5 Questions with our newest Partner Specialist, Maria LaCalle

November 1st, 2013

LaCalleWe are excited to introduce Maria LaCalle as the newest Partner Specialist! Along with rest of the Partner Specialist team, Maria will be working directly with Archive-it Partners to answer their questions about the service, lead trainings, and provide ongoing support.

Maria LaCalle has been working in the archives field for the past 10 years. She earned her B.A. from the University of California at Santa Cruz and an MA in History with a certificate in Archives from NYU. Maria is also a Certified Archivist with the Academy of Certified Archivists. In her past positions, she was the Digitization Project Manager at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), where she managed all aspects of a large-scale text digitization project. Prior to this, Maria was Senior Archivist at Rolling Stone magazine, where she managed the digitization of the magazine’s back catalog.

1. The digitization project that you oversaw at JDC was truly a global effort! Is this common among projects of this nature? If not, do you anticipate it will in the future?

It certainly was a global effort! While at JDC, I worked on a large-scale digitization project with vendors located in Laos, Israel, Washington DC and Texas.  Although my 1.8 million pages digitized sounds puny now that I’m here at the Internet Archive where work is in the petabytes, this project was quite ambitious for an international NGO whose primary focus was humanitarian aid. As a result we relied heavily on outside vendors for development and production. I do anticipate that many projects will take this course as they strive to meet increasing demand for digitized resources coupled with the reality of a small internal workforce and limited financial resources. While it could be challenging dealing with multiple time zones and a distributed workforce, I loved working with people in other countries and their collective efforts and talents only made our project stronger.

2. What was the more interesting archival object that you came across at Rolling Stone (if you can even choose one)?

Hands down my favorite ephemeral item in the Rolling Stone Archives was a roach clip. This was the last remaining artifact of a subscription give away campaign that ran for a brief period in the magazine’s first year of publication. What can I say, times were different in 1968 and arguably this give-away was more persuasive (considering its readership) than the tote bags you get now.

3. What are you most looking forward to in your first year as a Partner Specialist at Archive-it?

I love meeting and collaborating with other archivists and librarians! I’m excited to be in a position that will allow me to partner with many different institutions to help support their web archiving projects and to connect with other professionals new to web archiving. With the many advancements on the horizon for Archive-It (like Archive-It 5.0), now is an exciting time to be joining the team here and I’m looking forward to being a part of making Archive-It an even stronger service for our profession.

4. What do you think is the biggest challenge for organizations starting the process of developing web archiving programs?

Coming from the archives community, I know first hand what it’s like to manage a program with a finite amount of funding and resources. In order to effectively garner support it’s often necessary to have clear program objectives outlined and an argument for how this project will help fulfill a business need or institutional collecting mandate. While at Archive-It, I hope to help professionals advocate for the resources necessary to get their web archiving projects off the ground.

5. Halloween is here! What are you going as?

According to my almost-five-year-old daughter, and self-appointed Halloween Director of Ceremonies, I will be an evil witch. I’m not quite sure what to make of that, but will play along, wearing the requisite black pointy hat and sporting green face paint.