Time to Skill Up

There is no doubt that the librarian of today is required to be a jack of all trades.

In addition to traditional duties, those of us dedicated to a career in information science must also be highly skilled at instruction, outreach, scholarly communication, web programming, database management, etc.  A perusal of recent job listings shows a variety of terms that were not in the lexicon of common vocabulary even a few years ago!  I looked at 10 current openings on the ALA JobLIST, in the specific fields of science librarianship and data management services.  Here are a few of the required and preferred qualifications that jumped out at me:

 –Demonstrated proficiency with HTML/XHTML/CSS and current trends in web development.

-Demonstrated experience developing user-centered digital projects.

-Experience with digital library, institutional repository and/or content management software such as CONTENTdm, DSpace, Drupal, Archon, Archivists’ Toolkit.

-Demonstrated ability to efficiently manage multiple projects and priorities.

-Ability to work collaboratively in a team-based environment.

Experience with creating and maintaining web pages.

-Demonstrated strong commitment to professional development.

Ability to develop instruction sessions and to instruct users effectively both individually and in the classroom setting.

-Candidates should have demonstrated knowledge of current and emerging technologies as they contribute to meeting the needs of student and faculty researchers in the sciences.

 –Demonstrated understanding of the issues involved with data management and curation, including format migration, preservation, metadata, and data retrieval.

-Knowledge of research data lifecycle concepts and issues.

-Familiarity with federal funding requirements for data management.

A variation on these preferred qualifications was found in all of the job postings that I perused.  In a nutshell, to be an attractive candidate in today’s over saturated job market it is necessary to continue to work towards furthering our education and training to meet the demands of a changing profession.  A working knowledge of web design, data management, and emerging technologies is a key component in staying viable as a profession as well as furthering your own career.  In addition to gaining the hard skills necessary to continue to develop the infrastructure for the digital libraries of our future, it is also important to not neglect the soft skills that make librarians such a valued member of the academic community.  Striving towards increased collaboration and furthering efforts in outreach and instruction are also key components in the process of “skilling up”.  Next week, I’ll be posting some links and resources for free and inexpensive continuing education opportunities.  So stay tuned!


Vizualize it

I have been guilty of infographic envy lately.  They are such a great visual and I want to learn how to make one!  What does this have to do with e-science librarianship?  Well for one, infographics can bring all of that big data to life in the form of a few pictures.  They are also a great marketing, outreach, and social media tool that librarians should be hip to.

How about I let an an infographic do the talking?

There are many ways that librarians can incorporate infographics into their instructional sessions

Here for example is an Infographic created by Mashable, that tells you, “How to Google it”.

We are constantly trying to say more with less and do more with less and infographics allow you to do just that.

I was curious about the tools that are available to assist in the creation of an infographic and I found this great article on edudemic.com highlighting “10 Fun Tools to Easily Make Infographics“.  Definitely worth a read!

I chose to investigate the site, Easel.ly which allowed me to chose one of several templates to tweak as I so desired.  It was pretty fun, I’m not going to lie and I am definitely going to keep playing with the format and try to get better at it!

I ended up creating an infrographic on metadata schema.  What do you think?



One More Tool for your Kit

Have you grown weary of sifting through the countless bits of information about how to manage research data? Well, not to worry because, SURA (Southeastern Universities Research Association) has recently launched an institutional tool for Research Data Management (RDM), developed by a working group formed with the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL).  The working group brings together CIOs and library professionals from SURA member institutions to explore collaborations for improving their ability to manage the rapidly growing volume of research data.

The 5 page document, entitled the “Step-By-Step Guide to Data Management” is succinct, to the point, and provides links to all relevant outside sources.  The document was developed as a result of a survey of SURA membership to identify goals and projects for improving the management of institutional data.  The authors took their inspiration from the DataONE Best Practices Primer  and while it breaks no new ground, it does provide a clear and easy to digest picture of current trends and best practices in data management at universities.  To truly ensure the accessibility of data it is important to reach a consensus on best practices and methods for optimum accessibility in the future.

Of course it comes as no surprise that the university library is highlighted as resource not to be overlooked. As one fellow blogger put it, “while this may not come as a shock from a group that is half comprised of Research Library professionals, towering or expansive university libraries often have a significant amount of data to handle. Creating a database that can be searched hundreds of different ways of the myriad titles that exist is no small data feat.”  The argument can be made, and has been multiple times, that libraries are uniquely suited to play a pivotal role in the research data management process.  Now we have one more resource to offer our patrons to assist them in managing all that sexy data.