Introducing the New Research Data Canada Intern

blog arrowPosted on: Dec 11, 2018

My name is Laura Gerlitz, and approximately a month ago I began as the new RDC Intern.

My previous experience in the research data management community has largely been through my time as a digital humanities student, and I am thrilled to work with RDC stakeholders to make an impact on the state of RDM in Canada.

My interest in working with museum collections led me to completing an undergraduate degree in archaeology at the University of Calgary. Following that I worked for several years cataloguing and managing an antiquarian bookstore, where I met several individuals from the University of Alberta. In particular, librarian emeritus and previous head of the Bruce Peel Special Collections and Archives, Dr. Merrill Distad, encouraged me to not only go to library school, but to enroll in the University of Alberta’s dual MLIS/MA in Digital Humanities program due to my combined interest of special collections and technology.

Fast forward several years and I am now finishing up the program, having gained experience working as a student at UAlberta’s Digital Initiatives working both with the institutional repository, the Educational and Research Archive, and digitization of library collections. For the past several years I have also been involved in the Canadian digital humanities community, and several library and digital humanities-focused student groups, including being a founding member and previous co-president of Digital Scholars UA. I am aiming to transition into a career focused on digital initiatives and scholarship after the defense of my thesis, a digitization and image analysis of one of UAlberta’s special collections. An online exhibit of the collection will follow my defense.

During my internship I’ll be focused on reviewing and improving RDC’s outputs and communications. I’ll be in meetings taking notes, assisting with the completion of several final RDC publications, tweeting about RDM-related news, and writing blog posts. I will also be working on a refresh of the RDC website, improving it according to the FAIR principles and making it a more robust resource for national and global members of the RDM community.

As I have been entrenched in digital scholarship from a Western Canadian (and grad student) perspective, I’m looking forward to learning more about RDM within a Canadian context while in Eastern Canada as a new professional. With the federal government’s emphasis on building digital research infrastructure for the country this is an exciting time to be entering the RDM workforce, and I have no doubts this will be a strong start to my career path.

Laura Gerlitz
MLIS/MA in Digital Humanities Candidate
Twitter: @laura_gerlitz