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Spiderman, Margin Doodling, and Dead Poets Society: 5 Minutes with Michael Marttila

Michael Marttila, Applications Development Analyst

1. Name, job title, and location

Michael Marttila, Applications Development Analyst, Library Information Technology, Lauinger Library

2. What do you do – in 10 words?

Maintain library services and automate library workflows.

3. I know that your work has expanded beyond Georgetown to influence libraries around the country. Can you tell us a little about that?

I work a lot with the open source software DSpace. DSpace runs the University’s Institutional Repository in DigitalGeorgetown and it’s a really common software that higher education institutions use both in the US and abroad. At Georgetown we work to ensure that the software works well not just for us, but for everyone, so we will patch bugs, enhance its functionality, and test code to help the platform grow!

4. Where are you from?

I was born in Allentown, PA and grew up in the Lehigh Valley area which is about an hour north of Philadelphia. I spent most of my childhood in a small, quiet town called Coopersburg, which was about a 50-50 mix of suburbs and cornfields. It was a nice place to grow up, there were a lot of good outdoor options to hang around and explore!

5. Are you more of a DC or Marvel fan? Who is your favorite character and what is it about them that resonates with you?

Yikes, okay, lets talk this through! I was going to go with DC because I had a Neil Gaiman phase when I was in high school, I loved Sandman, but that doesn’t really fall into the superhero category. If I had to pick a superhero I’d go with Spiderman who is on the Marvel side. My enjoyment of him is purely on the entertainment side, he’s such a smart aleck to the villains.

6. What are you reading (or watching or playing or listening to right now?)

Right now I am reading the second volume of a Lyndon B. Johnson biography called The Years of Lyndon Johnson. It’s a fascinating read. There are four volumes in total so some parts are a little slower than I would like, but the author Robert A. Caro does a great job creating a narrative flow.

The most interesting thing I have learned in this volume is that he served very briefly in World War II. He only saw one mission with the Navy where he was an observer on a bomber plane.

7. When you were a kid, what was your favorite part about back to school time? Did you have certain school supplies you really liked, new clothes?

I did like the feel of a brand new unmarked notebook. Back in my middle school days I was a fiend for margin doodling and by the end of the school year my options got a little more limited so it was nice to get a fresh start.

8. What is your favorite museum in DC? What do you like about it?

My favorite museum is the National Portrait Gallery, I love the landscapes, the gallery has a lot of sweeping, dramatic countrysides. I feel like the lighting there is particularly good and it is the first place I really was able to notice the textures and brushstrokes in the paintings.

9. What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?

Now I have a couple of these, the question is which ones do I reveal? I’m think I’ll reveal two, I have a lot of sentimentalism about the Dead Poets Society, it floats at the borderline of cheesy but doesn’t cross it and I love it every time. I also love Kiss Kiss Bang. Where to begin with this one? It has such a clever, full-throttle joke a minute script, an intriguing plot, and Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer have insane chemistry.

10. If you didn’t currently work in libraries, what do you think you’d be doing?

I would probably be down in a van by the river. :-)