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18 November 2010 Informationist or Embedded Librarian? A Case in Point Eileen Boswell, Community Transportation Association of America. Informationist or Embedded Librarian?. A Case in Point from the Transportation Division Eileen Boswell Community Transportation Association of America - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of 18 November 2010

  • 18 November 2010Informationist or Embedded Librarian? A Case in Point Eileen Boswell, Community Transportation Association of America

  • Informationist or Embedded Librarian?

    A Case in Point from the Transportation Division

    Eileen Boswell Community Transportation Association of America

    Presentation to the Transportation Librarians RoundtableNovember 18, 2010

  • OverviewDisclaimers My traditional library duties My non-traditional library dutiesEmbedded? Informationist?

  • A Series of Fortunate EventsCUA TRB Embedded Librarian TLR

  • Community Transportation Association of AmericaMembership Technical AssistanceRuralTribalSeniorVeteransMedicalEmploymentParatransitVolunteer drivers/insuranceCoordination Magazines

  • Information SpecialistGrant-funded Web development Tappy Grams

  • Traditional ReferenceHow many bus fleets in the US have fewer than 100 vehicles? I heard Exxon is getting out of the retail business. What can you tell me about this? How many paratransit rides in Florida last year were rural?

  • Dont Catalog

  • To Catalog or NotTracking incoming print Tagging electronic resources Email

  • Characteristics of InformationistsLinking literature directly to practice Originated in medical settings: The medical profession falls far short in its efforts to make the critical link between the huge body of information hidden away in the medical literature and the information needed at the point of care. Over time [the informationists] even began to infer questions from the discussion and bring literature forward on their own. Clinicians need concise, synthesized review of literature that is readily available. Education and teaching skills, Political and negotiation skillsSources:DavidoffF,and FloranceV. The informationist: a new health profession? Annals of Internal Medicine 2000;132:996998 Giuse N B, Sathe N, Jerome R. Envisioning the Information Specialist in Context (ISIC) : a multi-center study to articulate roles and training models. Task Force on the Information Specialist In Context (ISIC) Final Report. Chicago, IL: Medical Library Association, 2006.

  • Characteristic of EmbeddednessEmbedded Librarians Collaborate on their customer groups work Meet with regular customers to discuss information needs and results Provide training away from library facilities Meet with customer executives, managers, supervisors to discuss information needs and services Attend meetings, class, or conferences devoted to their customers' area of expertise Attend customer groups' meetings to learn about their work and information needs Contribute to their customer groups electronic communications Source: Shumaker, D., & Talley, M. (2009). Models of embedded librarianship: Final report. Alexandria, VA: Special Libraries Association.

  • Not ServiceCollaboration!

  • National Resource Center for Human Service Transportation CoordinationAttend weekly team meetingsAnticipate information and web development needsLayout/edit Myths and Realities seriesProduce online resource collectionsReport on emerging researchMaintain events web contentCollaborative workspace projectMarketing and promotional

  • NRC AmbassadorsOccasional researchDocument managementClearinghouse shipping/trackingTech trainingBlog editingNews alerts

  • Joblinks Employment Transportation CenterAttend weekly team meetings Advise on information organization (internal files, web) Advise on social media projects Marketing*

  • Other StaffTech Team (software training, file management, social media) Research for magazines Print library EXPO Notary Public

  • Other Duties as AssignedMyths & Realities paperWeb developmentTech trainingS.M.U.G.Accessibility statementBook review for magazinePresent at annual conferenceRoadeo!ROADEO!

  • The Penguin Thing

  • Happily MarriedInformationistBe where they are.Anticipate info needs.Teach.Embedded LibrarianInformation literacy in our specialtyIn-depth topical researchRelationship-buildingWorking in the white spaces

  • Eileen [email protected]

    Good afternoon. Im Eileen Boswell, Information Specialist at the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) in Washington, DC. I usually talk too fast but I am going to use my notes and try to focus on the most important aspects of my job as it relates to evolving definitions of the terms informationist and embedded librarian.*Disclaimer #1: I have never worked in another library except a brief project during Peace Corps.

    I am not an expert on Embedded Librarianship. My mentor, Dave Shumaker, whom you may know as last years winner of the SLA Vormelker award. Dave was one of my library school professors and, along with his colleague Mary Talley, has been writing on the topic of embedded librarianship for a few years, including an SLA research grant-funded report that I will reference.

    Anything I say about the term Informationist I either learned from Dave or researched for this presentation.

    I will start by explaining a little bit about CTAA and my job here as a general overview of my traditional and non-traditional library duties. Then Ill go through the academic definitions of each term Informationist and Embedded Librarian and next I will explain in more detail how I function in the context of my organization, and how there are aspects or both models in my situation. I will try to weave in as much as I know about jobs other than my own, but I hope you will be thinking of your own examples as well, or the jobs of other librarians you know, so we can have a rich discussion about this emerging model.*My background is in educational testing and applied linguistics. As recently as three years ago at this time, I was embroiled in a top-secret language testing project that was (and still is) part of No Child Left Behind. It was not a good fit for me.

    I ended up doing a lot with technology at that job, specifically managing online courses for teachers, and I decided to go to library school. I completed my degree at the Catholic University of America between Fall 2007 and Spring 2009.

    Shortly after I started library school, I decided I wanted some library experience so that when I completed my degree I could go straight to Georgetown University as an academic librarian working with the linguistics department.

    During the time I was applying for jobs, I heard a presentation by Karen Huffman of National Geographic (during a SLIS class) in which she said, Special librarians work in the white spaces of the organizational chart. The next day, I had three interviews, and the last one was at CTAA. When asked, What do you see as the role of a special librarian in an organization such as ours?, I replied, Special librarians work in the white spaces of the organizational chart. I got the job.

    I never intended to stay, but as it turned out, I had joined a wonderful community of transportation librarians who would usher me into the field while I was completing my MLS.

    I contacted National Geographic, told them my story, and asked who originally said Special librarians.. because I wanted to start a blog around that theme. I was told that Susan Fifer Canby was the genius behind this particular pearl of wisdom.

    Around this time Dave Shumaker was studying Embedded Librarianship and this job seemed to fit that description, so I used embeddedlibrarian as my username for a bunch of accounts and free tools (Blogger, Delicious) that I started around that time.

    In the spring of 2008 I took Marketing with Dave and one of the potential host sites for our field projects was TRB. I voted early, hoping to secure this as my project site. None of my classmates fought me for it.

    During the first six months of my time at CTAA, I was interning with Barbara and Jessica. Since I was learning about librarianship in general in my other classes, and learning about transportation in general at work, the relationship with Barbara and Jessica so early in my tenure here helped me integrate what I was learning into a true transportation librarianship education.*CTAA is a membership association for specialized transit organizations. These include tribal transit organizations, paratransit (wheelchair-accessible), non-emergency medical transportation, senior transportation employment transportation and rural transit providers.

    We do advocacy. We do research. We do technical assistance for our members (How should a policy for ___ read? How do I hire/fire/train bus drivers? How do I insure volunteer drivers? Can I use DOT money for ___?) . We publish two magazines and I do some work on those as needed. That arose simply because I have a good relationship with the editor-in-chief.

    *We operate several federal grants.

    Many of these grants call for a part-time information specialist, which is how they are able to fund my position full-time. Most of these grants require some sort of resource center as a deliverable, so I am included in many of the grant applications and sometimes I even get to write that part of the grant.

    Duties at CTAA:Manage incoming print resources (from the government, academics, our members and others)Coordinate outgoing resource alertsDo research to support our Technical Assistance specialists Support for magazines we publish (RAIL and Community Transportation)Developer on website for National Resource Center for Human Service Transportation Coordination

    *You know that state-by-state Medicaid survey that John Doe did in 1992? Has that been updated?How many bus fleets in the US have fewer than 100 vehicles?What are the US standards for deadhead on a demand-response rural bus route?Whats going on in rural America?I heard Exxon is getting out of the retail business. What can you tell me about this?How many paratransit rides in Florida last year were rural?

    *Early on in my tenure here, I was told not to catalog. And after I came to, I asked why. Basically, this is not really that kind of library. If I get something in print (or electronically, for that matter), they would rather have me share it right away with the appropriate staff member rather than take the time to catalog it. They are ultra kind people, but that doesn't mean they understand the importance of cataloging. And yes, it's partly incumbent on me to communicate that. A few months after the 'don't catalog' conversation, when I had gathered ample confidence and the right talking points, I approached my supervisor about this. We had a nice conversation about being user-driven versus being library-driven and it was very useful. As an embedded librarian, I have one foot in the content world of my staff and one foot in the library. It's a balancing act. I explained that if I am expected to find something later, then I should catalog it sooner. My memory is good, but not that good.

    This is never the kind of job where there is 'no time' for something, so it's not as if taking the time to catalog would be at the expense of some other urgent activity. My supervisor and I were able to clarify that it's not a priority for anyone but me, but I am more than welcome to spend my time doing it as long as I am also delivering the deliverables, which are more reflective of the embedded nature of the position.*What is the unit of analysis?

    In cataloging we talk about the unit of analysis. You may catalog at the book level, or for a journal the article level. For me its sometimes an email I have to catalog and retrieve and very often its a web address/web document, but not necessarily a whole website.


    Click. Tags in Gmail. Frontload the work (catalog your email at point of contact for easy retrieval later). Staff will agree that if there was email traffic about something and I was included, I can put my fingers on it in a flash.

    Click. I very quickly tag any site I visit in Sometimes I do comprehensive metadata through tags (format, date, who asked for it? Who told me about it?) and sometimes I do very simply the topic. Sometimes I tag for others sake and connect CTAA to things others might not relate to us, just to (eventually) forge those connections.

    Segue: The Dont Catalog thing may not be a sin against librarianship, but it may point toward the Informationist model.

    *Now Im going to tell you a little bit about the published definitions and characteristics of both Informationists and Embedded Librarianship, and then a bit more about my job for us to put this all together.

    History: shake-up within MLA. Between 200 and 2006, much discussion. They landed on the term information specialist in contextTesting informationist concept includes looking at funding sources.

    Several studies subsequently showed that clinical librarianship programs are, in fact, both efficient and effective(12-17). They add to clinicians' knowledge most of the time

    These new-style librarians read the full text of the most pertinent articles, identify and extract the relevant information, write brief synopses of their findings, and present them on rounds and at conferences

    Relationships with specialists: After all, possession of highly specialized, complex knowledge lies at the heart of physicians' identity, a principal source of their power and prestige. see also Turf Issues

    informationists must have a clear and solid understanding of both information science and the essentials of clinical work.

    Less obvious but no less important is the opportunity an informationist program will create for obtaining information about information: that is, complete, systematic feedback on what kinds of clinical questions are asked most often, and which questions lack satisfactory answers. Such meta-information could contribute importantly to the definition of clinical research agendas, both locally and nationally. Informationists can also play a crucial role in improving existing information retrieval systems and creating new ones by finding out more about when and how clinicians, patients, and families need information, what information they need most, and in what forms it is most useful to them.

    *Dance librarian at AU

    Biology librarians in labs at other colleges and universities

    Both terms are undergoing research, surveys to develop and apply criteria, look at funding, relationships

    When I asked Dave Shumaker last week if there was anything big that was new in the model, he told me*Article forthcoming in Information Outlook, Feb 2011*How do I collaborate with my customer groups?*I have to anticipate the information needs of staff and ambassadors. Google Alerts is a good way to do that, and people think youre doing magic tricks.**Joblinks has a full-time Marketing/Outreach Specialist.*I have relationships with everyone. At a minimum, I serve on the Tech Team and I am one of the last hold-outs who will do Outlook training; the rest have tried to switch everyone over to Gmail which is an option for us here.

    *There is no lack of diversity in my job and I have had great freedom to contribute in ways that I want to, simply by letting people know what I like, what I can do, what I am willing to do. Also, in a small organization, there are many ways to make non-traditional contributions and move into the white spaces:

    Tech trainingAccessibility statementBook reviews for magazineMyths & Realities paperBlog empowermentWeb developmentPresent at annual conferenceRoadeo!

    *TAP (technical assistance program) Tappy. Penguin may have been arbitrary at the time

    NRC grant 2004; need a mascot. Tappy was the mascot of the National Transit Resource Center.

    At EXPO 2010 we were relaunching the NRC website and used Tappy- and Penguin-themed promotional items I developed. In the back you can see ED Dale Marsico who drove me around the exhibition floor on a golf cart.*My job ultimately has aspects of both.*Please do not hesitate to contact me.*