April 24, 2018

Abigail Grotke | Movers & Shakers 2004


Capturing History


In a career full of twists and turns, Abbie Grotke picked up the skills to help her land her ideal job: Digital Projects Coordinator for the Library of Congress. Presently, she oversees Minerva (Mapping the INternet Electronic Resources Virtual Archive, www.loc.gov/minerva), a project to collect and preserve those materials that were ‘born digital,’ the pieces of history that might otherwise, like so many web resources, disappear. The project includes collections on September 11, 2001, and on Election 2002.

Grotke’s art history degree led her to the Smithsonian Art Museum, where she cataloged, converted data into machine-readable form, and provided reference service. After learning SGML, she edited portions of the National Museum of American Art web site.

Grotke moved on to work with the Library of Congress’s Rare Books Digitization Projects, where she learned team management and project planning for digital collections, and then to the Manuscript Division where she supervised the massive Hannah Arendt Papers digitization project. She then helped develop the library’s Collaborative Digital Reference Service, now called QuestionPoint. Every step in her career made her an obvious choice to lead the Minerva operation.

And she has loved every minute. A headhunter who offered to find her a job for far more money was astounded when she told him the money didn’t interest her, what she loved was ‘every day, seeing and touching the stuff of history.’

Grotke knows her résumé may seem as though she hopped from one thing to another, but she sees the opportunities as a natural progression, ‘all digital in some form, but all about access and service and bringing the collections to people out there on the web. It may not be lifesaving work, but it feels important.’




Current Position: Digital Projects Coordinator, Library of Congress
Education: B.A., Art History, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, 1991
Hobby: Miss Abigail’s Time Warp Advice (www.MissAbigail.com), which uses Grotke’s collection of 600 antique etiquette books to offer advice to her readers