Barbara McGlamery is a taxonomist at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. A semantic Web specialist, she has worked as an ontologist and metadata architect at Time Inc., and as a data librarian at Entertainment Weekly. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Florida State University and has a master’s in Library and Information Science. Jay Woodruff interviewed her in May.
How many times a week do you find yourself explaining that, no, you don’t in fact stuff dead animals for a living? At least twice a week, more at parties. I’ve started saying I’m a taxonomist for taxidermy. That always throws them.
Give us your Tweetable definition of a taxonomist. A professional who categorizes things descriptively—or alternatively, a closet organizer but for websites.
How’d you get into this racket? Taught myself HTML in the early ’90s as I was studying for my master’s at Long Island University. Then I interviewed for a traditional library job at Time Inc., but they asked if I’d be more interested in data management. After that I went to Entertainment Weekly.
What do you tell relatives you do for a living? Website design.
You’ve had some interesting titles. Which is the most difficult to explain? Ontologist. I was constantly asked about how I like working with cancer patients.
Does the era of Big Data mean taxonomists will be living large? We already are. As there is more data proliferation, there are more people out there looking for a way to organize it.