New Archives Intern: Elizabeth Popiel

Today’s post is an introduction from Elizabeth Popiel, our newest intern here in the Archives who will be working on piloting and testing some of the key pieces of our digital forensics lab and workstations.


Portrait of Elizabeth Popiel.

Elizabeth Popiel

Hello out there readers! My name is Elizabeth Popiel and I’ll be interning at the UCSF Archives & Special Collections working with some of the early born-digital collections here in the Library this summer. I’m a second year graduate student in the School of Information at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, with a concentration in Digital Curation, Archives and Human Computer Interaction.  I’ve always the loved exploration and discovery part of any research project and I hope to do a little of that here this summer as well.

I’m enjoying being back in the Bay Area before heading back to the Midwest for my last year of school. I love road tripping along the coast and seeing everything out there from the Redwoods to the Historic Forts, museums and interesting locations. I was born in Canada and have traveled extensively from places such as Bern to Tasmania, Singapore to Beijing and back again. It’s great to get to see and learn perspectives that differ from your own and to learn to appreciate them when you approach your work, especially when trying to figure out a puzzle or sort through a collection

In my past I taught English overseas, worked in broadcasting, and I have experience working in both hardware and software in Silicon Valley. I’m an old-school gamer and I still love text-adventures, joystick-based and SCUMM Engine games. Figuring out how to make them work on newer machines is always a challenge!

I like the challenge of working in research and preservation for born-digital archival collections, and at UCSF I’m hoping to be able to gain practical experience in this area. I’ll assist in getting their Digital Forensics lab up and running for collections capture, processing, and use as well as test processing some of the collections. It’s my hope that I can better understand how to work with active collections and how digital archival models can be adapted to different and unique libraries and archives such as UCSF.

In Archives, my passion in work and learning lies in the archival challenges that lay ahead in digital curation, forensic work, and audiovisual materials. One of the reasons working with UCSF Special Collections interests me is because there are so many collection pieces that need attention in order for them to remain usable for future generations. Everything from floppy disks with key scientific notes, to spreadsheets containing experiment setup in ontological medicine, or information or email communications that represent negotiations and crucial strategies during the height of the San Francisco AIDS epidemic – these all represent important parts of the history of UCSF and its legacy and I’m excited to contribute to preserving that legacy.