Today is Queen’s Day in the Netherlands and its new king, Willem-Alexander, was welcomed. While today signified a new beginning for the country where our intern, Marc Bron, comes from, it also signified the end of Marc’s three-month internship at OCLC Research in San Mateo, Calif. Marc started today early by watching live coverage of his country’s coronation ceremonies and ended it by gathering with co-workers and friends in San Francisco. Marc returns to the Netherlands tomorrow to continue his doctoral studies at University of Amsterdam and complete a series of papers about his work at OCLC Research.
Among those who attended the farewell dinner for Marc was Bruce Washburn, who worked closest with Marc on projects involving ArchiveGrid data and TopicWeb. TopicWeb, putting it bluntly, is a way to “play” with archival data in the context of a game and we expect it will change the way archivists think about and interact with collections. It’s something that hasn’t been done before and to accomplish such a task is a milestone in Marc’s early career in library and information science. It definitely won’t be his last.
Right now, however, is a time to talk about last’s. After a somber ArchiveGrid team meeting – the last one we would have with Marc – Bruce wrote about Marc’s time with us:
“Marc has been an outstanding addition to the small but mighty ArchiveGrid team … we miss him already. While here, Marc was instrumental in carrying out the first comprehensive tag analysis of the 130,000 or so EAD files that we’ve gathered together in ArchiveGrid, and is working with Merrilee to complete and publish a report of the results. He worked with our colleagues Jean Godby and Devon Smith in OCLC Research to test Named Entity Recognition tools with the EAD sources, with the results of that effort providing a way to better support faceted searching in ArchiveGrid.
“Marc led the team on a journey to find innovative ways to find related archival collection descriptions: the NER work was part of that effort, but it evolved into the development of an experimental collaborative game for searching ArchiveGrid and drawing connections between collections related to a topic. In a few short but very busy weeks we were able to assemble a system that we could demonstrate at the Society of California Archivists meeting in April, and we’re continuing to develop this idea into a system that we can share more widely. In all, an important and transformative period in ArchiveGrid’s history, primarily due to Marc’s intelligence, persistence, and deep and wide-ranging knowledge of information retrieval.”
One way to say “bye” in Dutch is “dag,” and we look forward to following Marc’s promising future.