Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Job of the Future

Or, what a librarian can do for you today. Stephan Spencer writers on his blog about potential jobs he sees in the future for his daughter. Of particular interest to me is this job:
Information Integrator/Abstractor
who will collect, compile, and index text, data and images so this content can be searched in a variety of ways
When I read that, it sounded like a job description for a librarian. To quote myself (I'm the only comment on each piece)
Caveat Lector: this wanders a bit here and there.

Your Information Integrator/Abstractor sounds a lot like what a librarian does. At least, what I think a librarian does. I just finished my MLS and am looking for a full-time job. I previously worked for about five years as a computer programmer/analyst and before that about ten years in publishing (with some current freelance/small press work). I work part-time as a reference librarian and part-time as a digital library assistant.

I and a lot of other librarians--like Jenny Levine, Jessamyn West, Michael Stephens, and Steven M. Cohen to name a few--are pushing librarians to embrace technology and become experts in information using new technology. It's not enough anymore to know which books you need to find a particular piece of information, you need to know anywhere and any means to find that particular piece of information. You need to know all the technology that your patrons are using and be able to use it as well as they do.

I'm new to the field so I'm not very well established yet. But I'll get there. It's interesting to note that the ALA is predicting that in 10 - 15 years (by your 2020 date) some 80% or higher of the current librarian field will be retired. In addition to people retiring from the field, I think the field will be changing to be something more like the job you describe in your post.

Lots of interesting material on your site. I think many librarians/libraries would serve themselves well to learn more about marketing and even SEO. If people don't know what services are being offered by their local library, what good does it do how great they are?

There's a lot for me to still learn. Even though I worked for about five years in computer programming, there is so much I don't know about technology. I don't know how to automatically generate an RSS feed (not counting the one blogger makes for me), I barely make use of technorati, don't know how to make a wiki, have only bare minimum use of ASP.NET, have never made a podcast, have done only the smallest bit of creating metadata for digital objects, etc. etc. etc. But I do know what those things are. And I do know that my patrons are using them.

Some days I feel overwhelmed trying to learn it all. Other days I'm completely energized and soak it up like the proverbial sponge. There is a community out there for me to learn from, to see what they think can be used in/for the library. That will help guide me towards what I need to learn.

See, I wander all over the place. Great site. It's in my reader so I don't miss any more.
Any thoughts anyone?

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