Enterprise Information Architect
Ford Foundation, New York
MLIS, Pratt Institute, New York, 2008
Photo by Hallie Easley
Enterprise information architect Dalia R. Levine’s ability to zero in on core issues to find solutions helps her coworkers at the Ford Foundation retrieve the information they need and lets her guide other librarians in nontraditional fields to communicate the value of their skills in business environments.
At the foundation, Levine applies controlled vocabulary, an understanding of databases, and other librarian skills so employees can navigate easily through the 550,000 grant applications on the company intranet and collaborate on their decisions. “I get the computer to understand what you mean,” Levine tells them.
Both inside and outside the foundation, Levine has an “amazing” ability to demonstrate that librarians in nontraditional roles serve as “knowledge workers,” says Ashley K. Marty, a browser developer and taxonomist at Amazon and a member of Lonely Brains, an informal electronic email list that connects librarians who work in nontraditional roles. “Dalia is always raising awareness about what taxonomists/information architects can do to make information and data make sense,” Marty says.
Levine also helped revitalize the formerly dormant ASIS&T Metro, a New York City–based tristate chapter of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, says Jessica Peterson, knowledge representation specialist at Elsevier. Levine now serves as treasurer and organizes panels and other events. “She has handheld several people as they transitioned into various roles in taxonomy and ontology management and continues to fight for our voices to be heard and valued in large organizations that usually take MLIS skills for granted,” Peterson says.
Levine says she encourages her fellow taxonomists/information architects to communicate in the language of business, including preparing an elevator speech. “As a librarian you have to be out there, and when you overhear something, you have to not be afraid to say, ‘I may be able to help you with that.’”