and there is a job regarding metadata.

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Which I feel silly for not realizing.  But “cataloging and metadata librarian” is a real thing, and I’m very excited about it.

The verbs providing, enriching, informing, and promoting are all included in this want ad I’ve found: all of those are generous kinds of verbs, and that makes me happy.  It’s library work that helps people by means of “creation and maintenance of data.”  It involves knowing all about these things and sharing that knowledge with staff and patrons alike.

Another article I’ve found, “The Roles of the Metadata Librarian in a Research Library,” says that research libraries create metadata positions to build or strengthen their digital programs.  Metadata librarians can be found in many departments of the library, depending on the library’s focuses.

Metadata librarians in cataloging and tech services are involved with “acquiring, describing, and cataloging monographs and serials” and working with the metadata systems we read about; this is called the “technical services model,”  and apparently librarians who fill this model are used in their departments “as a fulcrum.”  They, as implied in the want ad above, facilitate and integrate; they help the others they work with and those the library serves.

The metadata librarian also serves as a go-between with the tech services unit and “the unit charged with providing access and delivery” in the library: bridging between technology and traditional library roles.  Which sounds fascinating.  “Collaboration,” the article says; collaboration in the library, collaboration that is “cross-institutional.”  National collaboration.

Metadata librarianship also involves research and education: research particularly pertaining to “development of new initiatives within the library” and things that will facilitate that development.  There is sometimes a problem integrating this into preexisting departments, because of time and staff availability, but the metadata librarian is a teacher to the others in the library as well: once new technology and applications are discovered, they are the ones to teach their coworkers about it.

Because of the collaborative nature of the metadata librarian’s work, the position should be filled by librarians and not necessarily “technician[s]” or other outside workers.  “The librarian brings a shared perspective, an outward orientation, and a focus on access, with an in-depth understand of the tools and techniques necessary to its provision,” the article says.  Metadata librarian jobs have “analogs” in more traditional librarian jobs; they require the certain skills that any librarian position might, an availability of information that librarians can best facilitate.

Metadata librarianship is “evolving,” the article says; I think that in a world where the presentation and availability information itself is evolving, that makes perfect sense.

in which I am a fan of metadata.

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That could perhaps seem a strange description, but it really is true.  I hadn’t assigned the term “metadata” to it before the readings, as I’m sure most people don’t, but I use it in its basest internet forms daily.

I am the kind of person who insists on tagging posts on my personal blog, on my tumblr, and so-on in the most detailed and thorough fashion possible.  Let’s say I was saving this blog entry in a Word document on my laptop.  The folder structure would look something like this:

[My documents] -> [College] -> [2011-2012] -> [Lib406] -> [blog entries] -> /metadata/

And that’s a tame example of my subfoldering habit.

Of course, those are silly, personal attempts at metadata, but reading about its uses in libraries makes me beyond happy.  I’m sure there’s no one MLS job that is just organizing metadata, but if there was, I would be happy to take it.  I’m always happy to learn more about metadata; already I’m finding myself interested in learning about things like MODS and the Dublin Core.

Metadata is practical, it’s useful, it’s applicable.  It can be found just about everywhere, in and out of library sciences; it can be used in many different ways.  It helps libraries provide information to their patrons, it helps patrons find the information they’re looking for.  It’s a meeting of technology and library sciences, not where one has to override the other, but so they can work together.

“Remember that metadata has a purpose,” Karen Coyle writes.  “And the purpose of library cataloging is different to that of MODS or METS or Dublin Core, and very different to the purpose of CreativeCommons, ONIX, or PRISM.  Just as the library catalog is no longer the only source of information, library metadata is no the only way to describe resources.”

This, more than any of the things written in library blogs that I’ve found so far, this gives me hope.

regarding information marketing

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Kathy Dempsey’s article “The key to marketing success: by learning what clients really want, you can avoid wasting time and money on things they won’t use” is honestly comforting to read.  It’s presenting a strategy for keeping libraries relevant without sounding bitter or averse to adapting.  It’s simply giving you ways to adapt and staying positive while doing it.

After reading this, I definitely agree with Dempsey that library schools should include marketing discussions; I don’t necessarily know that I associate marketing as a whole “with unsavory activities,” though there are aspects of it that are decidedly not good, but making people both in and out of the library profession aware of the useful ways to market and the ways that it isn’t all bad would certainly be useful.

“In true marketing, you start by asking the consumer what he or she wants,” Dempsey writes.  I think that in any profession that provides a service to people this is true, and libraries certainly provide a service to people.  Libraries exist to help people, to educate people, to provide them with information and resources.  But in order to best do that, librarians and staffers need to ask their patrons what they need.  Providing irrelevant resources is, well, irrelevant: in order to keep libraries useful, they need to be properly equipped to handle the community they serve.

Dempsey does a very good job of leaving no stone unturned.  She outlines the strategy needed thoroughly, step by step, and there’s little room for misinterpretation.  She’s discussing strategy in terms of what librarians need to do, what communities need, and how these things work together: it’s not just “this is what communities want,” it’s not just “this is what librarians want.”  It’s balanced.

I particularly enjoyed the discussion of segmentation; such a concept appeals to me, just because I like to keep things in their proper place so as to make sense of them and use my own time more efficiently.  It’s always nice to hear my own tendencies confirmed as being useful, though; “one-size service absolutely, positively, does not fit all,” Dempsey says.  I believe this is very true, particularly today.

Knowing your customers makes sense.  It helps avoid the aloof, detached “unapproachable guardian of information” feeling and helps the libraries be part of the communities socially, not just a building within them.  The idea of Facebooking for a library makes sense, and I’m sure it’s effective; the idea of Twittering for a library is somewhat more mystifying for me, but I’m sure it has its advantages, too.

This is an article somewhat about marketing, but it’s more about marketing-as-customer-service, and that’s something I’m sure most businesses, libraries or not, could stand to learn about.

someone else’s blog: the Unquiet Librarian

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More specifically, discussing their April 2 post, “Do I Really Have to Leave the Role of School Librarian To Do the Work of a School Librarian?”  That article spins off of another article entirely, discussing school librarians as having to find new ways to work and “taking on job titles other than school librarians.”  The author clearly states their disbelief in this idea, even going so far as to say “that such a path will only lead to the demise, not the flowering, of our profession’s future.”

Though they state that “technology integration is a part of [the] processes” they are vehement that school librarianship requires “sound pedagogy that we’re collaboratively crafting with students.”  They argue in favor of more human resources as opposed to more technological integration; they apparently run a library that is, in their opinion, significantly understaffed.  These are reasonable concerns, although they’re ones that make me slightly hesitant about my own theoretical future in the profession, if that’s the route I choose to go down.

“There is no doubt the current model of school librarianship is way past broken,” they say.  But that doesn’t mean abandoning the title “librarian.”  It is still possible to look into technological advancements and new forms of instruction while still embracing the term; “to imply that we as school librarians can’t do the work [the person in the discussed article]… is doing and more with the title school librarians marginalizes the revolutionary work that many of us are doing (and under trying conditions, I might add) in the trenches of our nation’s public and private schools.”  The author suggests embracing the term “librarian” and working to “engage [the community] with the shared story of library we’re trying to compose and construct with our teachers and students.”

This article seems to me more an issue of semantics and less one of the actual work librarians do.  The author is not suggesting that advancing technologies are a negative thing, though they seem resistant on relying on them wholly.  They propose “learning specialist and architect” as opposed to “technology specialist” – largely seeming to prefer the human aspects of that title.  Librarians should facilitate learning, is their point.  And I do tend to believe that, wholly, but I can’t help but wondering if this author has some undertones of the perturbed, idealistic librarians that the Annoyed Librarian discussed in their blog.

someone else’s blog: Annoyed Librarian

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I came across the link to this via another, now seemingly inactive blog (Lipstick Librarian).  I’ve only read some of the more recent posts on this blog, the Annoyed Librarian, but it’s honestly unnerving me.  The author is sarcastic towards other librarian bloggers, towards people who work in libraries, people who discuss librarians; basically, nobody who has ever touched a library or discussed one on the internet is safe.

His April 9 post is titled “What Explains the Trashers?” and he uses it to analyze librarians who complain about library work.  As he eventually says, “It turns out a lot of library work isn’t any more inspiring than being a supermarket clerk.”  And that’s fairly disheartening.  According to him, most of the librarians who hate on library work “were the most idealistic” about the noble profession, yet “find themselves amidst mediocre indifference” and perhaps “want to blame anyone but themselves for their professional unhappiness.”

Now, I have hilariously little personal experience with the working world.  I’ve had exactly one real job, as a teaching assistant at a kids’ theatre camp.  I was very “idealistic” about this job, and yes, I did find my coworkers drowning in “mediocre indifference” sometimes.  Isn’t that how any job works?  Isn’t that something not worthy of sarcasm, but merely acceptance?  It would seem that if you were frustrated, sure, you could vent about it, but then you could at least try to find ways to improve the situation or accept the situation, either way.  It’s almost unfair of the blogger to criticize librarians specifically, since this description could be applied, I would think, to anyone.

The April 16 post is titled “What are the Real Librarian Stereotypes?”  It’s less of an article and more of a brief mention of a point: librarian stereotypes.  Apparently, journalists and screenwriters both can’t portray librarians accurately, but someone who observed that their doctor was more concerned with a computer than a patron and that seemed like a librarian was spot-on at times.  I don’t doubt that some librarians may be so concerned with technologies that they come across unapproachable, but that also led me to a questioning of this blogger’s view of library technology.  There haven’t been things said in his posts that outwardly disparage the use of technology in libraries, but he seems, again, sarcastic about the proposition.

I really can’t tell if the blogger thinks that abrasive attitude is a form of humor (kind of a grumpy man kind of thing) or if he’s really and truly annoyed.  It’s somewhat perplexing, and it gives him a really serious bias in his work.  I feel I have to take all of this with a grain of salt, but it’s certainly an interesting, almost pessimistic, perspective.

university librarian rationale

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I’m open to pursuing many paths that a degree in library and information science would lead me down.  But since we have to interview many types of librarians, I’m looking at the list of WOU librarians to narrow it down for my own personal interests.  Which areas I would be most interesting in specializing in.

Mrs. Scharn. Instruction being a thing I’m interested in.  She’s also focused in on psychology (my minor), criminal justice/legal studies (an area I find interesting, though don’t really know a lot about save procedure from high school mock trial), sociology (an area I find interesting), and then COM 111, WR 115, and 135.  Which are classes everyone has to take.  I didn’t particularly go ape for them, but I enjoy the rest and would be interested in those specialties in theory.

Your specialties, Janeanne, are objectively interesting to me, though I know we can’t interview you.  Humanities, gender studies, film studies?  Those are all things that gets my attention.

Mrs. Lincicum, with specialties in creative arts, business, and economics.  The first catches my eye; the second two make me sigh a bit.  But I’d be willing to learn if that’s how liaison positions typically align.

Essentially, university librarianship seems to be a balancing act.

 

M.L.S. relevancy

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Mary Ellen Bates’ article brought up many of my concerns in being interested in pursuing librarianship.  When I started playing with the idea and did a bit of research, I saw that an M.L.S. would be plenty usable so long as you were able to apply it in a variety of ways; my father, who often offers advice to me on such matters, expressed his concern similarly.  Libraries are dying, he told me.  Libraries are closing, cutting back, being replaced. 

Yes, but that isn’t all!

As this article states, “practical research and information management skills” and “meaningful experience in using the professional online services” are necessary and relevant, too.  I am one of those librarian cliches in my heart; I love books, I love paper, I love the tangibility.  I typically eschewoveruseof certain technologies; I have issues with Kindles and things.  Personal issues, though.  I would be willing to learn to use them for professional reasons.  But I am also everyone’s go-to Research Girl; somehow (and even before I professed an interest in library science) I was the one who would get called up so that I might look things up for them.  Not just when they were at home, away from the computer; sometimes even when they were completely able to look it up themselves, but my looking up skills are apparently superior.  And I like being this.

I really do enjoy mastering information technologies.  I like computers.  I like knowing how to figure these things out, how to organize information.  I am maybe not the most organized person in real life (well, I sometimes leave things on my floor instead of putting them back where they belong) but I like trying to be organized (I insist on alphabetizing everything around me that can be alphabetized and also genre-sorting when applicable).  I am interested in building on these tendencies for career-related purposes.

And I want to develop “a set of skills that translate into a variety of professional opportunities.”  I would love to be a librarian, but I also am not opposed to using librarian skills in a different way.