Staff profile: Jim DelRosso

How can the Library take digital projects to the next level?

Who he is: I'm the digital projects coordinator for the Hospitality, Labor, and Management Library. This coming year, I’m also one of the Digital Scholarship Fellows.

What he does: Within the HLM Library, if there’s a project or undertaking that occurs primarily or exclusively in the digital realm, then I’m usually involved in some way, or providing support along with the Digital Projects Group.

The biggest example is DigitalCommons@ILR, the digital repository for the ILR School. We’re also in the process of setting up a repository to support the School of Hotel Administration.

Why it’s important: With digital projects, our mission is very tied to the mission of the Library. My goal is to create useful and interesting digital collections — collections that encompass both the scholarly output of the schools and also collections built in support of scholarly interests of the communities within and around the schools.

Where he comes from: I grew up in Endwell, N.Y., just outside of Binghamton. I’ve lived almost my entire life in upstate New York, although I did spend two years living in Maryland and working in Baltimore.

Education: My undergrad degree is in policy analysis from Cornell. I graduated in 1999. I also have a master’s in Public Administration from Cornell, from 2003. I have an MSLIS from Syracuse University that I received in 2009, and I also got a certificate of advanced study in digital libraries from Syracuse in 2009.

Years at Cornell: Sixteen of the last 18, if you include undergrad! My first library job was 15 years ago. I came to Catherwood a little over seven years ago, and I became an academic librarian — and assumed my current role here — two years ago. It was a reclassification of my prior position as a Web and Digital Projects Manager; my knowledge and my role expanded, and now I support all three schools.

Most memorable moment: Several years ago, I got an inquiry out of the blue about one of our digital collections: collective bargaining agreements from the New York State Employment Relations Board. I picked up the phone and the person said, “This is the governor’s office calling.”

It was David Paterson’s office, looking into a specific set of public employee bargaining agreements, because they were examining a policy coming up for reassessment. That was kind of cool, to know our documents and our information were helping to make real-world changes like that.

Best part of his job: It’s two-fold. One is getting feedback from patrons – faculty members, students, practitioners in the field, people who work in the schools – talking about how glad they are to work with the digital projects. We’ve had people say “Wow, I’ve had a paper downloaded 7,000 times this month. It's reached way more people than would have seen it if it was only available through the journal it was originally published in.” We’re really making a difference in how these people pursue their scholarship.

I also love getting to work with so many people in the Library. Sitting down with a lot of folks who are just as excited and dedicated about the work we do, and coming up with great ideas and implementing them and finding ways to help the Library make a difference in people’s lives, is something I love about this work.

And I love answering really tough reference questions, finding obscure bits of knowledge that are exactly what the patron needed. That’s a great feeling.

In his spare time: I’m an inveterate gamer, and I play video and board and role-playing games. That takes up a good chunk of free time. I also try to exercise, get outside when the weather’s warm and go to the gym when it’s cold. And I try to spend as much time as I can partaking of everything Ithaca has to offer: the farmers’ market, live music, theater, being out and about in the parks. I spend as much of my time as possible enjoying the city.

Dream job: This job is pretty close to what I want to be doing; my dream job is getting to work in libraries, do cool projects, and help people.

In this LibeScope series, interviews with library staff reveal their skills, talents, interests and backgrounds.