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Librarian Profile

NuRee Lee Physics and Astronomy Librarian
NuReePhoto Librarian Profile

Welcome to U of T Physics NuRee!

You did your Honours BSc in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology & Cell Systems Biology and your Master of Information Science at U of T. How does it feel to back at your Alma Mater?

It is exciting to be back! It’s interesting to see how the campus and city have changed since I left six years ago. I’m excited to relearn what the school is like now that I’m returning in a working capacity. I took a first-year physics course back in my undergrad, so I didn’t have much exposure to the department. I know every department has a culture different from others, so I’m looking forward to getting to know what Physics is like.

After your BSc, you pursued a Master of Information Science - what made you interested in this field?

During my undergraduate research experiences, I gained an interest on how research data were being organized. For example, topics like how to efficiently hand over data and other related materials so the PI or a new member could understand the contents. This led me to pursue a Master of Information Science to learn the theory behind knowledge management and how I could apply that to benefit researchers in an academic environment. I found that research data management was an interest of many faculty members, but they lacked resources on how to get started. Over time, I realized that approaching it as an academic librarian specializing in research data management services would be a viable venue to work with faculty and students.

Your previous work experience includes working as the Molecular Plant Science Information Specialist at Purdue University in Indiana. Can you tell us about this role and what you did?

This position was my first out of graduate school, where I was hired to help a new institute (The Molecular Plant Sciences Institute) organize their data in a meaningful way to facilitate interdisciplinary work amongst faculty. I participated in things like designing a data repository to determine how data should be organized to help people discover what data was being created and where it might have interesting overlap with their own work. Other roles included helping faculty and graduate students with their research data management in their labs or writing about it for grant applications. Finally, teaching was also a large part of my role to help educate researchers about data management principles and how it could be incorporated into their own research activities.

You come to us from McGill University, where you were the Liaison Librarian to Engineering and Physical Sciences. Can you tell us a little bit about what you did there and what you enjoyed about it?

After some time in the US I became comfortable with my skills, so I wanted to slowly make my way back to Canada as the specializations I have as a librarian are not quite common here.

I was lucky enough to land a position working with Engineering and Physical Sciences where I could apply my knowledge in data management and other activities as a librarian. Engineering and Physical Science always had really great faculty who were open to collaborating in teaching or working on new projects where they believed I could provide valuable input. All my great experiences with physical science disciplines led me to decide to pursue this position with Astronomy, Astrophysics and Physics at the University of Toronto.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role as Physics and Astronomy Librarian?

I’m really looking forward to building relationships and finding ways I can work with all the students, staff and faculty in the two departments. Being able to focus my time on two departments will give me an opportunity to hopefully present my talents as a librarian that can benefit everyone going forward.

I hope that members of the Department of Physics will approach me with any questions, suggestions or ideas they have!

Finally, what are you most looking forward to, being back at U of T and in Toronto?

Hiking has always been a hobby of mine, and unfortunately, I’ve been spoiled by all the mountains that Quebec has. I’ve been away from Ontario long enough that I haven’t been able to explore what’s out there, so if anyone has any input, I’m looking for suggestions on trails I can explore.