Where are they now?: Abby Flanigan

Tell us about yourself. What brought you to work as a part of the Project Vox team? 

My name is Abby Flanigan and I’m currently the Research Librarian for Music and Performing Arts at the University of Virginia. I joined the Project Vox team in September 2015, at the start of my second year of graduate school at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. I was halfway through my master’s degree in library science and was looking for opportunities to learn more about digital scholarship. I contacted Liz Milewicz, the head of Digital Scholarship Services at Duke, to see if I could do a field experience (what we at UNC called an internship for course credit) with her department for the coming year, and she invited me to join the Project Vox team.

 

What were some of the things that you learned while working on the project?

My role on the Project Vox team was, at first, to investigate digital publishing workflows, so that we could clarify our submission and editorial processes. I spent the first couple months of my internship thinking about how digital publications can ensure and communicate scholarly rigor and trying to apply that to Project Vox. During the second part of my internship, I focused on learning about altmetrics, which are measures of engagement on the web, and specifically on the implementation and use of the Altmetric Explorer tool to measure Project Vox’s reach and influence.

In my time as an intern on Project Vox, I learned about these very specific topics—editorial processes for digital publications and altmetrics—but I also learned more broadly about what is takes to create and manage a digital project on this scale. From the legal (researching copyright owners for images) to the technical (building the site’s infrastructure) to the creative (designing the logo), it takes many people with many different skills to build a project like Project Vox.

 

How did working on Project Vox affect your career? 

Scholars in many different disciplines are creating digital work or using digital methodologies in their research, and academic libraries are looking for librarians who are prepared to support and collaborate on this work. I was able to draw upon my experience as an intern with Project Vox as I was interviewing for positions, and ended up joining the University of Virginia last January. In my current role, I support research in the Music and Drama Departments, and while I haven’t yet had the chance to get involved with digital projects in those disciplines, I feel much more prepared to do so after my time as part of the Project Vox team.