Washington, DC Chapter

Archive | A Diverse Universe Blog

A Diverse Universe: Implementation Specialist with Infotrieve

By Jessica Bland

What is it like to work for a vendor?  What is it like to telecommute (which is something I am asked quite often)?  How do vendors interact with the information industry?

I left my position as an Information Specialist for a pharmaceutical company about fourteen months ago after working there for five years.  When I told my vendors at the time of my career move, many of them said something along the lines of welcome to the “dark side”.

I am now an Implementation Specialist with Infotrieve, a company with diverse services.  My position includes establishing accounts, training administrators and performing quality assurance testing of our new releases for our Mobile Library product, a system that offers integrated collection management and document delivery services in a copyright-compliant manner.

To answer my earlier questions, overall I find that my clients are congenial, intelligent people, and I enjoy a collegial relationship with them during the implementation process.  I fully recall how I instantly felt more comfortable when my vendor was previously an information professional, and I make a point of starting with my history in the profession when introducing myself.

Having come from the corporate environment, I do not find working for a vendor to be very different from my previous position.  However, it was strange to stand in the booth this year at SLA rather than being an attendee.  Also, I am fortunate that my supervisor also has her MLIS, but I do miss having the routine collaboration with other information professionals to discuss the changes and trends in information industry.

The largest change was telecommuting every day.  I had worked remotely twice a month during the last year at my office, but this is the first time that I have been a remote employee full time.  Luckily, many of our employees are remote, which means that our corporate culture is oriented around remote employees.  However, as I often tell people who ask, if it is a day when I do not have a lot of meetings (and a typical day can include three to four hours of webinars), I do catch myself calling my colleagues to ask questions that I could get answered via email or chat just to talk to someone.  Overall, though, if you are wondering if you could “make it” telecommuting, I would say that if you can work independently at the office, you will find it is just as easy to do so from a home office.

I enjoy being on an “alternate” career path.  Vendors are not fully removed from the information community, so I have an opportunity to speak with a variety of professionals.  I have the option to see where there are similarities among resource centers and where they each have their distinctive solutions to common problems.  Though I know that conferences strive to share this information, in reality often companies prefer their staff not share anything that may be construed as proprietary, limiting some of the value of the formal panels and increasing the value of more informal discussions (parties, breakfasts, breakout sessions, etc.) at the conference.

Overall, I have enjoyed my time as a vendor and look forward to the upcoming years.  If you enjoy the interactive (marketing) portion of being an Info Pro, you might consider a career as a vendor and join us on the “dark side”.

Jessica Bland is an Implementation Specialist with Infotrieve, a company that offers a content management and document delivery platform, reprints services, collection management and staffing services.

Posted in A Diverse Universe BlogComments Off on A Diverse Universe: Implementation Specialist with Infotrieve

A Diverse Universe: Exploring the World of Intelligence Analysts

By Dr.  Edna Reid

What do intelligence analysts (IA) do? How can I participate in a red cell exercise* about the use of social media in the Middle East uprisings? What are the current issues in intelligence analysis in the U.S. and overseas? How can I identify recent books about these issues and meet the authors? Are these authors available to speak at my institution? What certificate programs are available in intelligence analysis and where can I meet their representatives? If any of these questions spark your interest then register to attend a D.C. conference (June 2011) on intelligence analysis or check out intelligence.gov!

Yes, the International Association for Intelligence Education (IAFIE) is having its seventh annual conference in Washington, D.C., June 6-9, 2011. The mission of IAFIE is to advance research, knowledge, and professional development in intelligence education (http://www.iafie.org). Members of IAFIE are involved in various intelligence disciplines such as intelligence analysis, national security, and competitive intelligence. Members are active in developing and diffusing intelligence studies and programs that emphasize the need for intelligence professionals (e.g., intelligence analysts, collection specialists, cyber threat specialists, staff operation specialists).

CNNMoney.com, in 2009, identified intelligence analyst (IA) as among the ten best jobs in America. Intelligence analysts are involved in identifying, evaluating, and analyzing information for decision makers in the intelligence community (IC). It is a challenging yet almost invisible career field that has some overlapping specialization and expertise requirements like those in library and information science, e.g., the emphasis on identification, evaluation, and analysis of information.

However many information professionals overlook intelligence analysis as an alternate career path! Reid’s article on Information Professionals as Intelligence Analysts describes the analytical skills required of intelligence analysts as somewhat similar to those of open source (publicly available information such as news) researchers and/or political analysts. Additionally, the article posits that intelligence analysts come from diverse formal education backgrounds such as degrees in social sciences, engineering, psychology, economics, library science, history, business, computer science, or political science.

In order for information specialists to become intelligence analysts, they will need to hone their analytical skills and enhance their knowledge about IC agencies (e.g., DHS, CIA, NSA). Those who intend to explore this alternate path or just seek additional insights can check out the IAFIE conference or intelligence.gov because they will open their eyes to other ways of framing (packaging) library/information science competencies.

An important aspect of framing competencies for intelligence analyst positions is being able to translate your industry’s jargon into that which is used in the IC so that you can be effective in communicating your interests. Toward this end, Reid’s article provides a useful comparison of terminologies used in library/information science with those used by the U.S. intelligence community. For example, unclassified information is Open Source INTelligence (OSINT), cataloging is metadata tagging, and spying is Human INTelligence (HUMINT).

So consider exploring the world of intelligence analysts or just pass this information to a friend or family member who may want to consider a nontraditional career path that has many opportunities and challenges that can lead to a global adventure!

*Red cell exercise is an analytical technique for pretending that the analyst is the bad guy.
Dr. Edna Reid is an Intelligence Analyst with the DOJ.
Careers in the Intelligence Community (We Have Thousands of Positions in All Types of Fields), Accessed May 19, 2011. http://www.intelligence.gov/careers-in-intelligence
CNNMoney.com Best Jobs in America 2009. Accessed May 19, 2011. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bestjobs/2009/snapshots/9.html
Intelligence.gov, Accessed May 19, 2011. http://www.intelligence.gov/about-the-intelligence-community
Reid, E. Information Professionals as Intelligence Analysts: Making the Transition. Best Practices …, 2009. Accessed May 19, 2011. http://www.governmentinfopro.com/federal_info_pro/2010/01/information-professionals-as-intelligence-analysts-making-the-transition.html

Posted in A Diverse Universe BlogComments Off on A Diverse Universe: Exploring the World of Intelligence Analysts

A Diverse Universe: Managing a Library and Business Information Center

By Lois Ireland
My official title is Library & Business Information Services Manager.  The library part people get – it’s more or less typical corporate library services – research, ILL, acquisitions.  The business information services part causes some confusion.  Frequently people call me saying “I was referred to you about this, but that can’t be right – you’re the librarian!”
Like many librarians across SLA, my library staff builds websites.  We are the intranet gateway for colleagues within our division, which includes buildings & grounds, security, food & fitness and conference center operations.  We work with our co-workers within those areas – who know their stuff but don’t always consider the many ways other employees might be looking for them – to help them better serve their clientele by creating logical, easily navigated webpages with well-written, relevant content. 
Copyright questions are pretty standard for librarians to handle, but we also have responsibility for music and video licensing.  This covers including clips in presentations as well as playing background music as meetings get started.  Employees contact us to make sure the company stays in compliance with any restrictions.
A few years after I started at the company, I was asked to take over the corporate switchboard.  The logic was the library provides information to employees and the switchboard provides information to external callers.  Eventually, I got to design an automated phone attendant, one of those technologies we all love to hate.  Be assured, there is a true art to this design process.  I had to think about user behavior, taxonomy and synonyms while creating the menus and options that direct callers to the proper number.  Any calls that stump the system are routed to live operators during business hours.  In turn, if they’re stumped, they route the call to the library; we draw on our knowledge of the company to help callers get connected.
My videography/streaming team creates video files of meetings and programs, at the request of the business areas.  I worked with them to create a records management process which formalizes the retention and destruction of these video corporate records.  Video files are tagged with metadata to help them quickly identify and retrieve files.
My latest acquisition was the audio-visual team – the ones who set up the microphones, test the sound levels, bring in the projectors, start up the presentations and dial up the video conference.    I’m learning a lot about this set of technology!   Oh, and did I mention I handle the web conferencing service contract?
It can get hectic at times, when my day jumps from fielding a research request to checking on the status of A-V equipment to answering questions about web conferencing functionality.  But by taking on this seeming hodgepodge of roles, I’ve cemented my reputation with management for being curious, flexible and adaptive.
Lois Ireland is DC/SLA’s 2011 President-Elect.

Posted in A Diverse Universe BlogComments Off on A Diverse Universe: Managing a Library and Business Information Center

A Diverse Universe: Working for the State Department’s Office of Information Resources

By Chris Zammarelli
After I landed my first library job working as a cataloging librarian assistant at College of the Holy Cross, I dreamed of having the chance to build a library from the ground up. I figured it was more of a fantasy than a goal, but recently I had a chance to do just that.
Last October, I began work on behalf of ATSG as a contract cataloger at the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Information Programs’ (IIP) Office of Information Resources (IR). One of the main tasks of IR is to administer the Information Resources Centers (IRC) located in over 185 U.S. embassies. This includes hiring, training, and supporting Information Resource Officers (IROs). Think of them as foreign service librarians. They oversee the operation of IRCs and other American information spaces located around the world.
My main job as a contract cataloger is to catalog materials for IR’s virtual library. This virtual library is available to patrons of our information centers worldwide, and provides them with access to such resources as English as a second language materials, information on studying in the U.S., and resources on business and entrepreneurship.
As part of my work, I have created a collection development plan, worked with our vendors on designing and implementing our ILS and OPAC systems, developed a cataloging style manual, and, well, just cataloged materials like crazy. I hadn’t envisioned that the library I would get to build would be completely online, but it’s certainly nice not to have to make any decisions on carpeting and carrels.
Chris Zammarelli is a contract cataloger on behalf of ATSG at the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Information Programs’ Office of Information Resources. He is also a 2011 candidate for the SLA Board of Directors.

Posted in A Diverse Universe BlogComments Off on A Diverse Universe: Working for the State Department’s Office of Information Resources

A Diverse Universe – Working in the BNA Library

By Marilyn Bromley
In February, Larry Lempert, one of my BNA colleagues, wrote a Diverse Universe blog post on how he became Director of Product Research and Planning after years in the editorial side of the company, during which he earned an MLS from the University of Maryland.  Giselle Caruso, another MLSer here at BNA, participated with Larry in last year’s DC/SLA “Cinco de Mayo” session on alternative careers for MLS graduates; Giselle is a senior project manager in our business systems group.  BNA also has MLS grads serving as indexers, senior-level trainers and legal market sales professionals.  
So BNA’s a pretty diverse place for LIS professionals, right?  Yup, and even in the Library.   With a professional staff of 6 librarians, there is a lot of non-traditional work going on.
To begin with, the Library is responsible for the company intranet, thanks to our late colleague Rhonda Oziel, who got interested in HTML in the mid-1990s, developed some webpages, and before IT knew what was happening, created the BNA intranet.  Laura Gordon-Murnane is our current intranet webmaster.  Catherine Kitchell, reference librarian and treasurer of the News Division, manages the process of updating and publishing the annual BNA Court Directory, a BNA Books bestseller.  Four of us, including librarians Lan Choi and Clare Bailey, handle over 500 permission requests a year, with an industry-leading turnaround time of 24 hours.  Our competitive intelligence service is delivered to over 100 top BNA executives and movers and shakers every day.  I work closely with our general counsel on copyright matters, an important issue for every publisher.  Cataloger Matthew Newton applies for ISSNs for all our products, and assigns ISBNs to our monographs.  He also prepares “official” MARC records of our publications for our law school customers.  As in-house consultants in the product development process, the Library staff is involved in creating high quality value-added products for BNA customers and especially for you, our colleagues.  We take great pride in seeing that everything BNA produces not only delivers the best information, insights and analysis, but makes your job easier.  And that’s a win-win proposition for everyone!
Marilyn Bromley is Library Director at BNA and a 2011 candidate for the SLA Board of Directors

Posted in A Diverse Universe BlogComments Off on A Diverse Universe – Working in the BNA Library

DC/SLA Tweets

Photos on flickr