February 17, 2018

Kat Hagedorn | Movers & Shakers 2005

Right Mind, Right Place


Curiosity won’t kill this Kat. It was curiosity, and her passion for order, that led Kat Hagedorn to become a librarian.

No job could be better for the chronically curious than managing OAIster, which provides “one-stop shopping” for scholarly digital resources invisible to standard search engines. Launched in 2003, it searches through nearly five million records from 396 digital repositories using the Open Archives Initiative Metadata Harvesting Protocol. Hagedorn admits she sometimes gets “sidetracked by serendipity,” exploring some of the amazing digital objects.

No project could be more in need of her talent for creating order, either. The extraordinarily wide range of content she manages includes audio, video, photos, sheet music, maps, datasets, books, and more.

She discovered her genius for organizing information at Argus Associates, where she led projects for clients like AT&T. Argus CEO Peter Morville says Hagedorn became “one of the most experienced and capable information architects in the world.” When Argus shut down, Morville says, “[Kat] was afraid she’d never get an interesting job again.”

Fortunately, in 2001, OAIster happened to her. With the help of project programmer Mike Burek, she tested the OAI metadata harvester program, convinced creators of digital collections to allow OAIster to harvest them, and developed the end user search interface.

Now Hagedorn adds new collections every month, tinkers with data quality and improvements to the search interface, and makes conference presentations about the project.

OAIster gives free range to Hagedorn’s curiosity and her passion for creating orderly systems. “What better job can a person have,” she asks, “than doing what suits her best?”



Current Position Metadata Harvesting Librarian, Digital Library Production Service, University of Michigan Libraries, Ann Arbor

Degree M.S., University of Michigan School of Information, 1996

Dislike The expression “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”