Erich Purpur: Librarian for Science and Engineering

Subject Liaisons are librarians who focus on specific topics. They have a robust knowledge of library resources and are happy to assist with research and answer questions, large and small!

Today we’re interviewing Erich Purpur, who is the Science and Engineering Librarian.

Subject Specialties

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
  • Systems Engineering

Contact: | Visit Brown Library i-046 (Clark Hall)

What are some of the specific ways you can help people learning and working in your subject specialty areas?

Erich Purpur

I help people with generally resource gathering and sharing in my liaison areas (Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering, Computer/Electrical Engineering, and ESE (Formerly Civil/Environmental Engineering and Systems Engineering)).  Also, I specialize in helping people with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software, especially open-source software as well as python programming.

What’s a key message you’d like people at UVA to know about the Library?

Our job in the libraries is to provide the resources and services you need for your classes, research, learning, etc. If there is something you need to succeed at UVA and you aren’t getting it, please reach out and we will see what we can do!

If someone comes to you for help, what does that look like?

I’ve helped undergrads, grad students, post docs, faculty, and staff in a wide variety of research projects. Sometimes this is a one and done scenario. Other times it is ongoing over the course of a semester or even longer. If you are stuck on a problem in your class or research lab, I like problem solving!

What’s something interesting you’ve found in the course of your work?

A project I’m currently working on to analyze use of our online scholarly resources has been really interesting. I am learning a lot about the way UVA spends money to provide access to scholarly articles and other material, as well as about the scholarly publishers themselves.

What’s a recent book you’ve read that you’d recommend?

  • A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn:
    Basically it is an overview of major historical events in the US from the arrival of Christopher Columbus through about 2002. This is not a book to pick up lightly though. It might seriously change your world view on our country and really make you re-think where you stand on a lot of political and social issues facing us today. I finished it a few months ago and am still constantly thinking about it!

What’s a place or an activity you enjoy in Charlottesville?

Sugar Hollow, just outside Crozet. I am outdoorsy and this is my favorite local spot for climbing, hiking, swimming, etc.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Many things. Academia is a friendly atmosphere because the bottom line (money) is not the only thing considered. I enjoy working with people on different research projects every semester. I enjoy my colleagues in the libraries and around UVA. It is a good place to work!

Is there anything else you’d want people to know about you?

In my free time I like to be outside. I am a rock climber and have been doing it obsessively for about 14 years now. But generally any outdoors activity will do. I also do freelance GIS consulting work on occasion and enjoy learning and staying current with new technologies in that field. I love to travel and try to do local, regional, and international trips regularly. I also try and learn other languages. My main ones are Spanish and French though I have dabbled in others. Also, I just bought a house in Charlottesville so getting that the way I like will be taking up a lot of my time in the near future.

Visit Erich’s staff directory page.


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