Highlighting the Expertise of Anna Lacy (March 4, 2022)

From a conversation between Samantha Smith and Anna Lacy.

Before starting as Metadata Project Coordinator for Archival Collections at Georgetown University in August 2021, Lacy worked as a project coordinator for the Colored Conventions Project, co-founded and directed by P. Gabrielle Foreman and Jim Casey. Throughout her time at the Colored Conventions Project she foregrounded the principle and praxis of building meaningful projects, something that she wholeheartedly brings into her work for On These Grounds. As a project coordinator for the Colored Conventions Project , Lacy gained a lot of experience with grant writing and reporting. She also trained graduate and undergraduate student workers, maintained digital archives, and planned events. Everyday was different, which is something she also experiences in her job at Georgetown.

As Metadata Project Coordinator for Archival Collections at Georgetown, Lacy is doing archival work and research for the On These Grounds project, particularly with the Maryland Province Archives. She is also working with the Georgetown Slavery archive, creating metadata for the On These Grounds data model, and supervising graduate and undergraduate student workers. As a PhD candidate in History at the University of Delaware, she is keenly aware of the needs undergraduate and graduate students have in doing work for a project like On These Grounds. Given the continuing uncertainty and pandemic conditions, she has thought a lot about how to on-board student workers in a hybrid format. Moreover, the workflows need to be flexible to accommodate shifts between modalities. She’s designed and implemented video tutorials and written instructions, which are meeting student workers where they at.

Currently the project team at Georgetown University is uncovering a lot family connections in baptismal, birth, and marriage records. Balancing the illumination of genealogies with the goals of the broader goals of the data model is something Lacy is keeping in mind at every turn. She is thus working closely with the student workers she supervises to check-in and answer questions. “Supervisors sometimes have a fear of more work for them,” Lacy said in our conversation, and although supervising takes time and energy, projects are better in the end as a result. “Everyone needs support, and everyone can do good work,” she added, and it is about creating an environment for this to happen.

The students Lacy is supervising at Georgetown come from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and perspectives. In the past she’s worked with students on collaborative initiatives and research that have backgrounds in fashion and design, engineering, and speech pathology. There is a richness to these collaborations and workflows, because everyone asks different questions, she says.

Lacy is excited to go back into the archives and be in special collections. She relocated from New Jersey to Washington D. C., and the move went reasonably smooth. Like many people who moved in 2021, it was difficult for her to get a rental truck. But, now that she is moved in, she’s appreciated being able to walk to work. She loves the 25 minute walk, as it is a great way to start and end the day.

For more information about Anna Lacy, please see read this "Staff Spotlight" article from Georgetown University’s Lauinger Library.

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