Serving as the Virtual Digital Curation Intern for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Master of Library and Information Sciences (MLIS) graduate Brittney Farley enjoys the challenge and meticulosity of managing information. The recent Spring 2015 alum works in the Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories (OSEL) at the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), parsing through the presentations of the FDA’s scientists, extracting terminology that can be used as descriptive metadata for a lifetime of archived information.
The metadata she collects are prefixes used to summarize the researchers’ information. Farley contributes to a range of presentations– from implantable medical devices to research on carcinogenic risks. In the process of creating presentations, Farley is responsible for selecting authorized terminology from the Library of Congress Subject Headings that serve as keywords for future retrieval.
“I review presentation slides ranging from approximately 30 to 60 pages and use the Library of Congress Authorities to find key terminology that summarizes the content,” Brittney says.
She then enters the descriptive information into a spreadsheet using Dublin Core elements, such as title, creator, subject, description, publisher, contributor, date and many other formatting terms. She finally submits projects for review and receives constructive comments.
“Before this experience I didn’t know much about to the role of federal information professionals outside of the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian. Through my work I am exposed to terminology that is foreign to me, yet because of my interest in human biology, the terms are not intimidating. It’s a great combination of my love of archival materials and medical science,” Farley explains.
The most valuable lesson Brittney has learned thus far is to never underestimate time and how long it takes to perfect information. She initially understood how crucial punctuality is when she was admitted to the School of Information’s Library and Information Studies graduate program (MLIS).
“One of the first courses I took for my MLIS was Information Organization–there was something about metadata schemas/standards, Dublin Core in particular, that was love at first sight. I became intrigued and sought out this internship as a reflection of that interest,” Brittney admits.
Learn more about the Master of Library and Information Studies program here.