ATG Star of the Week: Joanna Ptolomey, Freelance information professional

by | Mar 4, 2014 | 0 comments

atg_JPphoto (2)NAME: Joanna Ptolomey
TITLE: Freelance information professional
ADDRESS: City of Glasgow, Scotland
EMAIL:, tweet me @chibbie


BORN AND LIVED: Born in the city of Glasgow 1968. I have lived in and around this fair city for most of my life. I attended university in Glasgow for my graduate and postgraduate studies.

EARLY LIFE: I spent my time immersed in music during school years. I was a flautist in school county orchestras and concert bands. I was strong in the sciences at school and was interested in how things worked. It was no surprise when I studied construction engineering and management as my first degree. My first professional job was as a planning engineer for a major UK contractor, and my interests were in how we use knowledge to make decisions and reduce risk.

PROFESSIONAL CAREER AND ACTIVITIES: In my late 20s I began studying for a more specialized qualification at The University of Strathclyde Glasgow. This is where my road to information science began in earnest. On graduation I began working in the National Health Service as a health librarian supporting evidence based practice and policy decisions for clinical professionals. Although an excellent training ground in librarian skills I knew that I wanted to be involved in the big picture of health and how information played a part. Where we live, where we work and as, our education level, social mobility and many other reasons, play a part and I joined the global consulting firm DTZ as an information specialist to get involved with projects. A few years later I became a freelance information specialist offering my unique skillset of understanding evidenced based medicine and the social context. I specialize in health information projects – finding, making sense and sharing content. In recent years my focus has been in community based asset health, working with people to find out what keeps them healthy, turning that into useful content and developing shareable content platforms.

I enjoy writing and I loosely fall into the STM vertical, but have written around general topics such as open access, big data, content curation, and digital divide. I was a contributing editor for FreePint magazines for 5 years and have been published in Online Magazine, Newsbreaks and various others. I have written the book ‘Taking charge of your career: a guide for library and information professionals’ and the chapter ‘Accessibility and the digital divide’ for Government Information Professionals in the 21st Century.

FAMILY: I am married to Eddie. We met in the construction industry when I was 19 and he was 25, so we have been together a long time. 11 years ago our life changed quite dramatically with arrival of our daughter Lara, followed very quickly by another wee girl Alice. We all enjoy being active and enjoy camping and the outdoor life in the beautiful Scottish countryside. We love travelling and last year we visited California and travelled the Pacific Coast Highway.

IN MY SPARE TIME: I still enjoy playing the flute, though very badly these days. I enjoy cooking and like to try out new recipes on my family – you will have to ask them what they really think about the results. I have practiced yoga for many years but I like nothing better than body combat – a cardio martial arts program. But nothing beats catching up with friends over a glass of wine.

FAVORITE BOOKS: Always been an avid book reader and Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy always touches me. I love biographies and memoirs and my most recent enjoyment was of an the English character actress Hattie Jacques. I have even been known to read my kid’s books too and recently enjoyed Warrior Cats 1 by Erin Hunter.

PET PEEVES: Life is too short to concentrate on pet peeves.

PHILOSOPHY: Try and live in the moment. Focus and enjoy what you have in your life.

MOST MEMORABLE CAREER ACHIEVEMENT: Staying self employed for over 13 years. Getting my first book published.

GOAL I HOPE TO ACHIEVE FIVE YEARS FROM NOW: Actively contributing to the body of evidence and policy practice in how information plays a part in keeping a nation people healthy. I believe that the tools of health content curation and metadata management can help communities to access and share information that will keep them healthy. Hopefully through community content curation, clinical evidence base and big data all information will be freely and easily available to all through a single platform.

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