Sandy Payette, PhD


In 2018, Sandy received her PhD in Communication from Cornell University, with a minor in Science and Technology Studies (STS).  Her research areas include:  the under-representation of women in computing and information technology;  the emergence of “knowledge infrastructure” especially the areas of digital preservation and archiving, open source software, open publishing of research data, technology policy and privacy;  the history of women in computing and discourse analysis of gender and computing,

Earlier, Sandy was a researcher at Computing and Information Science at Cornell University.  From 1997-2007 Sandy led research projects, published, and lectured internationally in the areas of digital libraries, digital repositories, open source software, and web-based architectures for digital preservation and archiving.  While in the Digital Library Research Group in the computer science department, Sandy  was the original technical architect and lead software developer of the Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture (“Fedora”).  Sandy led the transformation of the original Fedora into an open source software project and became the director of the Fedora Project at Cornell working in collaboration with University of Virginia on the Mellon-funded open source Fedora (2000-2007).  In 2007 Sandy founded Fedora Commons to sustain Fedora and serve a growing international community of researchers and practitioners interested in open repositories for digital content.  Fedora Commons Inc. became the underlying 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization with Sandy as Executive Director and startup funding from the Moore Foundation.

Sandy was the founding CEO of DuraSpace (https://duraspace.org), the not-for-profit organization that is a community hub for multiple open source projects, services, and open technologies that serve knowledge and memory institutions.  DuraSpace emerged from the joining of two organizations, Fedora Commons Inc. and the DSpace Foundation resulting in the DuraSpace organization that continues to be the home base for Fedora, DSpace, DuraCloud, VIVO, and other technologies and services.

Employment History

From 2016-2019  Sandy was Director of Information Technology for Research and Scholarship at the Cornell University Library (CUL), where she also served as Interim Associate University Librarian.

From 2013-2015 Sandy was a Research Investigator at University of Michigan where she focused on “knowledge infrastructure” and technical architectures for publishing and preserving research data in the context of the NSF DataNet program.  During this period she also continued field work for Cornell dissertation research.

From 2011-2013 Sandy was a full time doctoral student at Cornell University.

From 2007-2011, Sandy was founding CEO of DuraSpace, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization whose mission is to provide open source technologies and community resources to help preserve the world’s intellectual, cultural, and scientific heritage in digital form.   Sandy also served as Executive Director of Fedora Commons Inc. which is the predecessor of DuraSpace.

From 1997-2007, Sandy was a researcher at Cornell Computing and Information Science.  While in the Computer Science Department she did the original research for the project known as the  Flexible Extensible Digital Object and Repository Architecture (Fedora).  While in the Information Science program, she was the director and lead developer of the Fedora Project the open source project funded by the Mellon Foundation, in collaboration with University of Virginia.

From 1994-1997, Sandy worked as a senior software engineer at Cornell University’s Mann Library where she began her work on the electronic library and the emerging “digital library” on the World Wide Web  It was during this period that Sandy embraced the beautiful area of New York known as the Finger Lakes region that became her home.

From 1986-1994, Sandy was a programmer and senior systems analyst at Corning Incorporated.  As a women in computing during the peak years of women receiving degrees in computer science and information systems disciplines, she was hired by Corning to develop software and applications in the areas of budgeting and forecasting, decision support systems, executive information systems, and systems supporting strategic business analysis.

Other things to know…

I am a life-long runner and my favorite distance is the 10K.  I love to read!  My favorite types of movies are documentaries.   I like to cook, especially Thai food.  I am an avid outdoor person and love to hike and enjoy all the wonders of the natural world. I have always enjoyed art and philosophy.  I have played team sports, with basketball and softball being my favorites.   I have done lots of road biking and I used to be a mountain biking instructor at Cornell Outdoor Education.  I like to work with tools around the house and the garden.  I like to design things and have done some drawing, sketching, and throwing pottery on a wheel.  In the future I would like to explore some new independent research and writing projects, and also take up watercolor painting.

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