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.