Wednesday Geek Woman: Sandy Payette, CEO of Duraspace

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Portrait of Sandy Payette

Portrait of Sandy Payette, cropped version of photo by wocrig, CC BY-SA

This is a guest post by Deborah. Deborah blogs on open source, children’s literature, and accessibility.

Sandy Payette is the chief executive officer of Duraspace. Duraspace formed from merging of Fedora Commons (of which Sandy was executive director) and the DSpace Foundation, and is dedicated to the two primary open source digital repository solutions in the education space. She’s also a researcher at Cornell University’s Information Science program.

13 years ago, at Cornell, Sandy Payette and Carl Lagoze created the original Fedora architecture as part of a research project. Very rapidly, this research project led to a reference implementation in collaboration with the University of Virginia, and grant funding, more grant funding, more coding, until it became what it is today: an
important, globally used preservation environment used by such heavy hitters as the Public Library of Science and the National Library of Australia (and my own employer, Tufts University).

Software development around digital librarianship and digital preservation is overwhelmingly male-dominated, despite the larger numbers of women among librarians and archivists in general. Many of the women in digital preservation are Women near Tech, doing wonderful, important work, but not the fundamentals of software architecture and development. So Sandy’s contributions to the field become even more apparent given the strange gender disparities of digital preservation.

In short, despite the inexplicable use of Comic Sans on her personal webpage (I warn only so that you won’t click through and decide she’s not as awesome as I’m telling you she is!), Sandy is a geek woman to admire.

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