This post is part of our Curators’ Corner series. Every so often we’ll feature a different DCN Curator. The series grew out of a community-building activity wherein curators at our partner organizations interview each other “chain-letter style” in order to get to know each other and their work outside of the DCN better. We hope you enjoy these posts!
How did you come to your current position?
I discovered this position while browsing online job listings after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2021. With my prior experience as a graduate assistant with IDEALS (Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship) repository I thought it was a perfect fit for me since the role supports work of three repositories.
So what do you do in your day-to-day job?
I really enjoy the dynamic nature of my job. As part of my role, I oversee the ingest and curation processes across three repositories: Research Data Repository, DukeSpace and Duke Digital Repository. My primary focus is on the Research Data Repository, where I serve as the main product owner and one of the data curators. Collaborating directly with developers, other product owners and stakeholders I assist to enhance its functionality, address technical issues, and contribute to development cycles.
How much of your job involves data curation?
I would say it depends and it is largely request-driven. We receive multiple datasets in some weeks, while others may only have one or two. While I engage in some data curation, the majority of front-end tasks are handled by my colleagues. My main area of expertise lies in the ingest phase, where I take over after the data has been processed by my peer curators. I troubleshoot any technical issues, curate metadata, and oversee the entire process until the content is successfully deposited.
Why is data curation important to you?
Data curation is important personally for me because I really want to make the data available for users to advance their research. I believe the data that has been deposited at least in the Duke Research Data Repository has had an enormous impact for research all over the world because of its openness and reusability.
Why is the Data Curation Network important?
I love being part of the Data Curation Network, primarily because it provides a platform for me to engage with peers, discussing challenges and collaboratively finding solutions. I’m happy that DCN offers so many networking opportunities from curators’ check-ins to creating primers together with my peers. It’s been helpful to learn about data curation workflows in other institutions and contribute to best practices along with other DCN members.
If you weren’t doing data curation, what would you be doing?
I believe I would continue to be involved in repository work due to my strong interest in making scholarly works and data open and accessible to the public. As a graduate student I learned more about the impact of repositories and open scholarship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign which inspired me to start my career in this area.
What is your favorite cuisine?
It’s hard to tell because there are so many great food options. I really enjoy Thai and Chinese cuisine. I like the variety of flavors and spices, as well as its accessibility anywhere I travel.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy being outdoors and living in North Carolina inspired me to do more camping than I’ve ever done before. It is fun to explore state and national parks, with one of them located about 20 minutes from my house for an easy weekend camping trip. It is fun to explore local biking trails, and one of them right behind my house is connected to the American Tobacco Trail offering more than 20 miles of trail access.
I am also an outdoors person and hearing you say all of this just specifically about the Durham area makes me really excited that you guys are hosting all the All Hands Meeting!
I think you will really enjoy visiting Durham and Duke University campus, one of the major sights of the area Duke Gardens is right across the street from the library building.
What is your favorite city?
One of my favorite cities is Barcelona, Spain. Some of my friends live there and they helped to explore local restaurants with the best seafood and paella. The city has its own unique charm with easy access to the beach, parks and mountains, and famous sights such as Sagrada Família.
Where would you most like to travel to next?
One of my dream destinations is Cappadocia in Turkey. I have always wanted to watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon and see all the views from the valley. Cappadocia is also a historical place offering access to monuments, open air museums, and as a bonus is surrounded by mountains making it a perfect place for travel and discovery.
To learn more about Madina, and the datasets she has curated for the DCN, see her curator page!