The following is a guest post by Philip Ardery, the newest member of the Library’s Web Archiving team.
I can trace my interest in computers and technology back to a single factor of my childhood: my family’s perpetually faulty home internet connection. While my multitude of siblings continually cursed and physically writhed over the frequent network disconnects, my parents stood by powerless, unconscious even of how to turn our computer onthough they were swift in realizing that they could unplug the machine to turn it off. I quickly learned that, in order to end the madness, I had to figure out how to fix the thing myself.
Flashing forward a decade or so, it makes perfect sense that I found myself fresh out of college employed as a technical support analyst. But, if you back up a year or two, the logic begins to fail.
In 2010 I graduated from Kenyon College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Despite having a continued interest in technology, the thought of pursuing a computer science degree had not even cross my mind. After graduating, however, and stepping out into the real world with my stylish yet less-than-accommodating liberal arts degree, I began kicking myself for not considering a more dynamic and practical degree four years earlier. Nonetheless, my natural inclination for technical problem solving eventually resurfaced as I began learning about and enjoying computers again through my employment as a support analyst at FICO, a job that afforded me a wonderful crash course in Unix-based operating systems.
My new role as an Information Technology Specialist with the Web Archiving team of the Library’s Office of Strategic Initiatives represents an exceptionally ideal opportunity for me. Not only does it appeal to both my literary background and my love of technology, but it also incorporates my third most notable life passion: the internet! Despite some of its more questionable quirks, I firmly believe that history will look back on the internet in an ultimately favorable light, as one of mankind’s greatest inventions. Consequently, I am ecstatic about this opportunity to work with some of the most influential leaders in the internet archiving community and to contribute my part to this outstanding Library of Congress initiative.
As the newest member of the Web Archiving team, I will focus on supporting large data transfers relating to the Library’s various collections of archived web content, contributing to the greater internet archiving community’s expanding standard of best practices, refining internal procedures to accomplish the team’s long-term goals more effectively and efficiently, while simultaneously providing a wide range of general troubleshooting reinforcement as needed. I greatly look forward to the challenges ahead of me and am eager to learn, contribute, and accomplish as much as I can in this outstanding work environment. I invite all of you to introduce yourself and let me know if I can help you with anything!