Faces of UMSI: Alix Keener

MSI graduate Alix Keener has worked for University of Michigan Press and Michigan Publishing throughout her undergrad and graduate studies and plans to continue to do so.

As the ORCID project manager at U-M Library, her task is to implement ORCID, a researcher identification program which assigns each researcher a number to help individuals locate their scholarly communications. As part of Michigan Publishing’s production unit, Alix managed the addition of over 400 books to the American Council of Learned Society (ACLS) Humanities E-book Project. She also worked as Digital Projects Manager at U of M Press from 2009-2012, updating eBook content in the content management system.

Alix enjoys connecting digital humanities students. She co-hosted Great Lakes 2013 The Humanities and Technology (THAT) Camp and presented at QuasiCon 2014 (Un)conference, a one-day free event which asks those attending to suggest topics of discussion. “The point of the (Un)conference is to assess what’s going on campus and how Michigan Publishing could support digital humanities,” Alix said.

Alix co-founded the Digital Humanities Collective student organization in September 2013. “There were no groups that were focused around digital humanities,” she said of the group open to everyone, not just UMSI students. The Collective hosted a librarian workshop and Alix organized the Digital Scholarship Retreat 2014, an informal chat between library academic departments, faculty, and graduate students to discuss their research projects. “We needed to coordinate our efforts better, bring everyone together in a single space and unplug and hash out things,” she said.

She completed internships at Stephen S. Clark Library, working on the reference desk, performing cataloguing and helping faculty locate maps for their research and at Michigan Publishing where she analyzed what’s going on in digital humanities on campus and updated the librarian guide on digital humanities.

During an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) in the Acquisitions Office at Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C., Alix updated the content management system for the rare books collection which included Queen Elizabeth’s herbal medicine book. She was allowed to carefully handle rare publications stored in a state-of-the-art conservation lab, complete with light, temperature and humidity-controlled vault and archival filing boxes to keep acidity out. “I’m not a preservation person, but it was fun to see the different techniques they use to see things better,” she said.

Alix, who also has a BA in English and Communication Studies from U-M, is working on a Digital Humanities Collaboration research project with Associate Prof. Paul Conway. The goal is to ascertain whether librarians are seen as equal partners in research by both themselves and faculty. “We want to see the best way people work together on DH projects,” she said.