Reference Librarian, Information & Communications

Conservation image

Valerie Greathouse is on the staff of the GCI's Information Center, where she primarily does reference and research work, recommending information strategies in conservation to Getty staff and conservators worldwide. She also serves as liaison to the Getty Research Library and represents the GCI on committees for the Library's online catalogue.

Valerie grew up in Los Angeles. Her father was a sound effects artist and engineer at CBS Radio. Her mother—who worked in aerospace and raised money for medical research—had intended to be a librarian, and Valerie became a bibliophile at an early age, one with a passion for archaeology that developed after reading a children's magazine article about Tutankhamun and the daughter of Akhenaten.

After earning a B.A. in psychology from UCLA (with a minor in anthropology and archaeology), she took a research position in mental health evaluation at UCLA and entered the School of Public Health's master's program. Her master's research in behavioral sciences and education involved the retrieval, analysis, and dissemination of evaluation information. During this period, she managed a large research grant at UCLA and supervised an abstracting and indexing unit. In the following years, she worked for several information services companies, and her career as an information professional included research and training in information retrieval, consulting in information management systems and database design, and marketing of information systems and services.

In 1989 she got a call from a former colleague who was doing temporary work for the GCI's Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts (AATA). The friend told her, "This is your kind of place—indexing and abstracting, online databases, and Nefertari." After two months in a temporary position, Valerie became assistant editor of AATA, where she remained for five years. She also worked on the Conservation Thesaurus and the AATA/Bibliographic Conservation Information Network database. She then joined the staff of the Information Center.

Her outside interests include not only history and archaeology but also the performing arts, photography, cruising the California Channel Islands in her family's sailboat (visiting the Chumash rock art site on Santa Cruz Island), and beachcombing and kayaking in Mexico's Sea of Cortez. In addition to her position at the GCI, Valerie has, as she puts it, worked as a mom for 16 years and been married forever.