From computer operator to collection manager: Data Science Center employee spotlight on Jamie Jamison
Learn more about Jamie Jamison, the Library's Data Science Center collection manager.
As a double Bruin, Jina (Jamie) Jamison has been involved with the UCLA Library since she was an undergraduate student at UCLA. Today, she serves as the collection manager for the Data Science Center (DSC) and has been an integral part of the team, especially in leading the UCLA Dataverse project.
Before she became a collection manager, Jamie served as a computer operator in the 1980s, where she helped to run jobs or to load code into computers physically. At the time, UCLA was a hub for social science data - census, economy, birth and death rate, etc. - known as the Social Science Data Archive today. Since personal computers (PCs) didn’t have hard drives large enough to store data, many researchers had their data on tapes. They needed help to process them on mainframe computers with Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Jamie helped early data scientists and researchers to conduct analysis and that she “was lucky enough to see the change in research computing from mainframe to what we got now.”
Going into the 21st century, PCs became increasingly powerful and prevalent. Fewer and fewer researchers needed a computer operator to help them run jobs, as now they can run analysis locally. In addition, when the Social Science Data Archive (SSDA) was moved from the Division of Social Sciences to the Library, the SSDA had to move its data collection from the Social Sciences storage to a different place. The founding archivist, Elizabeth (Libbie) Stephenson, chose Harvard Dataverse to host the data.
Dataverse is an open online repository for sharing, preserving, citing, exploring and analyzing research data. As mentioned earlier, SSDA uploaded its data under Harvard’s Dataverse; however, the move was only a temporary solution. After Libbie retired and Tim Dennis came on board as the Director of the Data Science Center, Jamie worked closely with Tim to set up a local instance of Dataverse, preserving the SSDA in-house for long-term usability.
Leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS) and months of hard work, the website now has cross-region replication. It is backed up to preserve the data UCLA has collected over the last several decades. Furthermore, with an intuitive user interface, anyone can easily set up a data repository on the UCLA Dataverse through self-deposit. As the collection manager, Jamie is always here to help set up repositories, update permissions, curate data and much more, so please feel free to book a consultation with her if you have any questions.
Jamie witnessed the data revolution and helped UCLA transition smoothly as a leading research institution. The Social Science Data Archive would not exist without Jamie’s help. The DSC appreciates her hard work and is proud to have her on the team!