Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Digital "librarians"

Since I teach graduate classes in the Digital Libraries Certificate Program at Syracuse University, I often have students ask about job opportunities. Are there really jobs out there? Yes! And during the course of the conversation, I end up talking about specific librarians or organizations. In order to make my life a bit easier for the next conversation ("...and read this..."), I'm writing this blog post. If you have information that you'd like to add to it, please leave a comment. You're wisdom will be greatly appreciated!

So...you're interested in digital libraries and are wondering if people really do the work that you want to do. Yes, there are indeed people working as digital librarians, although that may not be their title. They are working with electronic/digital information, helping to create products and services, talking to (and maybe working for) vendors, educating users, and shaping how we use information online. Here are a few people, etc. that come to my mind when I talk about opportunities. (These are in no particular order.)


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15 comments:

Kiyomi said...

From what I've heard EBSCO also tends to hire some librarians, although as you point out the job title is often different, (sales rep., customer service rep., technical support, etc.).

Jill Hurst-Wahl said...

Kiyomi, most of the library vendors do hire librarians, so it doesn't surprise me that EBSCO has a few on staff.

BTW I just saw that Maija McLaughlin has been promoted to Director of Digital Initiatives for her library.

Jill Hurst-Wahl said...

People in FriendFeed have suggested that the following people be added to the list:

Gurdish Sandhu and Maureen Azubike
Ellyssa Kroski -- Information Services Technologist
Michael Porter -- Communications Manager
Jenny Levine -- Internet Development Specialist & Strategy Guide

Jill Hurst-Wahl said...

Also Dorothea Salo -- Digital Repository Librarian

Anonymous said...

Several people at Ancestry.com, including myself, have the MLS or MLIS. Ancestry.com's core business is digitizing content of value to our subscribers held by libraries and other repositories. So my colleagues and I are involved in identifying what content repositories have, and then negotiating with those repositories.

Gary McGath said...

At Harvard, the term tends to be applied to technical people who talk to technical people outside the library system, not to people who deal with end users.

Valerie said...

I would be considered a digital librarian though my position title is actually Technical Information Specialist. I curate and manage Science.gov and other websites at the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.
Valerie Allen

Jill Hurst-Wahl said...

Valerie, ah...someone in the government! Thanks! We often forget how many library positions are in the government.

Ben G. said...

It's certainly hard to generalize these 'digital librarian' jobs. In fact, few of them even use that term, digital librarian.

Some people manage software apps, some people manage programs (such as a digitization program), some manage established products, like a repository, some actually develop custom apps and websites. I have even seen a job that focuses exclusively on managing an institution's web 2.0 activities. The variety of work and duties is immense.

Here's a good resource for digital jobs: http://digital-scholarship.com/digitalkoans/category/digital-library-jobs/

Scott Brown said...

I'd definitely include Christy Confetti-Higgins at Sun Microsystems.

sistrunkqueen said...

I have been accepted to University of Boras Swedish School of Information Science in Boras,Sweden. I will work online getting a masters in digital libraries and information services. Also it is tuition free for now. If anyone is interested for Fall '10 ?
www.hb.se/bhs/digitallibrary
Yes they accept Americans. I got in for Spring.

Jill Hurst-Wahl said...

sistrunkqueen, I thought your claim of tuition-free learning sounded too good to be true, but it is true. Students must still pay living expenses and will need to be fluent in Swedish. Looks like there are also opportunities to be an exchange student there.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

Jill Hurst-Wahl said...

SLA's Information Outlook (v13, n05, page 9) in talking about records management and e-discovery/compliance said:

"Typical e-discovery requirements involve producing specific business information based on requested dates and subject matter. More than 40 percent of companies said their main concern regarding e-discovery was the risk - both legal and financial - of failing to produce documents in a timely manner. However, companies are still struggling with the issue because they don't understand the requirements for responding to e-discovery requests and lack funding for the technology to support finding the information they need."

This sounds like an area that could use digital librarians.

Metro Librarian said...

The Library at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority reclassified and elevated a librarian position to reflect the correct title and job responsibilities:

DIGITAL RESOURCES LIBRARIAN
($64,960.90 - $ 97,408.90)

Basic Function: To analyze, plan, coordinate and implement digital access to library and archive collections, provide reference and research services, and assist with the overall delivery of services by the Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library and Archive. Examples of Duties: Develops, implements, and manages web-based information architecture, digital content of the library and archive, and intranet/internet websites; Coordinates with the Communications and Information and Technology Services departments on the design, implementation, support, and maintenance of digital resources; Develops and recommends various methodologies, standards, and software used in the creation of digital collections and their long-term preservation; Provides expertise to others in the library and within the organization in the creation and maintenance of digital collections...

I believe that the "I" in MLIS will increasingly be recognized and rewarded. It would definitely be helpful for job seekers and employers alike if more Librarian job descriptions were rewritten and retitled to reflect reality.

John R. Lang said...

My new position starting in Feb 2010 is at a sporting company as "digital/electronic librarian" where I will begin a mass digitalization program for web content and preservation using multiple BookDrove Pro scanners. My first full-time librarian position was from 2006-2009 as a "librarian/historian" special librarian for a large non-profit org. Although my MLS degree is from way back in 1990, I have kept up through independent lifelong learning activities. Ideally, I would like to take at least a few CAS in Digital Libraries-type classes when and if resources become available. - Proverbial Lone Wolf Librarian