In this month's myMETRO spotlight, we're excited to speak with Rob Hudson, Associate Archivist at Carnegie Hall. We last heard from Rob at METRO's 2015 conference, where he spoke to a packed room about linked open data at Carnegie Hall. If you're interested in learning more, Rob's slide deck is available on our conference website (scroll all the way down).
How long have you been a member of myMETRO, and what got you started?
Officially, I joined myMETRO as a member this past fall, but I have been regularly attending METRO events since about 2010. One of my first events was a special interest group (SIG) meeting about digitization. We’d just begun exploring possibilities for digitizing our collections at the Carnegie Hall Archives, so it was a great opportunity to gather information and become more engaged in the local professional community.
Describe your work experience prior to joining the profession. What has been your most rewarding experience as a professional so far?
I spent nearly 20 years as a professional musician – teaching, performing, and composing/arranging music. My most rewarding experience so far has simply been the opportunity to work at an institution like Carnegie Hall, with such an incredibly rich and varied history. Every musician’s dream is to make it to Carnegie Hall, and I finally did, even if I can’t say it was because of “practice, practice, practice!”
What drew you to your particular line of work?
At first, it was because I needed a job! I’d relocated to New York City after a few years on the road with a Broadway show, and had intended to continue as a freelance musician. It didn’t take long for me to realize my savings weren’t going to last long enough to make that happen. I was extremely fortunate to hear of an opening at the Carnegie Hall Archives. I’ve always had a deep love of history in general – and music history in particular – and it seemed like a perfect way to combine my musical training, knowledge, and experience with something else I felt passionate about. Before long, I realized that I wanted it to become more than just a day job, and I decided to make a career shift. I’ve just recently received my MSLIS from the Pratt Institute, so after 17 years as an archivist I’ve made it “official!”
Tell us a little about the projects that capture your interests these days.
Quite fortuitously, my time at Pratt coincided with the launch of our Digital Archives Project at Carnegie Hall, a multi-year grant-funded initiative to digitize our historical collections. This deeper dive into the digital world, together with some of my experiences at Pratt, sparked an interest in Linked Open Data. I’ve been working on translating Carnegie Hall’s historical performance history data from our existing SQL database into RDF, the framework for publishing linked open data, and am now looking at ways to visualize the data as a network. I’m excited about the possibilities this offers for connecting cultural heritage resources, and for the exploration, discovery, and analysis of our cultural history.
What are your favorite ways to stay on top of industry trends?
Three years of immersion in the industry at Pratt certainly helped! I also follow a number of institutions and individuals from the library and archives world on Twitter, and enjoy reading blogs such as The Signal from the Library of Congress.
What do you find most valuable about your myMETRO membership?
I could have very easily responded to this question as part of my response to the previous one, since one of the things I enjoy most about METRO is how it keeps me in touch with what’s happening in our profession. The workshops, SIG meetings, and other events have not only provided great learning opportunities for me, but have also been a fantastic way for me to keep in touch and involved with the local library and archives community.