Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Washington DC City Paper – The People Issue 2021

 Narrowing down the list of people to include in this issue is never easy, but this year the process was particularly tough, spanning multiple hours and multiple meetings. Was it because Washingtonians have suddenly become more interesting and taken on new, compelling challenges? 

Was it because we’ve paid more attention to those around us as the coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve and we stay closer to home? Or are all of us more eager to pick up on our neighbors’ energy and excitement during a decidedly dark time? Why we found so many compelling candidates is ultimately less interesting than the individuals you’ll meet in this package. Some have lived in D.C. for their entire lives and others arrived in the District to attend college or take on new jobs. Some lead high-profile projects or teams, and some guide smaller groups in their communities. Examined together, these 14 people—captured in color by the inimitable Darrow Montgomery—reflect D.C. in its current moment. Let them tell you why they’re committed to this place we all call home…” Highlighting one of the People:

Librarian Michele Casto may be the co-founder of the D.C. Punk Archive, but she gives special thanks to librarians Maggie Gilmore and Bobbie Dougherty, as well as James [June] Schneider, who is known for his documentary Punk the Capital, along with many others who worked toward establishing the archive. Casto is the go-to person for any questions regarding the archive, thanks to her role in the Washingtoniana Collection at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. She has been a D.C. resident and a DCPL employee for 20 years…”

Johns Hopkins University: “The Sheridan Libraries’ crucial role in the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 global map highlights the importance that libraries play in the data missions of universities. Library data management services reduce burdens on researchers, improve public access to data, foster collaborations, and maintain the long-term integrity of datasets…University libraries aren’t what they used to be. 

Most are going far beyond print media collections and research article hosting services. The Sheridan Libraries have proven to be a vital partner in buttressing the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 global map, proving that libraries have emerged as primary stewards of data that continues to expand in scale and complexity, says Dr. Sayeed Choudhury, Associate Dean for Research Data Management at the Sheridan Libraries. 

The library provides software services and training, data storage and archiving, data management, technical support, and public-facing customer service, removing many burdens from researchers. Can you describe the role the library plays in supporting the global COVID-19 map? The library first became involved because we provide the support for the institution’s license with ESRI, the vendor of the software used for the COVID-19 dashboard. 

The library had to scale-up that service and the use of that technology by amending the license. ESRI’s software was never designed for this scale, so we had to upgrade the infrastructure on our side and determine what implications that might have in terms of supporting it. It was unprecedented. It’s almost like someone had a small research lab, and then suddenly it was run on an Amazon-like scale. Making that jump in scale is a very important part of what we did…”