Position Title: Metadata Coordinator
Employer: UT Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin
Degree/Year: MSIS, 2007
“I gained practical knowledge on Web development, digital collection development and digital preservation while at the iSchool.”
Melanie Cofield has been working at Tarlton Law Library since September 2007, which serves primarily the UT Law School, but also the wider UT community, the legal community in Austin, and the general public. The library provides resources and services to support the legal research activities of these various communities. Her role focuses mainly on managing and developing many of the Library's digital assets and services. On the public side, she works with the library Web site and web-based services, digital collections, databases, and social media presence. Internally, Melanie manages the staff Intranet and provides technology instruction, piloting new applications and advocating for best practices in digital asset management.
Though Melanie did not have a solid career plan before coming to the iSchool, she had years of library experience: She worked a few years as a student assistant in the University of Georgia Main Library while getting her bachelor of fine arts degree there, and after that spent nine years working for Austin Community College, first as a Library Assistant and then as a Media Technology Specialist. Though she considered getting a master's in museum studies, Melanie already knew she loved working in libraries and decided to continue her career at the iSchool.
While getting her MSIS, Melanie worked as a teaching assistant or "purpleshirt" in the IT lab, which she says helped prepare her for the collaborative and often experimental work necessary in the workplace, where variously-skilled and talented staff come together to try new things. She also gained practical knowledge on best practices and standards for web development, digital collection development and digital preservation while at the iSchool. "This has been very helpful in my efforts to effectively evaluate and make improvements to the policies, procedures, and resources I am responsible for in my job," she explains.
Melanie finds her IT and visual design skills serve to complement the legal research expertise of her lawyer-librarian colleagues, making for great collaborative projects where she always feels she has something valuable to contribute.