This week’s interview is with Henry Rossman, Director of Information Technology for the Law Library.
I have a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Miami, FL. My Master’s Degree and Doctorate are both from Temple University (Philadelphia). The graduate degrees are in Sociology, with sub-specializations in Social Psychology, Minority Groups, Research Methodology and Statistics.
I’ve had this type of job, managing an IT shop, for over 20 years. I was Director of Data Systems for the Office of Tax and Revenue for the Washington, DC government, Chief Technology Officer for CRS, Director of Technology Policy (acting) for Library Services, and now Director of IT for the Law Library. Prior to that, I was a research analyst with the Institute of Criminal Law and Procedure at Georgetown University Law Center doing Criminological Research, followed by an extended period as an analyst doing social science research for a large consulting firm, Abt Associates. Before that I was a Parole Supervisor for the Florida Probation and Parole Commission.
How would you describe your job to other people?
I manage the IT infrastructure for the Law Library of Congress. This means that when anything goes wrong, it is my fault; when we pull rabbits out of hats and perform IT miracles, it’s just doing my job.
Why did you want to work at the Law Library?
I had an equivalent position with Library Services (the main Library at the Library of Congress) when the former Law Librarian, Dr. Medina, called me. He noted that the previous Director of IT had left and he needed help. I thought that the Law Library would be an interesting challenge.
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library?
I am continually amazed at the outstanding intellectual quality of the staff at the Law Library. In addition to the brilliance of the staff here, the quantity of high quality work produced by such a small staff is impressive. Overall, the most interesting fact that I have come to appreciate about librarians is that they are the original Information Technology workers. Back in the day of the Great Library of Alexandria, librarians had metadata; they could find one scroll out of 600,000 and put it back, after use, in its proper place.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
There are lots of things that my co-workers don’t know, thank goodness!! Some of those include: I love reggae and ska, I used to sky-dive, I ride a motorcycle, I kayak, I scuba dive, and I’m fascinated by the world’s religions.