Digital Assets and Metadata Librarian Boosts Knowledge With Post-Master’s Certificate in Digital Curation

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“I’ve gotten a really great foundation and deep look into what digital curation truly is. There’s a lot of perceptions out there that digital curation is just digital preservation and digitization but it’s much more than that. It’s the whole life cycle of a digital object. I’ve come to an appreciation of that life cycle and how you manage those materials. Thanks to the iSchool, SJSU, and all my professors for a great experience. I couldn’t be prouder to be a graduate from the iSchool.”

Megan Tietjen
E-Library Coordinator, The International Baccalaureate
Washington DC

When Megan Tietjen was working as a metadata librarian at the Department of Transportation (DOT) in Washington DC, she saw the growth that was happening in the area of database management and digital curation. “I saw the future there and decided that that was what I needed in addition to my degree,” said Tietjen. She had finished her MLS degree from the University of Maryland’s iSchool five years prior and did not take many classes on digital topics. “At the DOT I found my passion for digital curation and realized that this was definitely what I wanted to do. That’s when I applied to the [San José State University School of Information digital curation post-master’s certificate] program and found work at the International Baccalaureate (IB) because I knew they would support me doing this certification.”

Tietjen currently works for the IB as an E-Library Coordinator. The IB is an international non-profit organization that serves K-12 students in the US and around the world. The well-known organization provides curriculum and assessments to schools as well as a separate diploma for high school students who go through their program. It is a prestigious program that can help a student’s chances of getting into college. “I’ve heard from students that it is very satisfying and a lot of Universities and Colleges really recognize the students who come out of our program. It is a rigorous extra diploma that looks nice on your resume,” Tietjen said about the IB. She is passionate about the work that she does at the IB and has already been using the information she learned from her post-master’s certificate in her position there. Tietjen manages the digital repository at the IB and oversees all publications and metadata. She manages this information on the back-end so that resources are available for stakeholders who need them on the IB’s front-end applications.

Tietjen describes having gotten much out of the digital curation post-master’s certificate at SJSU. “I really got a lot of hands-on experience with all of my classes. My professors were wonderful and had great projects that I felt I could apply to my work at the IB. Not only did it teach me knowledge and skills, but also hands-on experience that I have already been using.” Tietjen’s final project, a website compilation of the work that she did on her post-master’s certificate, was recognized by her advisor as a model project. She took five courses for her certificate, each hand-picked for what they could teach her. “The program provides you with a great broad offer of classes that you can take. You can expand in other ways besides the core classes,” said Tietjen.  “For example, I got to take a class in cybersecurity, which I never thought I would take. The IB is a global organization under the new GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] in Europe so that class helped me understand that policy and how it applies to our work. I also took a great metadata class. I work with metadata every day but it was interesting to see other schemas and what other students are working with. It gave me a lot of good ideas for improving our metadata at the IB.”

Tietjen has the following advice for incoming students to the post-master’s certificate. “Have fun with it. It’s a great program. I did it part-time which helped me focus on each class. It really helped me gain a better understanding of each topic as I went,” Tietjen said.  “Also, don’t be afraid of group projects. I never had a bad group project and I loved what we came up with in our groups. It translates well to the working world because a lot of it is about teamwork.” Tietjen will take the skills and experience she has received from the iSchool and add it to her experience in digital assets and as a metadata librarian to continue moving forward in her career.