Susannah Woodbury, M.L.I.S., '18
Soon after graduation, School of Information alumna Susannah Woodbury landed her “dream job” as the first taxonomist for internet retail company, Overstock.com.
Woodbury earned her bachelor’s degree in linguistics from the University of Utah and taught English as a second language for several years before pursuing her Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) from Kent State University.
“I started my M.L.I.S. program with the intention of becoming an academic librarian specializing in working with international and non-native speakers…and I wanted to continue working with (English-as-a-second-language) students,” said Woodbury.
However, Woodbury’s career trajectory shifted when she was introduced to the field of taxonomy in her first semester.
“I immediately knew that was the path I wanted to pursue,” said Woodbury. “I pivoted and focused all of my work on classes that would help me move into taxonomy!”
Woodbury describes taxonomists as “librarians for the internet” because they categorize information to make it findable. She is based in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“As a taxonomist working in an e-commerce company, it is crucial that our customers are able to find the products (i.e. information) that they are looking for quickly and easily,” said Woodbury. “The taxonomy directly contributes to the user experience on your website, and a mismanaged taxonomy can lead to poor user experience.”
Kent State University classes in Library and Information Science (LIS), Knowledge Management (KM), and User Experience Design (UXD) greatly informed Woodbury’s current work.
“My work as a taxonomist overlaps with all three of these fields, and the classes I took in these disciplines at Kent State contributed to my working knowledge,” said Woodbury. “I was hired for my dream job based on my course experience alone.”
Woodbury expressed her passion for her work, saying, “It is wonderful and validating to communicate directly with people who will personally benefit the most from an improved user experience.”
This story is based off an interview with Susannah Woodbury during winter 2019. As of Sept. 2019, she is now a taxonomist at Etsy.
For more information on the Library and Information Science Master’s program go to https://www.kent.edu/iSchool/master-library-information-science