Read about Maria Jose Lloret Alcaniz
Maria Jose Lloret Alcaniz
Digital Preservation and Access Manager, United Nations Library and Archives, United Nations Office at Geneva
What brought you to a career in technology at the United Nations?
I studied Physics at the Valencia University in Spain and started my professional career at CERN in Geneva where, by the way, I had the chance to meet Tim Berners Lee. I came back to Valencia in 1989 and had the great opportunity to enhance my professional experience by taking a job in a large company, IBM. After some time, I realized that working for an international organization had been a valuable experience, both from a personal and professional point of view. I decided to come back to Geneva where I applied for a post at the IT department at UNOG. At that time, in early '90s, I was the System Administrator for the IBM mainframe. After three years of working in the IT department, I moved to the Library, where I have specialized in Information Management and IT systems for Libraries and Archives.
What has been your favorite IT project at the United Nations and what was your technical contribution?
Over the span of more than 30 years, I have been involved in many challenging projects, such as the configuration of a satellite line to connect the pension fund system in Geneva to NY. I also worked on several other IT projects—including the implementation of the TCP/IP network at UNOG and the installation of the first UMOJA test system in Geneva—but I am especially proud of my contribution to the last project I have been working on: the very successful ‘Total Digital Access for the League of Nations (LONTAD) Project.’ This is a 5-year (2017-2022) project to digitize, provide free online access to, and ensure the physical and digital preservation of the League of Nations Archives. I have been in charge of the selection and implementation of the IT systems, an Archives Management System (AMS) and a Digital Preservation System (DPS). That included the whole process from the preparation of the business case to the procurement process and to the technical implementation. The Archives platform has been online since December 2022, whereas the digital files are available and preserved in the DPS, to ensure long-term access to future generations of researchers.
What advice would you give women interested in pursuing a field in technology?
The IT field is constantly changing. You will always be learning and will never get bored. Things have evolved and it is possible to find a correct balance between a career in technology and personal life. The more women are working in technology, the more we will change the common mentality and will provide role models. If you trust yourself, you can make it!