Student Worker of the Year for 2008-2009!

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We nominated Kate Matheny for Student Worker of the year for 2008-2009 and here is why:

Kate Matheny has become a repository of knowledge on which we depend rather heavily. We have recently hired full-time staff, and I have assigned one of them to learn everything Kate knows, as she has become invaluable to our operations. She sorts out our most chaotic legacy collections, brings order and sanity to them, and lays waste to mass confusion as she goes.

Kate has developed many metadata spreadsheets from scratch, repaired almost as many, and filled in many more with a consistency and adeptness difficult to match. She has waded into mass dissension on digital file naming and organization, sorting and reordering, checking, renaming, standardizing and streamlining as she goes. She has developed and documented workflows from digitizing sheet music to developing metadata spreadsheets, to recording progress in standardized fashion. She has helped us develop our policies and procedures, to create scalable and functional processing as we grow our department. She creates very professional results, in everything she touches, and contributes a unique and irreplaceable service to our department.

Kate has researched capabilities for both MS Access and Excel for use in combining metadata, tracked down rights issues, locations of missing files, information, sources of materials, identification of lost and unmarked items, and even appropriate national best practices for creating descriptive information. Kate has helped sort out hairy logistical problems in organization and workflow, drawing on her expertise and knowledge of what has and has not worked in the past, and her remarkable clarity of thought as to what makes progression in a workflow simple and intuitive. She singlehandedly organized our completely confused storage area into categories that made some sense, and gave us a starting point as to how to create long-lasting order.

We count on Kate for everything from accurate counts of digitization to repairing almost any kind of problem created by confused students, which are many. Our tasks, while repetitive, are not simple, and lack of understanding of the impact of little mistakes is a danger for all our employees. Kate not only has the aptitude for exceptionally detail-oriented work, she seeks out all the chaos and anomalies and creates order and sanity, willingly and happily; her initiative and attitude are amazing. She is a joy to work with, and a great boon to our department. Though she only works 10 hours a week, she is a central pillar of our success.

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