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Where Are They Now: Stories from Past RAs

The ISE has a long-standing commitment to hiring students as research assistants and programmers. As we begin to refine our metadata, you will inevitably find many of our past RAs and programmers' names across the site. Two recent RAs share their post-ISE experience with us.

Sarah Milligan (2013-2014)  sarah_milligan.jpg

Hello from rainy London! I was a research assistant for the Internet Shakespeare Editions for about a year from 2013-2014 before I moved to London, England. I am now the Publishing Manager of British History Online (BHO), a digital library of printed primary and secondary sources in British and Irish history based at the Institute of Historical Research. We currently have over 1,240 volumes, over 10,000 maps and over 180,000 text files on the site. Most of our texts are volumes that have appeared in print and have been digitised. My role as publishing manager requires the wearing of many different hats: marketing, communications, editor, subscriptions manager, sales, etc. It is my job to prepare new content for BHO, but also to think about how to respond to the needs of our users in an effort to continually improve the site. 

My past year with BHO has been an incredible and challenging learning experience, requiring me to develop new skills on the job. I’ve shifted from working with digital literature projects to a digital history project. However, in many ways, my work with BHO builds on the experience I gained while working for ISE and the Map of Early Modern London, which is also based at University of Victoria. With ISE, I handled communications; I recruited Friends of the ISE; and I participated in the redesigns of both projects. Those last experiences were especially useful when it came time to handle BHO’s own redesign, launched in December 2014. 

Living in London is a unique experience (I highly recommend it!). Visiting the dark underground of the Rose Theatre or walking along the banks of the Thames brings the world of Shakespeare to life in a tangible way.1

Spelay.jpg Michelle Spelay (2013-2014)

After graduating from the UVic English Department and leaving the ISE in December 2014, I headed across the Georgia Strait to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC to begin a Dual Masters in Library and Archival Studies. I am focusing my degree on rare books and special collections with an interest in digital librarianship, an interest I discovered while working for the ISE.

In addition to coursework, I gained employment working for Digital Initiatives at UBC. I was hired to work on the Uno Langmann BC Historical Photograph Collection and recently became a generalist who works on a variety of different projects that come through Digital Initiatives. I am currently working on the MacMillan Bloedel photograph collection, the Western Manuscripts collection, and the Japanese newspaper, Tairiku Nippo.

I would like to extend a special thank you to the ISE Associate Coordinating Editor, Dr. Janelle Jenstad, and ISE Editor Dr. Erin Kelly (Taming of the Shrew) for introducing me to rare books and teaching me the behavioural do's and don'ts of spending time in special collection libraries.2

  1. ^ Image of Sarah Milligan care of Michael Stevens.
  2. ^ Michelle Spelay presenting at the New Scholars Roundtable at UVic Special Collections' lecture series Treasures and Tea.