Data Librarian, McGill University; CTO, 3D Next
Favourite aspect of your job? Most exciting part of your job? Most rewarding part of your job? Proudest moment so far? As a librarian, the favourite part of my job is working with researchers. I like being exposed to new ideas, and learning to think about problems in different ways. The most rewarding part of my job is being able to contribute to research being produced here at McGill, whether it be through helping somebody find articles, or by helping somebody to integrate technologies such as 3D printing or virtual reality into their research projects.
Has serendipity played a role in your career? Yes. Absolutely. I have always moved from one opportunity to another, as new opportunities have presented themselves to me. This has led me to move between many different cities and positions but, overall, I am happy where I am now, and I know that if I am ever no longer happy, I have enough experience to draw from to make another career change fairly easily. I find with librarians, especially, being willing to move into new roles and positions is extremely important, especially early on in your career, as when you work it a single location – depending on staff turn-over – it can take a fairly long time for new positions to open up to you.
What skill is most in-demand for people entering the field today? Within an academic library environment, I believe one of the most in demand skills for people entering the field is programming and experience working with large data sets. It is becoming increasing important for librarians to be knowledgeable about data visualization, data mining, and how to clean large data sets. Researchers are increasingly asking for help in these areas, and finding librarians who are comfortable writing code, or who are knowledge about statistical programs such as NVivo or SPSS, is fairly difficult at this point in time.