As a GSLIS master’s student, Heidi Uphoff appreciated the opportunity to complete her degree while working in Chicago. Now she is earning her Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in Digital Libraries while working at the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Research Library in New Mexico.
Why did you decide to pursue the CAS in Digital Libraries?
I decided to apply toward the end of my master’s program. I was specializing in data curation and really enjoyed the technology-focused courses. I wanted to take this further and learn more about developing and maintaining repositories for sharing and preserving research data projects.
Why did you choose GSLIS?
One of the biggest benefits of choosing GSLIS is its distance education capabilities. Although I took advantage of this as a student who worked in Chicago and now lives in New Mexico, there are other benefits. In addition to working with full-time faculty involved in LIS research, you get to work with adjunct faculty from all over the country. Having an instructor who is currently working in the field talk about the hiring process and their day-to-day activities is invaluable to students trying to figure out what they want to do with their careers.
What surprises you about the field of LIS?
The endless number of career paths you can take with this degree. Catching up with other GSLIS alumni, attending conferences, and listening to webinars—it’s always fascinating just to hear what other information professional do at their jobs. You’ll learn about an unusual collection someone curates or a specific software application they are developing that you wouldn’t have pictured a librarian doing when you first started out at GSLIS.
You work at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. What is your role there?
I started a little over a year ago as a post-master’s student for their Research Library. Since then, I’ve been converted to regular staff and am a member of the library’s institutional content team. We administer library systems and develop and maintain custom institutional repositories.
One of the more interesting projects I’m working on is developing a new repository system for our current collections using Hydra. I focus mostly on the interface, Solr indexing, metadata, and testing. Our collections are almost entirely internal, but that will soon change. As a Department of Energy library, we are responsible for enabling our researchers to meet federal requirements for public access and open science. To that end, we are beginning the process of developing a public-facing repository. It’s an exciting time to join the Research Library.
What career plans or goals do you have?
With a full-time job and a year left of graduate school, it’s hard to plan too far into the future. I do know that I prefer the service aspect of LIS. I like the idea of supporting research, education, and public interest. I feel that I get to support all three of these things by working at a national laboratory and hope to continue doing so in the future.
What do you do in your spare time?
I’ve definitely taken advantage of New Mexico’s outdoor activities. I don’t have to go far from my house to find a new hiking trail, and I am slowly visiting all of the national and state parks. Recently, I visited Carlsbad Caverns National Park and White Sands National Monument. I also run and play tennis. I haven’t tried skiing yet; maybe this winter.
Los Alamos is a unique place. It’s a small town, but its residents are very active in the community, bringing in concerts and art fairs. Santa Fe is a forty minute drive from here and offers great restaurants and various festivals throughout the year. I joined the Santa Fe Book Arts Group but unfortunately haven’t had much time participate. It’s difficult to keep idle in your free time out here. Too much to do!