Our latest profile of librarian researchers is Sharon Rankin from Rare Books. Learn all about her work on the cultural heritage of our northern peoples.
|Job Title||Liaison Librarian|
|Library||Rare Books and Special Collections|
|What research are you currently working on?||Since 2008, I have had the great fortune of working with faculty collaborators on a Canadian International Polar Year funded project focusing on the written heritage of Nunavik (northern Quebec) One of the books published was mine – A Bibliography of Canadian Inuit Periodicals – the print equivalent of a web database that I created while on sabbatic leave. This summer, it will be time to update the Caninuit database.I am currently in a “refocusing” stage, deciding which projects to pursue in the coming year. Will I index for the ASTIS database another Inuit magazine? Or finish the indexing of an oral history magazine? Or branch out in a new direction – begin a community-based information project in my neighbourhood, Pointe St. Charles?|
|Are there any themes to your research projects? If yes, then what are they?||The work I did on Inuit periodicals was so engaging. I was able to learn about Canada’s northern peoples, their history and culture. Providing access to little known important northern Canadian heritage – that’s what I would say is my “theme”. Selecting and coding appropriate metadata, making texts findable on the web, collating little known information and creating digital editions.|
|What do you enjoy the most about conducting research?||I really enjoy working in a group; having ideas build from discussion. Working with collaborators from outside McGill provides real insight into processes that are different from the ones here. Different perspectives on how to answer a question. Different ways to create scholarship. Difference approaches to completing the tasks.|
|What do you find the most challenging about conducting research?||The editorial work is a challenge at times. If only I was an English major!|
|What is your dream research project?||A pan-Canadian project to digitize all the Inuit periodicals in my bibliography, with ample funding to do it right, followed by an assessment of their use in northern communities.|
|Are you looking for research collaborators? If yes, then what skills or traits would you like those collaborators to have?||Definitely. Genuine interest and a sense of humour would be my top picks as the best traits for collaborators.|
|Where have you published and where would you like to publish?||My cv is short on articles in peer-reviewed journals, so this is where I would like to focus my research outcomes over the next couple of years. The specific journal will depend on what I decide to do.|
|What learning opportunity did you find the most valuable for improving your research skills?||In person, seminars have been the best learning experiences for me. I guess I am old-school that way. I plan to do a series of webinars this summer instead of travelling, so I am hoping that these will be informative.|
|Which research skill(s) would you still like to improve?||The writing stage is always the most difficult, so this is where I could use some practice.|
|What research skill(s) are you the most proud of?||I really enjoy supervising student assistants and having them as part of the research team. I have learned a great deal from every student I have worked with. I also have persistence and love to plan, two valuable characteristics that ensure things are finished up in time to meet grant deadlines.|
|If you had to describe your experiences conducting research in one word, what would it be?||I need three words – “ a rewarding privilege”.|
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