Preservation Week: 5 questions with Kam Chan

April 25, 2017
Richenda Brim
Kam Chan, Systems Administrator, Digital Library Systems and Services

Our Preservation Week Q&A series continues today with Kam Chan, Systems Administrator in Digital Library Systems and Services. DLSS provides access systems, digitization, and digital preservation for Stanford Libraries. The department collaborates across the Libraries to manage digital resources throughout their lifecycle which relies on the important technical support Kam provides.


Tell us about your work.

I am one of the operations folks within DLSS.  The team manages, configures, and supports an array of backend resources such as servers, storage and backups among others.  We also work closely with DLSS developers and other Stanford/external collaborators in deploying the many and varied projects Stanford Libraries is involved with.


With so much change in preservation in the last two years, what has been most fun and/or most challenging?

One of the more challenging aspects of my job with respect to preservation is to make certain we are adequately resourced to handle the ever growing amounts of digital content requiring preservation and to ensure that data is securely stored, available, and replicated to redundant locations.   These challenges require me to explore and occasionally adapt to new and cutting edge technologies which can be fun and rewarding.


Has your work influenced your life outside of work?

Maintaining a robust computing environment requires the operations group to be in a 24x7 oncall rotation.  We have to schedule around oncall and occasionally respond to problems outside of work hours, but we have a team of very dedicated folks who often step in to help each other on various issues.  I do realize however the important role the libraries play in the teaching/learning/life experiences within Stanford and the broader community.


Why did you decide to go into this field?

I’ve always been interested in technology so it was a fairly easy choice for me to pursue a career in high tech.  Technology has and continues to evolve and be more integrated with our daily lives, so it is imperative that we are able to effectively anticipate and leverage solutions for current and future technical challenges.


What's something about your job we'd be surprised to learn?

Even though I work in the libraries, I rarely physically touch hard copies of material for work.