William Walker Knauth


William Walker Knauth


Metadata Specialist


Indiana State University



Graduation year: 


What was your educational and professional background before coming to SILS?

Prior to my enrollment in the SILS program in 2014 I had earned a BA in history with a Classics minor from UNC-Asheville. I had also worked for a number of years as an archival assistant in UNC Library's Special Collections.

How has your career progressed since you graduated SILS?

Since graduation in spring of 2016 I have been working on a 10-month digital preservation grant at the ISU Cunningham Memorial Library and am actively pursuing a permanent position to move into after the conclusion of this grant. This grant is in a field of interest to me and relevant to my experience at SILS and previously. I have been satisfied with my career progress to date.

In your current employment, what are your job duties and responsibilities?

At my current position I am responsible for the preparation of digital content and metadata for the Indiana Digital Preservation grant at ISU. I am responsible for the creation of workflows and guidance documentation for this process. The overall goal of this project is to ingest member digital content into a LOCKSS preservation system. I am also responsible for aspects of communication and coordination among members of the InDiPres project.

What projects have gotten you most excited and/or what accomplishments have made you the proudest?

At my current position I am most proud of chairing a major grant working group meeting in October 2016 in Indianapolis. At this meeting I lead a day long discussion among a group of colleagues centered on how the InDiPres project would be accomplished and which framed the technical and organizational responsibilities for different aspects of the project. This was a new and challenging enterprise to accomplished and I was pleased that I was able to rise to the occasion.

What were some of your best experiences at SILS??

I enjoyed one of the introductory courses on information organization taught by a visiting faculty member from Duke. This course was succinct, interesting and informative, and involved experience with useful content for librarians. I also enjoyed a semester long field experience at the Wilson Library Special Collections, which I found a helpful experience.

How did your time at SILS prepare you for the future?

Many of my SILS courses provided me with skill for taking in large amount of information quickly for use in a professional setting. I was able to build up my skills at academic and professional communication and was introduced to many useful concepts and application for archival and information management.

What inspires or motivates you?

I am motivated in my professional work and in my life in general to contribute to the creation and preservation of knowledge and other similar manifestations of cultural value.

Is there any other information you would like to share, or any advice you would like to offer current or future SILS students?

It is very important at the SILS program to have an idea of what you want to do with the limited time at the program. SILS and graduate school is very different from and undergraduate program. I would stress that the most significant element of being at UNC SILS is the non-classroom experience you can gain. By necessity course instruction is often quite general in character and alone would not be useful in a professional position. Seek out resources on campus that will connect you with a meaningful job at the University in the form of an internship, field experience, or some similar thing in the community. This will provide a very valuable set of experience based knowledge that will enhance and enrich your coursework. It will also be a critical element of discussion for any interview with a prospective employer at the end of the program. I would also suggest strongly speaking with the relevant to your interests faculty independently of class time, and of making strong use of the excellent career services SILS provides.