Alumna Julie Miller Helps Companies Organize Their Data Collections
Julie Miller

A self-described “supergeek” who loves all things technical, alumna Julie Miller’s passion is helping organizations use the vast amounts of data they’ve collected in the most efficient way possible.

For the last 2 ½ years, Miller has worked as the marketing communications manager for the USENIX Association, a nonprofit in Berkeley, California. Begun about 40 years ago as the original Unix user’s group, USENIX works with computer researchers and scientists to publish their work and present their work at conferences or other, smaller events.

At USENIX, Miller is gaining experience organizing internal data to be more efficient, as well as “streamlining internal processes and coming up with some new processes and standards for the way we deal with our data,” she said. What Miller enjoys most about her job is that it’s constantly changing and she is always learning something new. “It’s just never, never stagnant,” she said.

Miller graduated from the iSchool’s Master of Archives and Records Administration (MARA) program in May 2014.

While in the MARA program, Miller did an archiving and Web dissemination internship with an organization called CyArk, a small startup tech firm. She talked with the 10 or so employees there about how they were handling their information, and then developed procedures and documentation for them, such as what they should be doing and what kind of standards they should be working on.

Miller looked at workflow, did the documentation which included a folder remapping, and did some research on digital asset management systems for them. She created a metadata primer for employees, and gave them some information on controlled vocabulary.

Miller also got real-world experience during the semester-long professional project required of MARA students. She worked with the Stanford University Archives, helping convert some collections to an online format. She helped convert their old collection inventories to EAD using Archivists Toolkit, an open source digital archival data management system.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in literature from the University of Arizona in 1999, Miller worked for a decade in the book publishing industry, mostly in a marketing capacity. She was laid off in 2009 when her company moved its office to New York. Then in early 2011, she met with a friend who’d earned his master’s in library and information science and was working on a PhD.

Listening to him talk about his research in topics like archival retrieval and information access, Miller was fascinated. She started searching online and found SJSU’s Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program. With a few more clicks, she found the MARA program, and realized that was exactly what she wanted. She entered the MARA program in fall 2011.

“In the business world, everyone’s collecting all this data, but they don’t know what to do with the data, they don’t know how to use it, they don’t know what they can delete, and they don’t know long they can keep it,” Miller said. “I want to help them figure all that out.

“I want to work with organizations to help them ensure that they’re using their data in an efficient and legal manner that helps the organization grow.”

Favorite Things about the iSchool’s MARA Program

“I liked being challenged in an academic setting again, learning about the technologies and learning how archives and records management is moving away from the cardboard boxes into the digital world. And having an online program was a necessity while holding a full-time job.”

Influential Classes

“MARA 249 Electronic Recordkeeping Systems, because that was focusing on digital records and electronics records, and MARA 259 Records and Information Preservation and Security as well.”

Career Tips

“Ask questions -- there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Network as much as possible. Don’t be afraid, in general – of what you might learn, what scares you, technology. For people who are changing careers, don’t be afraid to leap into it, to take that chance.”

Tech Tips

“I found Mindnode – a mind-mapping tool that allows me to throw all my ideas onto a grid and organize them – to be extremely helpful. I’m also a big fan of Evernote.

“In your free time, learn some basic programming and HTML, because even if you don’t use it in your job, you’re going to be talking on a regular basis with people who do. I think archives and records departments and IT departments are going to become much more intertwined as time goes on, for all organizations.

“Also, Google Drive is an awesome tool for collaboration, so I highly recommend it for group projects.”

Favorite Blogs and Websites, an EAD tag library; Stanford University’s Digital Library Blog; Society of American Archivists’ SNAP Roundtable; the iSchool’s 23things website; ArchivesBlogs; D-LIB Magazine; L’Archivista; Off the Record