Staff Spotlight - Introducing Sara Hoover, Metadata and Scholarly Publishing Librarian
Learn more about Himmelfarb Library staff members. In this issue we learn more about Sara Hoover, Metadata and Scholarly Publishing Librarian.
What brought you to Himmelfarb Library?
I moved to the D.C. area with my family in 2015 after completing my Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science at the University of Washington. I then spent two years working on projects for the Law Library of Congress and the Supreme Court Library while also caring for my two young daughters. However, I grew up in a college town and I have spent most of my professional life working for universities, so I was eager to return to an academic setting. The position at the Himmelfarb Library was unique because it combined my interests in both metadata work and scholarly communications.
Tell us about your current position and what you do?
I am currently the Metadata and Scholarly Publishing Librarian at the Himmelfarb Library. With the help of our wonderful Metadata Specialist, I maintain the library catalog and our institutional repository known as Health Sciences Research Commons. I also work with students as an informatics instructor. I am constantly thinking about questions related to what information might make information more accessible to users and about shifting trends in academic publishing models.
What about your job do you enjoy most?
I sincerely enjoy the variety of tasks associated with my position. I love the nuances of metadata work, but I also like having the opportunity to work with students. Every day brings new challenges, but also new learning opportunities. I am interested in a variety of subjects and therefore I have enjoyed expanding my background in the health sciences.
What's the best thing about working at Himmelfarb?
I love being part of a dynamic library--when I walk into the library I am still always amazed by the number of students gathered to study and work. I am also surrounded by wonderful colleagues who are always willing answer questions and help think of new ways to answer information research questions. Helping to contribute to health science learning and scholarship has been a privilege.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
The field of metadata work is changing rapidly. When I first started in the field, the emphasis was largely on data entry and analysis. In recent years, metadata work has shifted increasingly towards data harvesting and automated entry which means that it is extremely important to stay on top of changing systems and technologies. Learning how to adapt to continually changing workflows is always a challenge, but likewise exciting.
What do you like to do in your time away from work?
Like many librarians I am a passionate reader and I am generally happiest when found in the sunshine with a novel in hand. In graduate school I also realized that exercise might be an asset to an otherwise sedentary life at which point I took up a daily yoga practice. I enjoy spending time with my two preschool aged daughters who provide me with ample opportunities for running.
What jobs have you held previously that prepared you for your work at Himmelfarb?
All of my previous professional experiences have been related to either metadata work or scholarly communications which ultimately provided a wonderful background for my current position at the Himmelfarb Library. As an undergraduate student at Dickinson College and graduate student at the University of Virginia I worked as a research assistant to multiple professors. I also spent three years working as a Metadata Assistant for Project MUSE at the Johns Hopkins University Press followed by two years as an Editorial Assistant on the Science, Technology, and Medicine list at Yale University Press. I also spent time working on metadata projects for the University of Washington’s Allen Library, the Law Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court Library. After I graduated from college I spent a year teaching English in Japan which has been helpful for working with students in the classroom.
Where are you from originally and what brought you to the DC area?
I grew up in Blacksburg, Virginia (i.e. Virginia Tech), but I have lived all over the country as well as in the UK and Japan. My husband is a research scientist and we moved from Seattle to Washington D.C. when he took a position in this area. Returning to the East Coast after living in the Pacific Northwest was a bit of a challenge, but D.C. has started to endear itself to me in unexpected ways.