Josie imageOver the summer, I worked in the Victoria branch of the Community Records Cluster as a data encoding and research assistant. Under the supervision of Stewart Arneil, Ariel Merriam and I learned how to use XML (Extensible Markup Language). Over the course of the summer, we transcribed and marked thousands of historical documents with XML, which will allow information from those documents to be processed and analyzed by software in ways that would not be possible by human intelligence.

For quite a while, I have been entertaining the idea of going into publishing after graduation with a plan to work my way to an editorial position. In July, a coop position as an Open Textbook Technical Writer with BCcampus was released for the fall semester. It seemed like a good stepping-stone towards a future career in publishing so I looked into it. The job description asked for applicants with experience in editing HTML and CSS code. I did not have that, but I applied anyways and played up my XML experience that I had been developing with Landscapes of Injustice. To my surprise, I got an interview. During the interview, although I admitted to no experience with HTML, I regularly referred back to my work with Landscapes of Injustice and my experience with XML to answer most of the questions. In addition, I was able to draw on writing and editing experience I have developed during my history undergraduate degree. I received a job offer fifteen minutes after I left the interview.

Working with BCcampus’ Open Textbook project, I edit textbooks to ensure they are accessible for people with disabilities – most specifically those with visual, auditory, and physical disabilities. These textbooks target first year post-secondary classes with high enrollment and are openly licensed, which makes them free to use, change, and share all around the world. I am learning so much about HTML, digital publishing, Creative Commons Licensing, and web accessibility. This experience has been a positive step towards my desire to eventually go into publishing and it is all thanks to the experience I gained in XML while working with Landscapes of Injustice! – Josie Gray, Community Records Research Assistant