Meet the Liaison team: Nancy Pontika

The Library staff were interviewed about themselves, their roles and much more!   Read Nancy’s interview below and let us know what you think!


Good Morning, if you’d like to start by introducing yourself        

My name is Nancy Pontika and I am… What do I need to say?

Your job title I guess?

I am the Information Consultant for Research at Royal Holloway, Bedford Library, University of London.

How long have you been at RHUL Library?

Well, I’ve been here since the 24th of June, with a long break for vacation.  So, actually it’s been a little over a month.

What is your role within the Library?

My role is to provide advice on Research. So everything that has to do with publishing, copyrights and open access, such as gold open access, green open access, funders’ policies. Now with the RCUK policy in place I deal with everything that has to do with Article Processing Charges (APCs), complying with the RCUK Open Access Policy, and in general just helping researchers on how to do things right.

Have you always worked in Libraries?

I have always worked in Libraries! Apart from small breaks when I was doing my PhD where I worked at the Tech Lab and at the Academic Technology.

My Undergrad degree is in Library Science and even before I graduate I’ve been working in Libraries. When I went to Boston to pursue the PhD at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College, I worked at the Tech Lab, where I was offering technology workshops to students. We would also have some hours where we would help the students with the “technology” they had to use for their courses, such as HTML, CSS, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Mediawiki etc. When I was working at the Academic Technology I was doing some workshops there too, but those were both to faculty/ staff and students and both online and face to face. I was also producing some educational materials, like hand-outs, printed and online versions, online tutorials, postcards and other informative leaflets.

What did you want to be when you were little?

I don’t know. I guess I wanted to be a journalist. But while I was growing up I realized that there are not a lot of “secure” jobs in the field.

Do you have any heroes and if you do, why are they your heroes?

Sir Tim Berners-Lee is my hero. He’s the person who invented the World Wide Web and the beauty is that he just donated it to the world, he gave it for free. Such a great invention! The World Wide Web totally changed my life and the lives of so many people. So yeah, put him down.

He changed the way we search for and retrieve information. The way information is presented to us and the way information has a meaning to us. For example when we do our shopping online or check the weather. I don’t know how people used to check the weather in the past! Did they sit in front of the TV and wait for the weather forecast? I can’t imagine my life without the World Wide Web. If you want to “punish” me give me a laptop without access to the World Wide Web. I will be so miserable.

What’s your degree in?

Well, I have an UG degree in Library & information Systems and I got this in Athens, Greece. I don’t have a master, I went straight for the PhD. My PhD is in Library and Information Science with a speciality on Information Science. If you wanted to narrow this down, I would say that I specialize on Open Access and more specifically on Funders’ Policies.

Do you have a favourite book [in library], and why?

The favourite book in the Library is Peter Suber ‘s book on Open Access. And why?  Because Open Access is my field of interest. It is also a great book. Peter breaks down the components of open access and the details so simply. You know he has a PhD in philosophy so he can use arguments very well! They all just make sense.

If you had a superhero alter ego, what would they be named, and what would your super power be?

The superpower would be the free of cost access to information so that everyone can have access. Diminishing all these worries regarding research, like promotion and impact factors, and just do research for the pleasure of doing research. This is a very competitive world for researchers. And the name for that would be… you tell me.

Open Access lady? Information Hero?

It would be the Researcher.

Oh that’s good!

The Free Researcher!

What project/event are you most looking forward to in the upcoming year? (Library related!)

I guess I am looking forward for the Open Repositories (OR14) Conference. It is in Helsinki and I’ve never been there before.

Describe working in the library in 3 words

Fun, there is cooperation and… quiet.

What advice would you give to a new student?

Be able to prioritise things. It’s not good to study all the time but it’s not good to party all the time. I guess students must be able to distinguish between the fun periods and the not so fun periods during the semester.

Would you rather, only be able to read the same book for the rest of your life but forget it as soon as you’ve read it, or never be able to read the same book twice?

I think the second, because I am kind of like the second. I can’t read the same the book twice unless it’s a book I have to memorise parts of it.

 Okay, cool that’s everything.  Thank you!

Thank you

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