Jim Lootens-White, an information technology specialist for the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, has a keen interest in interpreting scientific data and developing web projects to highlight the compelling research accomplishments of the station’s scientists.
As an IT specialist for the web, Lootens-White says the work is constantly changing.
“There are always new techniques and new innovative applications for the web so there is a lot of learning and trying things out,” he said. “It’s challenging and I enjoy keeping up with it through reading lots of blogs and technical websites and using social media tools like Twitter, both professionally and personally to track new innovations.”
One successful project he’s worked on that has garnered a lot of public popularity includes an online system called Treesearch, which offers the public a great opportunity to find a treasure trove of Forest Service research publications. It includes research monographs, professional papers published in many of the world’s professional scientific journals, conference proceedings or even books which are all peer reviewed.
Public feedback has been very positive, something for which Lootens-White is very grateful.
“Getting that kind of feedback and praise from outside the organization is probably one of the best things to experience and to know we’re serving the taxpayers well,” he said. “We’re constantly improving it, but their feedback tells us how happy they are.”
Read more about Lootens-White in Faces of the Forest, an online feature showcasing the people, places and professions in the Forest Service.