarship.org/digitalkoans/
Editor: What was your path to librarianship?
Nichole: My undergraduate studies were in anthropology and history, so I was very interested in working with archival materials and all the “stuff of history.” But I also enjoyed my information management job at an ecological research laboratory. I helped maintain their online repository of project proposals, data, and publications. So libraries and archives seemed a natural fit – I could make a career out of my interests in stuff (information) and organizing and providing access to it.
Editor: What type of work did you expect to pursue when you first started graduate school, and how does this compare to your current work at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration?
Nichole: Although I was interested in digital archives and electronic records, when I started library school I still thought I would work in a more traditional setting doing things like reference, arrangement and description, and scanning.
My institutional repository and metadata projects at FDA align pretty well with those expectations. But I have also had the opportunity to do a lot of work that I had not previously considered, like analyzing and modeling business processes to inform the design of a new database, conducting user testing for the repository, and investigating ways to measure the impact of investment in scientific research.
Editor: How do you explain what you do to the average person- say to someone you meet at a social event? What title do you use to describe yourself?
Nichole: I stopped saying I am an archivist and now generally tell people that I am a librarian. Although recently I have experimented with saying I work in knowledge and information management. I think this gives people a better immediate grasp of the kind of work I do, rather than implying something about where I do it.
Editor: You have a unique perspective as a LIS professional working in a non-traditional information setting. In your view, what opportunities exist for librarians and archivists in these types of environments?
Nichole: As information professionals, archivists and librarians have the skill set to fill any number of roles. It really just depends on your interests! I know people who have become Web managers, social media strategists, IT project managers, etc.
Editor: Finally, where do you go from here in terms of your professional development? Are there any issues or challenges you are eager to take on?
Nichole: I am still new to the profession myself and am exploring the myriad of possibilities. But right now, I am interested in how we can design and implement information systems that support efforts to measure the broader public impact of federal investment in scientific research.