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Selected Positions of Information Professionals

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reference DeskThe top careers and job opportunities of the next 10-25 years will be information intensive and require the ability to acquire and apply information and knowledge. To better understand the role of traditional librarians, we recommend that you visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Department of Labor. Students interested in becoming a librarian should visit the Librarians section or the section for Archivists, Curators, and Museum Workers.

Also see our annotated list of Selected Positions of Information Professionals Working in Libraries. For a look at what you can do with a degree in Information / Library Sciences, see our Employment Possibilities page.

The section on Emerging Careers bring to light newer types of positions, which are information focused but have not always been associated directly with librarianship. Each of the "10 Trends and Forecasts for the Next 25 Years" is tied to the need for information and knowledge. Consider that “Information is rapidly becoming the world’s most precious resource, creating wealth while replacing land, energy, labor, and capital.” *See Special Report

SIS hopes that each of our graduates finds appropriate and satisfying employment. We are here to help in any way, and so please let us know how we can better serve your job seeking process.

Selected Positions of Information Professionals Working in Libraries

Acquisitions Librarian

Oversees collection development. Selects and manages the acquisition of additional resources for the library. An acquisition librarian may work with electronic or print resources, or both.

Children's Librarian

Assesses, selects, processes, and catalogs library materials suitable for children and sometimes young adults; assists library users – primarily teachers, parents, and children – with reference questions and computer and Internet use questions. May coordinate reading programs or story times for children.

Government Documents Librarian

Manages and directs the activities of the Government Document collections and services. Selects, organizes and promotes federal government material; manages the federal depository library collection and ensures adherence to Federal Depository Library Program guidelines and rules.

Law Librarian

Provides professional library service and legal research assistance in many kinds of legal settings, such as law schools, law firms, and government libraries. Law librarians provide evaluative information about legal research collections to court personnel.

Legal Information Specialist

Aids and trains staff and co-workers in using the resources available. Aids attorneys with their various levels of research concerning their caseload. Evaluates and buys online, CD-ROM, and print resources, and manages library personnel.

Medical Librarian

Serves as a liaison between the healthcare community and resources pertaining to health sciences. May provide health and science information for healthcare providers, institutions, and schools.

Clinical Librarians

These are medical librarians who accompany staff on daily rounds and provide information and documents for which need arises on rounds.

Health Information Manager

(patient records; not to be confused with medical librarians or clinical librarians) There are 51,000 practitioners in two levels of certification who are dedicated to the effective management of personal health information in hospitals and clinics. 

Scientific/Technical Information Specialist

Typically, an organization or subunit that focuses on development of science and technology collections and services.

Reference Librarian

Provides general help to library patrons by conducting reference interviews and answering reference and computer questions. Discovers what library users need and how they can find it. May also participate in more formal instruction.

Technical Services Librarian (TSL)

Assumes overall responsibility for coordinating manual and automated processes for access to and control of all library material. Functions include acquisition, cataloging, serials management.

Young Adults Librarian

Plans, coordinates, publicizes and manages the young adult department for a library; builds the young adult collection; maintains constructive relationships with other library departments, with high school librarians, faculty, students and community advisory groups; responsive and alert to young adult needs.

Bibliographer

Prepares systematic lists of books or other works specifically by author, subject, or date after selecting the most appropriate materials. These lists, or bibliographies, serve as useful tools for researchers and students.

Indexer

Provides access points for the user in whatever type of information bearing entity being searched. Creates the necessary link between the information and the need to find it.

Abstractor

Writes abstracts, or short, paraphrased summaries, of works in order to provide the user easier access to information, allowing the user to quickly scan the available literature and determine which items are most useful.

Archivist

Manages all aspects of the Archives; provides specialized reference and research service; accessions, arranges, describes and catalogs archives items; promotes appreciation of archives collections; works with consultants on museum collections; assists with the appraisal of archival materials; develops policies; seeks grants.

Processing Archivist

Arranges and describes modern manuscript and archival collections in all formats; develops and documents processing plan for large collections and guidelines for levels of processing; assures appropriate archival housing for collection; identifies and refers items as necessary for conservation treatment; prepares finding aids, guides, and other descriptive access tools; participates in implementation of EAD for encoding finding aids; supports the work of the Head, Manuscripts and Archives Cataloging in MARC cataloging of manuscript and archival holdings in the Library's Horizon online catalog. Trains and supervises the work of support staff and students who may be assigned to assist with arrangement and description of manuscript and archival collections; assigns tasks and monitors pace and direction of work by support staff; maintains schedules and deadlines; evaluates staff performance. Submits regular reports on manuscript and archival processing; supports and participates in other work of the department as assigned.

Manuscript Curator

(aka historical manuscripts curator/librarian) These professionals differ from archivists in that they manage collections of personal or biographical or family papers of individuals or families. Their locations are typically in libraries or historical associations. 

Records Analyst

Examines the records of businesses, offices, and companies and determines the needs that must be met in order for the company to prosper. Can work in many fields, including law and medicine. Gives advice based on analysis on how companies can prosper.

Records Manager

Involved in the systematic, life-cycle control and management of the creation, maintenance, storage, and disposal of records (destruction or archival repository) created in the normal course of business of an organization.

Museum Librarian

Organizes, catalogs, and shelves items that come into the museum. Deals with budget constraints in developing museum collections and in determining sources to be included.

Museum Registrar

Keeps up with all forms and files that come in with the objects collected by a museum. Handles loans of materials/objects and an item's status. Handles the inventory of the museum's collection and must be able to incorporate new technology to reduce the amount of paperwork involved.

Preservationist/Conservator

Provides protective measures to ensure the safety and longevity of the collections during storage, exhibition, consultation, and transportation within and outside the Library. Concerned with the placement of materials, storage, processes, sunlight, temperature, techniques, paper-deterioration and new technological advancements in the field. Conservators spend most of their time in repair work, while Preservationists makes administrative decisions to get everyone involved in the preservation program.

Antiquarian Book Specialist

Buys and sells used/out of print/scarce/rare books. Attends book sales, scrounges in bookstores and anywhere where used books might be found. Prices books, catalogs them, sells and ships them to buyers.

Genealogical Researcher

Researches family origins and history. Collects and organizes all of the family's data that is available.

Positions in Emerging Careers

The ever-expanding numbers and diversity of information occupations is of compelling interest to all information professionals. Partly driven by common information technologies, the convergence of skills common to many careers continues to accelerate. More simply put: most information professionals are doing the same things; they just use different names for them.

Competitive Intelligence Specialists (aka business intelligence specialists)

Alerts management to opportunities and threats from both the competitors within the industry and other sources. Collects, analyzes, and applies information that affects a company's plans, decisions, and operations. 

Ontologist

In both computer science and information science, an ontology is a data model that represents a set of concepts within a domain and the relationships between those concepts. It is used to reason about the objects within that domain. Ontologies are used in artificial intelligence, the semantic web, software engineering, biomedical informatics and information architecture as a form of knowledge representation about the world or some part of it.

For computer and information sciences, an often-cited definition of ontologies is that "an ontology refers to an engineering artifact, constituted by a specific vocabulary used to describe a certain reality, plus a set of explicit assumptions regarding the intended meaning of the vocabulary words" (Guarino, 1998). 

Taxonomist/Thesaurus Developer

A classification, usually in a restricted subject field, that is arranged to show presumed natural relationships (Arlene Taylor). A taxonomy is a knowledge map of a topic or discipline. It is a structured vocabulary that embodies relationships among terms. The most common relationship is a hierarchy (tree structure), e.g. electronics > power supply (Tom Watson). 

Metadata Specialists

Metadata is data about data. An item of metadata may describe an individual datum, or content item, or a collection of data including multiple content items. Metadata (sometimes written 'meta data') is used to facilitate the understanding, use and management of data. The metadata required for effective data management varies with the type of data and context of use. In a library, where the data is the content of the titles stocked, metadata about a title would typically include a description of the content, the author, the publication date and the physical location. In the context of a camera, where the data is the photographic image, metadata would typically include the date the photograph was taken and details of the camera settings. 

Bibliotherapist

Uses books/poems/literature to promote positive mental health. Related to art therapy.

Chief Information Officer

Chief information officers are responsible for the overall technological direction of their organizations. They are increasingly involved in the strategic business plan of a firm as part of the executive team. To perform effectively, they also need knowledge of administrative procedures, such as budgeting, hiring, and supervision. These managers propose budgets for projects and programs, and make decisions on staff training and equipment purchases. They hire and assign computer specialists, information technology workers, and support personnel to carry out specific parts of the projects. They supervise the work of these employees, review their output, and establish administrative procedures and policies. Chief information officers also provide organizations with the vision to master information technology as a competitive tool.

Chief Knowledge Officer

Explains the philosophy to other board members, and drums up funding for knowledge projects. Promotes job flexibility throughout the company, so that staff with smart ideas can execute quickly. Tries to break up divisional logjams. The goal is to allow everyone in the company to quickly find out who has expertise in which areas.

Chief Privacy Officer**

Protects the privacy of company customers and deals with privacy and legal issues in accordance with company policies.

Commercial Records Center Manager

Develops and maintains systems and procedures that provide information to users in a quick, efficient, and cost-effective manner. Additionally, records managers seek to reduce the costs and legal risks that are inherent in information handling. Deals with both active and inactive records, their storage and use.

Competitive Information Specialist

Alerts management to opportunities and threats from both the competitors within the industry and other sources. Collects, analyzes, and applies information that affects a company's plans, decisions, and operations.

Digital Projects Researcher

Investigation areas include imaging, technical infrastructure, metadata, image file formats, compression, network access, and preservation models and strategies. Provides research by gathering and analyzing relevant data, conducting surveys, and by synthesizing current and emerging practices in digital preservation.

Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities

Document Manager/Analyst

Locates documents, both internal and external, and accesses their value. Implements a document management system. Must be familiar with and be able to evaluate the current technologies available for document management (Adobe Acrobat products, those OCR products such as Scansoft or TextBridge.

Electronic/Digital Resources Cataloger

Collaborates in the cataloging and processing of electronic resources in all subject areas, including cataloging remote and direct access titles, and in formulating standards, policies and procedures related to the cataloging of electronic/digital resources.

Imaging Specialist

Can vary depending on the company's needs. The environment in this job is any industry in which large amounts of information is processed and distributed, which includes federal information organizations, local and state government, military branches, international agencies, health care centers, advertising agencies, insurance companies, legal services, banks, business firms, consulting firms, and communications. Primary roles include classification and indexing, analyzing workflow, conversation projects, and consulting.

Micrographics Specialist

Micrographics is a term used to cover all of microphotography. Here images are photographically reduced onto specialized camera film (16 mm, 35 mm, and 105 mm). When needed, business records, newspapers, and periodical issues are photoreproduced at 24X and above for retrieval by users. Micrographic products require less than 2% of the space of paper products. Microfilm can be used for image retrieval systems that are based on computerized indexing of micrographic images. 

Information Scientist

Information scientists organize, manage and develop information systems, which are used to store, analyze and retrieve data for clients. They work primarily with electronic resources and ICT systems, and increasingly less with paper-based ones, to source and research the information that is required. They also develop new systems such as databases and are often involved in the creation of web content. Information scientists have a key role in many types of organizations and handle all types of information including scientific, technical, legal, commercial, financial and economic. Their role may cover one particular type of information. 

Information Architect (IA)

IA's design various systems (organization, labeling, navigation, and search) to help users access and manage all types of information. Though not always referred to as such, any information source has a structure and organization that are the result of different information architectures. Information architecture explores ways that content can be grouped (organization), how to refer the content groups (labeling), and how to move between the groups (navigation). Good IA focuses on the aggressive collection of information usually in the context of a website. Information architecture begins with the clarification of missions, goals, content, and audience. This foundation allows for the creation of information resources that are "manageable, useful, and able to grow over time." From Syracuse University SIS

Information Designer

Information design has been defined as the art and science of preparing information so that it can be used by human beings with efficiency and effectiveness. Information design has its origins as a subset of, or synonym for graphic design and it is often taught as part of graphic design courses. The term has come to be used specifically for graphic design that has the purpose of displaying information effectively, rather than just attractively, or for the purpose of self-expression by the designer as artist. During the 1980s information design broadened to include responsibility for message content and language, and a greater role for user testing and research than had been traditional in mainstream graphic design. Information designers who have their roots in professional writing sometimes refer to the field as 'document design', particularly in the USA. 

Information Broker

Analyzes information, sets up libraries or information centers and organizes company records or litigation files, creates bibliographies on demand, provides such materials as annual reports, journal articles, dissertations, conference proceeding, etc., creates a cataloging system or provides other technical services, provides in-depth research or quick reference service, and provides translating services.

Cartographic Information Specialist

Cartographic representation involves the use of symbols and lines to illustrate geographic phenomena. This can aid in visualizing space in an abstract and portable format. The cartographic process rests on the premise that the world is measurable and that we can make reliable representations or models of that reality. Cartography or mapmaking (in Greek chartis=map and graphein=write) is the study and practice of making representation of the Earth on a flat surface. The discipline of cartography combines science, aesthetics, and technical ability to create a balanced and readable representation that is capable of communicating information effectively and quickly. 

Geographical Information System (GIS)

A geographic information system (GIS) is a system for capturing, storing, analyzing and managing data and associated attributes that are spatially referenced to the earth. In the strictest sense, it is a computer system capable of integrating, storing, editing, analyzing, sharing, and displaying geographically-referenced information. In a more generic sense, GIS is a tool that allows users to create interactive queries (user created searches), analyze the spatial information, edit data, maps, and present the results of all these operations. 

Information Manager

Analyzes the information needs of an organization, implements needed changes in the information flow structure, acts to accurately and efficiently disseminate information to those who have a need for the information while also maintaining the security of the information handled and creating a flexible structure that allows the organization to grow in its access to and storage of information. Works closely with clients and in conjunction with computer engineers, computer programmers, production managers, and telecommunication specialists.

Information Resources Manager

Manages the actual hardware and software that makes up an organization's information infrastructure including purchasing, planning, desktop support and network administration. Manages in-house software development and web design and administration. Can be involved in staff training and may be directly involved in performing these operations or they may be delegated to a Network Administrator or other staff. Responsible for the management of both external and internal resources and information security. 

Public Information Officer

Legal Information Specialist

Aids and trains staff and co-workers in using the resources available. Aids attorneys with their various levels of research concerning their caseload. Evaluates and buys online, CD-ROM, and print resources, and manages library personnel.

Local Area Network Manager

Maintaining user accounts, printers, and other peripherals connected to the network, allowing or disallowing file access and sharing, ensuring data integrity, monitoring network performance, and enforcing licensing agreements. Helps troubleshoot problem areas and questions from the staff. Plans and coordinates security measures, routine system backups and recovery strategies.

Public Records Researcher

Three types of researchers are involved in this field. 1. Search Specialists who concentrate on a specific type of public record information. 2. Application Specialists, who focus a specific type of service. 3. Document Generalists, who search specific categories of public records, in response to requests for documentation of legal compliance, lending, or litigation.

Usability Specialist

Usability is the degree to which something - software, hardware or anything else - is easy to use and a good fit for the people who use it. It is a quality or characteristic of a product. It is whether a product is efficient, effective and satisfying for those who use it. it is the name for a group of techniques developed by usability professionals to help create usable products. Works with computerized information systems in order to attain a high level of usability for end users. Towards this end, usability specialists utilize user centered design and usability testing methodologies.

Medical Informatics [related: health informatics, bioinformatics]

"Medical informatics concerns itself with the cognitive, information processing, and communication tasks of medical practice, education, and research, including information science and the technology to support these tasks." Greenes and Shortliffe, JAMA 1990, pp. 1114-20. 

Data Mining/Miner

Data mining can be defined as "the nontrivial extraction of implicit, previously unknown, and potentially useful information from data." [1] Data mining may also be defined as "the science of extracting useful information from large data sets or databases". Data mining is the principle of sorting through large amounts of data and picking out relevant information. It is usually used by business intelligence organizations, and financial analysts, but it is increasingly used in the sciences to extract information from the enormous data sets generated by modern experimental and observational methods 

Webmaster

Develops and organizes a web site, uploads pages onto the site, manages links, updates information as needed on entire site/database so that currency is constant.

Reprography Specialist

This a general term for the reproduction of documents or images especially those that are virtually indistinguishable from the original. Reprography can be by mechanical, electronic, or photographic means such as photocopying or xerography, scanning, digital printing, and photography. 

Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

Enterprise Content Management is any of the strategies and technologies employed in information industry for managing the capture, storage, security, revision control, retrieval, distribution, preservation and destruction of documents and content. ECM especially concerns content imported into or generated from within an organization in the course of its operation, and includes the control of access to this content from outside of the organization's processes. 

Prospect Researcher

Prospect researchers use computer and specially designed computer systems to identify individuals, groups, families and corporations for the purpose of identifying them as prospects to be contacted in fundraising. 

Visual Resources Specialists

These specialists focus on the curatorial management of photographs and slides for organizations. 

Book (Or Serials) Vendor Representative

Material vendor representatives market their company's collections for librarians at trade shows and at libraries. Normally, they receive a commission for the sales they complete. 

Grey Literature Specialist

Non-conventional literature (NCL, also called "grey literature") comprises scientific and technical reports, patent documents, conference papers, internal reports, government documents, newsletters, fact sheets and theses, which are not readily available through commercial channels. NCL specifically does not include normal scientific journals, books or popular publications that are available through traditional commercial publication channels. 

Hypermedia Products Developer

Multimedia is the integration of media such as text, graphics, animation, sound, and video. Hypertext is a nonsequential, nonlinear method for displaying text and has the following features: nodes or chunks of information, links between nodes, organizational structure that describes network of ideas, dynamic user control, and multi-user access. Hypermedia is the union of multimedia and hypertext. 

Electronic Document Professional

Qualified individuals who demonstrate broad knowledge of and experience in digital communication-whether in print, over internal networks, or online-from document creation to distribution. Turning electronic documents-the heart of modern corporate communication-into effective communications is the work of these professionals.

Forms Management

The forms management industry is comprised of forms managers, forms analysts, forms designers, forms specialists, business analysts, forms salespersons and others that are involved with improving business processes through better form systems. There is a certification program, in-person and online educational events. 

The list of positions below in emerging careers is suggestive but not inclusive.

(Management Information Systems) MIS director
Chief Information Officer (CIO)
Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO)
Strategic information specialist
Imaging (optical imaging, scanning) specialist
Micrographics (specialist)
Legal information specialist/trainer/librarian
Records manager/ records and information manager (RIM)
Information scientist
Webmaster
Indexer
Taxonomist/thesaurus developer
Metadata specialist
Expert systems specialist
Medical informatics (informaticist) [related: bioinformatics]
Intellectual and structural capital specialist
Abstractor
Data mining/miner
Scientific/Technical information specialist
Proprietary information specialist
Document accountability specialist
Ontologist
Documentalist/documentation specialist
Commercial records center owner/operator/manager/director
(Information Resources Manager) IRM
Marketing research specialist
Information broker
Competitive intelligence specialist
Public information officer (or “specialist”)
Information manager
Intelligence specialist/officer (as in CIA, military)
Library consultant (architecture/building OR automation)
Genealogical researcher
Bibliotherapist
Antiquarian book seller/researcher
Historical society director or related titles
LAN (local area network) manager
Preservationist/conservator
Public records researcher (or related title)
Prospect researcher (identifies prospective donors [e.g., not-for-profits]
Museum librarian
Museum curator or registrar
Bibliographer (subject specialist working in large research libraries)
Archivist
Information architect
Information designer
Health information manager (patient records; not to be confused with medical librarians or clinical librarians)
Clinical librarians
Manuscript curator (aka historical manuscripts curator/librarian)
Electronic/digital services specialist/librarian
Cartographic information specialist
Geographical Information System (GIS) specialist
Instructional technology specialist
Database applications specialist/designer
Hypermedia products developer
Internet service provider
Audiovisual specialist
Visual resources specialist
Book (or serials) vendor representative
Information systems/services trainer (internal; e.g., training employees in use of systems)
Online services trainer (external, online customer training; e.g., Lexis, Dialog)
Electronic mail manager
Information center manager
Information officer (privacy) or Chief Privacy Officer
Information center manager
Reprography specialist
Grey literature specialist


* Special Report: Forecasts for the Next 25 Years, p.5.

“Archives” is a) a place where archival collections are stored, and b) the archival records, which are those records created in the normal course of an organization’s retained because of their historical, informational, legal, or fiscal values. This body of records is usually no more than 3%-5% of all records created and received by an organization. The term “to archive” is not related to this context.

**Sometimes “information officer” in the public sector.