Inga Haugen

Hometown:Inga Haugen

Canton, MN


Minnesota State University, Moorhead

Bachelor of Arts: English with a concentration in Literature

Why she applied to SciData:

When I started looking for grad programs, attending a land grant university with strong agricultural ties was important to me, as well as experiencing a new part of the country.  SciData is the first opportunity I've ever found to indulge my range of skills in both agriculture and librarianship.  I'm thrilled at the chance to see where it will lead me.  The chance to curate ag data all the way from the (literal!) field through permanent archiving is exciting.  However, I'm most enthused about connecting people and data.  And digital data dissemination is a new field that bids fair to change the world on the level of Gutenberg's movable type.

More about Inga: 

Currently Inga is working with Chad Hellwinckel and some other students on creating a snapshot of the foodshed in Knox county and the surrounding counties. The project is just starting. I've helped create this snapshot from the farmer/producer side of things before. I'll assist the other students in framing questions, and how to contact farmers, producers, markets, restaurants using local foods, and all the people involved in the chain to take food from farm to fork. I'll be managing the data, doing research to find similar projects and, in general, finding (and implementing) ways to showcase what Information Professionals can do when we're included from the beginning of a project.

The SciData program addresses, assesses, and meets the increasing complex needs of science data management. Agriculture has its own challenges.  In Inga's words as a farmer, "I know first-hand how to handle the variables and challenges that enter into collecting and recording data in the field - if one of my cows loses an identifying ear tag, it creates annoyances if she is healthy, and I can visually identify her. However, if the tag loss is not rectified, compounded by a sick or dead animal, it could mean total destruction of the herd. From a data collection standpoint, it can invalidate data sets and years of research. Sustainability of any system requires balance, and finding the appropriate balance between the needs of the user and maintenance of resources requires careful thought and understanding of the entire system. The systems of farming, information management, and policy are disparate, but intersect in very specific ways, and each has its own needs, but still must be able to interface with the other systems. Digital data curation, in particular, needs people strongly versed in specific knowledge to address the distinct needs of those areas. With my background as a farmer and a library assistant, I am uniquely positioned to address the needs of agriculture data curation. I have worked hard to create a place for myself as a farmer. Farming is challenging in and of itself, but as a young, single woman in field where the average operator is male, married and over 50, I had faced an uphill battle to start. As a sustainable farmer working in the gray area between conventional and organic, I had further major challenges. Educating my community and consumers about sustainable farming practices that don’t fit a well-known label was necessary to create working relationships and a consumer base. These challenges honed my communication skills, and they continue to serve me well in my current program. As I was establishing myself as a farmer, and not just the farmer’s daughter, I saw exactly how policy and information dissemination can make or break an agricultural enterprise, and sometimes the person engaged in the enterprise. It lit a fire in me to change the world, even if it meant leaving the very place I fought so hard to make for myself. I look forward to using my skills to create better systems and understanding, so everyone has better access to information that in turn, feeds us all."