Ever wonder what exciting new projects the many employees at NARA are working on? The “What are You Working On?” blog feature aims to introduce a variety of NARA employees and highlight some of the exciting projects we are working on around the agency. Check for this blog series on Wednesdays!
This week, we introduce Liza Talbot, a digital archivist at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library.
What is your name and title?
Liza Talbot, digital archivist
Where is your job located?
The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, in Austin, Texas.
What is your job in a nutshell?
My position encompasses both traditional archival processing and reference, and also digitization and the presentation of our holdings on the Web. I work with our New Media staff, our AV staff, and the folks at Archives II to try and make our collections—and we have great stuff!—accessible to as many people as possible.
What are you working on right now?
We are gearing up to launch all of our social media platforms, as part of our website redesign project, and soon we will be posting frequently to Twitter and Facebook, and then Flickr and YouTube. Our staff will use an in-house wiki to collaborate on ideas for posting: we are going to do a couple of weeks-long multimedia exhibits, for example, that people can follow on Twitter as though it were happening in real time. We’ll flesh out cool ideas like that, and hopefully generate lots more, by working together across departmental lines.
How long have you been at NARA? Have you worked at any other NARA location?
Less than a year. I finished graduate school at the University of Texas last May and came on board as a federal employee then. Prior to that, I worked as an LBJ Foundation employee in the Reading Room.
What has changed since you started at NARA?
Believe or not, I have seen a culture shift in the short time that I’ve worked here! We are moving towards an increased level of openness and collaboration, I think, and we are getting more comfortable with increased exposure.
Do you have a favorite day at NARA, or a favorite discovery or accomplishment?
One of my favorite things about our Library is that we archivists do both processing and reference, so we have all of these archivists who know their areas thoroughly and are terrific resources–for both researchers and for other staff members! I really like tapping into the knowledge that they have, that I will have too, and figuring out how to share that knowledge with our public. And it all comes from the records, I think when you understand the process in which they were created you understand something fundamental about the administration, and that makes me feel connected to the time 40 years ago.
What are your passions or interests outside of work?
I started a vegetable garden this summer, which is doing moderately well, so that’s gratifying. I also like to hike and kayak, and I help my husband with his film projects—most recently as an assistant prop-master, although sometimes I get a more exciting credit.
What is the last book you read, or the last book you loved?
I just finished 2 of David Kynaston’s histories of postwar Britain, which are change-your-life brilliant. I am now reading A Sea of Poppies, by Amitav Ghosh, which ought to help keep my Anglophile tendencies in check!
Meet more NARA employees: http://www.archives.gov/careers/employees/