Meet your 2nd Member At Large: Erin Gallagher

Erin Gallagher What jobs have you had in the archival realm?
I have recently graduated from the Information Science Program at UNC Chapel Hill, so my job experiences have been internships. In my first position, as a Research Assistant at UNC Chapel Hill, I promoted to the scientific departments on campus the open online course, Research Data Management and Sharing. This course addresses the issues of data preservation and sharing, now required by many grant organizations. During the summer of 2017, I worked as an Atkins Fellow with the University Archives at UNC Charlotte. In this position, I worked with the University Archivist, Katie Howell, to interview departments around campus on their digital record keeping practices. Additionally, I helped to lay the groundwork on how to move forward transferring digital records into their newly built digital repository. In Fall of 2017, I began working at NC State as a Born-Digital Preservation Assistant within the Special Collections department. In this position I primarily processed born-digital materials containing photos, documents and videos pertaining to the history of the university. Currently, I am working as a Records and Information Management Intern at the American Board of Pediatrics, performing quality control on records in their databases, and digitizing their Human Resources records.

What is your educational background?
Prior to pursuing my Master’s degree, I earned my undergraduate degree in Psychology, from Appalachian State University. I was quite interested in abnormal psychology, forensic psychology, and the intersection of psychology and sociology. After graduating, I spent several years working in office jobs before beginning my MSIS at UNC Chapel Hill, concentrating in Archives and Records Management.

What is your favorite part of your job and what do you consider to be the most important part of your job?
In my current position as Records Management Intern at the American Board of Pediatrics, my favorite part of my job is applying the retention policy and getting to dispose of records, whether that means throwing them away or putting them away for long-term storage. I would also argue that the application of the retention policy is one of the most important parts of the job. By marking records for long-term storage or shredding them to protect personally identifiable information, our department not only clears up space for other uses but also provides a way for others to evaluate their own recordkeeping and usage. This is a very active records department, dealing with records from thousands of members, therefore they require an efficient records department and retention policy.

Tell us about something you're particularly proud of from your job or your institution.
At my current position, I am particularly proud that I am contributing to an organization whose purpose is to evaluate and certify pediatricians. Getting to work with their history and see how the organization and its members have changed through the years is incredibly interesting. Additionally, given their purpose to help protect the health of children, I am especially proud to work with them.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a similar career?
I would suggest that someone interested in pursuing this or a similar career is to get as much varied experience as you can. Not only is it a great way to get to know professionals within the field, it allows you to get to know on which area of the field you’d like to focus. You also gain an insight into the field through that hands on experience, which can be harder to grasp in a classroom setting.

Who has been key to shaping your professional outlook?
There have been so many people who have helped shape my professional interests and my overall career path. Dr. Helen Tibbo, is particularly responsible for suggesting that I follow an Information Science path, and encouraging my interests in digital preservation. Additionally, Katie Howell and Brian Dietz, both former supervisors, have been influential in my professional career. They have both acted as great mentors allowing for professional exploration, providing space for me to ask questions and learn about the field in different ways.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time in SNCA leadership?
This position has recently been redefined to act as a liaison between the North Carolina library schools and the SNCA organization. During my time in this position, I hope to promote interconnectivity between the archival students across the state. Meeting other students pursuing archival careers is a valuable resource, as these students will soon be future colleagues. Additionally, I want to help provide students with events and sessions that answer their professional questions as well as introduce them to professionals. I hope that through these efforts, students can gain an insight into their future careers.

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