Vaughn, Taxonomy expert


1) Tell us a little bit about your background.

 I was born in Minnesota (I don’t miss the winters) and grew up in Montana (I don’t miss those winters, either) but have lived in many areas, including Seattle, New York, Chicago, and now the San Francisco Bay Area, where I’m pretty certain to stay. I’ve always loved academia and my plan once was to teach history at the university level. However, I eventually fell in love with the idea of academic/university librarianship or information science.

When I’m not building taxonomies for RedLink by moving post-it notes around a giant wall-sized whiteboard, I’m reading mysteries and history books, playing modern board games, listening to university lectures through The Teaching Company’s Great Courses Series, trying new cocktails, discovering new favorite stand-up comedians, and following football, baseball, and soccer.

2) What excites you to work in a start-up environment?

As someone deeply motivated by both personal and professional learning and growth, I am thrilled by the opportunity to work in an environment that is learning and growth at the organizational level. Additionally, I believe strongly in the value of bringing people of various perspectives, backgrounds, and areas of expertise together with the goal establishing, through some degree of collaboration, shared organizational habits, routines, protocol, and identity.


3) What are the challenges you see in the academic publishing industry?

I believe the biggest challenges in academic publishing are those intertwined with economics; specifically, those limited and dictated by our university system’s financial structure. Questions that must be most urgently addressed regard information ownership, free and open access (freedom of information), and universities’ and journals’ dependence upon information output and, consequently, capital generation in order to survive in an economically motivated and deterministic academic model.


4) How do you see your work at RedLink making an impact to help the academic publishing ecosystem?

It is my hope and goal that building a taxonomy will help establish a standard by which to organize, classify, and tag journals, thus ensuring, with users at the heart of consideration, efficient and accurate storage and retrieval. Most importantly, this should lead to a clearer and more accurate representation of how, how frequent, and in what academic disciplines, information is being accessed.

5) Your motto?

Professional: Don’t set out to build a wall; instead, put your heart and soul into laying one perfect brick at a time.

Personal: We are most fundamentally ourselves when at play, so integrate an element of ‘play’ in all that you do.