myMETRO Member Spotlight: Miraida Morales

This month we are thrilled to feature Miraida Morales in our myMETRO Member Spotlight series. Miraida just returned to Rutgers University as a PhD Candidate and a Spectrum Doctoral Fellow. Congratulations, Miraida, and best wishes as you embark on a new journey!

09122013_moralesspotlight.jpgMiraida Morales is a Spectrum Doctoral Fellow and new PhD candidate at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information where she will be focusing on the information seeking behavior of multi-lingual users. After receiving her MLIS from Rutgers in 2012, she joined 1stdibs—an online marketplace for antiques and luxury goods. As the site taxonomist, she has been responsible for developing a classification system and software tools for the management of one-of-a-kind vintage and antique items listed on the site. She has presented on digital libraries and taxonomy at various regional, national and international conferences.

In addition to her involvement in SLA’s Taxonomy Division, since 2009 Miraida has been a member of the Board of Directors of En Foco, a non-profit fine art photography organization dedicated to supporting minority artists and artists of color.

Before attending library school, she spent 8 years in international trade book publishing where she not only made frequent use of her passport, but more importantly where she developed her interest in digital content and metadata. A full-fledged Francophile, Miraida also holds a M.A. in 19th and 20th Century French History and Culture from New York University’s Institute of French Studies.

1. When did you first join myMETRO?

I joined in 2011 while still a student in the MLIS program at Rutgers.

2. Describe your work experience prior to joining the profession. What has been your most rewarding experience as a professional so far?

Before attending library school, I was in trade book publishing for about 8 years. I worked in export and import sales of books in English and Spanish to the trade and library markets in Latin America, the Caribbean, as well as domestically in the US.

I’ve been fortunate to present aspects of my work at several professional conferences, and the feedback I receive every time is a tremendous source of encouragement to me. I’ve met wonderful people and great organizations every time I am part of a panel or presentation event, and this is a great way to broaden my network of people to learn from as I’ve started in this new career.

3. What drew you to your particular line of work?

As a taxonomist, I believe that designing intuitive classification systems, information retrieval systems and information architectures is the best way to unlock information for people. We hear a lot about information overload, filter bubbles, SEO strategies, UX design--these are all issues of the day and taxonomy and metadata are specialties that will become ever more relevant as these new technologies develop. When people fret over the future of libraries and of our profession, I can’t help but be puzzled. There is still so much left to figure out when it comes to intuitively designing information systems. I welcome the challenge.

4. Tell us a little about the projects that capture your interests these days (either for yourself or an organization).

Localization is the next frontier for me, and it’s one of the things I hope to learn more about during the PhD program at Rutgers. This past year I’ve worked for an ecommerce website that’s expanding its international focus and this brings with it lots of language and culture issues. How should the search features of our site accommodate searching in other languages, for instance, or searching in English by non-fluent English speakers? How can we restructure the site taxonomy to allow for more seamless searching and browsing in other languages? The Web used to be almost entirely English language, but this is less and less the case and designing multi- and cross-lingual information platforms will soon take center stage.

5. What are your favorite ways to stay on top of industry trends?

I use my Twitter feed as my news aggregator and I follow library accounts as well as non-library tech news sources such as Tech Crunch, Mashable, PandoDaily, GigaOM, Gadget Lab, etc. I’ve created a list in Twitter for all my Tech news sources, and I read the feed several times a day. I’m lucky that I work in the Tech industry because I also get to hear from my colleagues in Engineering and Product about new features, best practices, and new tech developments constantly. I also am a big fan of a podcast called 99% Invisible, and listen to it religiously. It’s a design-focused podcast, but with so much attention being given to usability and UX design these days, I’ve learned how important is the concept of ‘design’ when creating anything --including information systems and libraries.

6. What do you find most valuable about your myMETRO membership?

Being the only librarian and taxonomist where I currently work, I tend to feel a bit isolated from other librarians. Every time I attend a myMETRO event, I feel like a part of a really warm community of seasoned specialists in so many library-related fields. It was something I was afraid of losing when graduating from library school and accepting a job where I knew I wouldn’t be working alongside any other librarians--and am so glad it hasn’t been the case thanks to this organization.


Photo Credit: Alan Barnett Photography

Quick Plug: myMETRO members can sign up for their own headshot session with Alan Barnett through myMETRO's Career Service Benefits! Apply here.

Are you a myMETRO Member? Would you like to be featured in a myMETRO spotlight? Contact Tom Nielsen at for more information.