Campus News

Q&A with Tim Keller

September 4, 2019

Communications Staff

portrait of Tim Keller.
Tim Keller, head of discovery and metadata services.
Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones ’97

“Q&A with…” is a series dedicated to introducing staff members to the Oberlin community. Is there someone you’d like to nominate? Please get in touch

Tim Keller, head of discovery and metadata services, works in the Mary Church Terrell Main Library. He describes his role as facilitating the daily operations of discovery and metadata in the library. “My department works to make information resources, such as books, DVDs, digital objects, and other materials, findable both inside the libraries on campus and more broadly, everywhere,” says Keller. Prior to beginning this position in August 2019, Keller served as the head of cataloging and metadata at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. 

Get to know more about Keller in this Q&A.

Describe your role in six words.

Magical metadata fairy: making information discoverable.

Favorite place on earth?

My favorite place that I've been (so far) is probably Paris. I've gone on nine different trips there (soon to be 10 in December), and I always find something new. The tourist attractions are all fine, of course, but I have several good friends there, and it's nice to just get lost in the city and find a new adventure each time.

What's one thing we don't know about you?

I almost gave up librarianship to open a boulangerie after several trips to Paris with my husband and many classes on various viennoiseries and breads. At that point, however, I was given a full-time library job, which propelled my library career, so I've been in cataloging and metadata ever since.

What's a word or expression that makes you laugh?

The word “crostini,” because of a lengthy exchange I witnessed in a grocery store between a customer and an employee that culminated in the emphatic, exasperated cry, ‘What would you know about making crostini?!’

What’s your favorite movie of all time? 

This is a tie for totally different reasons: For humor, I love Clue. It never fails to make me laugh and it's infinitely quotable. The second, Les Chansons d'amour, by Christophe Honoré. This one is a bit more personal, so I'll sum it up by saying this: you just have to watch it.

What’s your favorite item of clothing? 

Probably a scarf I knit on a trip to Paris. It's memorable both for my love of the pattern I used (if you're a knitter and use Ravelry, ask me about it sometime), the yarn I used for the scarf (Malabrigo Paris night), and the fact that I knit the whole thing on a road trip to fly to Paris from Toronto. Ever since, whenever it's cool enough for a scarf, I've got it on.  

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