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Sasha Han Unravels Metadata Mysteries as New Arca Migration Specialist

Sasha smiles at the camera, with a blurred background of a restaurant. Sasha has long black wavy hair that falls several inches below her shoulders.
January 18, 2024

Growing up, Sasha Han developed a love for Nancy Drew books. She was intrigued by the heroine’s ability to follow clues and solve problems. To this day Sasha is drawn to a good mystery, and that passion for solving puzzles plays out in an unexpected domain: managing metadata. “Tracking down missing colons, figuring out how to disambiguate between like terms – it feels like detective work!” Sasha enthuses. Fortunately for BC ELN’s impending Arca migration, Sasha steps into the role of the new Arca Migration Specialist, ready to be “on the case”.

The Arca migration, in the works since last year, will upgrade Arca’s end-of-life technical infrastructure to Islandora 2. Arca Manager Brandon Weigel will oversee the migration, and Sasha will contribute her expertise in coordination, development, troubleshooting, and communication to the process. Sasha elaborates on the advantages the migration will bring to Arca members: “the migration should result in a faster, smoother experience, and the new structure will mean that if one site goes down, the rest will not necessarily be affected. It will be easier for us to troubleshoot.”

Sasha’s enthusiasm for repositories is evident as she discusses how Arca’s migration will enhance member collections. “Digital repositories have such an advocatory power,” Sasha explains. “They allow communities to shape their narratives. Even grey literature tells a story about an organization. It's important to give that voice to communities.” Sasha details how the migration will bring about support for International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) manifests in Arca, enabling members to easily create webpages and digital exhibits about items in their collection. Since repository objects in Islandora 2 are more deeply integrated with the Drupal platform, Arca Admins will be able to do more with their data, including more complex searches and groupings, and they will have the freedom to generate customized displays of their objects.

In addition to solving metadata mysteries as a Migration Specialist, Sasha will devote part of her time to supporting Arca Partnerships like the BC ELN-BCHDP Support Service, which she has worked on since 2021. Outside of work you might find Sasha reading a mystery book (of course), learning a new language (next on the list: Danish), or snuggling with her beloved cats Lime and Lemon.