Tuesday, April 30, 2013

23 Mobile Things: Week 1: Twitter


Since I started this blog during the original 23 Things project hosted by SLA I was rather excited when I came across 23 Mobile Things project in early April. The first module is based around Twitter, which has mobile in its DNA, and is it a perfect place to start.

I have been using Twitter since mid-2007 so I am familiar with the service though my use case for the tool has changed over the past 6 years.  Originally, I used the tool mainly for conversation while now I use it for curation too. There are many great librarians/information professionals on Twitter doing excellant work in the library space.

I have tried using several mobile clients though my favorite is Tweetbot from Tapbots (who also offers companion application on the desktop). I don’t often go to the Twitter webpage unless handling some sort of utility function. 

I would argue that tweets are becoming a fabric of our cultural dialog and should be preserved for posterity so I agree with Library of Congress keeping an archive. Tweets capture information on both the mudane and the not so mundane, which is valuable to researchers both today and in the future. 

I don’t think Twitter can only be used for promoting large events or conferences. Instead, groups/organizations need to use Twitter everyday to interact with their community. Simply setting up a username and launching is not enough. Twitter is simply a tool help you reach your community the tool unto-itself is not important. Its all about the community and the conversation. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Value in an Embedded Librarian

Bringing librarians into an organization and embedding them into a work group has many benefits. As the knowledge economy grows workers spend a great deal of time working with information. Time searching, organizing, and validating information draws workers away from their primary responsibilities.  An embedded librarian, an information specialist, brings many valuable skills to the team including:

Research: 
 A librarian is a research specialist professionally trained in spelunking through databases and the open web for information on market verticals, competitors, and many other topics. The can provide other team members with information for reports, white papers, and build research guides or a bibliography to help their team members secure the best information possible. 

Information Management: 
An embedded librarian can liaise with the information center or library to ensure that team members have access to the information they need to complete their projects. This includes printed or electronic resource though could also include information on trade shows, or conferences. Librarians are trained in evaluating information for content so they know how to compare sources to find the best data possible.

Knowledge Management: 
Any department or working group not only consumes information resources it also inevitably creates them. Team members create white papers, memorandums, training manuals, grant proposals and other internal documents yet too often these internal documents are siloed away or left forgotten once a project is complete. A librarian can build and manage a group repository so these documents can saved for lessons learned, and additional projects. 

Training: 
Librarians specialize in instruction and user interaction. An embedded librarian can provide training to users (both internal and external) on group systems, and prepare training materials for distribution to the group. 

Having the librarian handle the group’s information needs allows other group members to focus on their core responsibilities (helping customers, writing reports etc.) rather than spending time swimming through the information.