Defining the Knowledge Professional


I was directed to this series of posts via @rebeccajonesgal on Twitter: Susan Lipsey on Knowledge Professionals. Part 1 is titled “Do our clients know who we are?” Part 2 is: “Defining our Value”. Part 3 is Measuring our Performance and Part 4 is Good Enough?

I like how Susan focuses on relationship-building as opposed to defining tasks. It’s something I struggle with, at least in finding the right vocabulary. I continually look for catch phrases that I can tuck away in my memory to pull out at an opportune time (unfortunately, I haven’t created the right access word to actually recall them!). I figure if I read enough material eventually it’ll be ingrained.

I’m going through a challenge in my workplace, where there is talk of changing my position title, as “librarian” isn’t reflective of what I do. Funnily enough, when my colleagues talk about what I do, I realize that they are indeed describing a “librarian”. I guess this is the disconnect with the term that SLA has been working on with the Alignment Project. It’ll be interesting to see what we finally come up with!

~ Karen


2 Responses to “Defining the Knowledge Professional”

  1. 1 Philip Wolfart

    I’m thinking this crisis of identity is endemic across the entire information economy, not just Librarianship, and is not hugely new. Speaking as somebody who has devoted a number of years studying identity as a concept, I can say that identity (and its geographic corollary, territoriality) has been a political hot-potato at least since the late eighteenth century (earlier if you would believe liberal historians). And the key is indeed, as you say, to build, rebuild, and constantly recreate relationships. The labels, Librarian, information manager, information navigator, high priest, are shorthand, but it is what we do on a daily, seasonal, or regular basis, as professionals that matter, and we need to be sure that we constantly reassert our position, within the organization that we work in. A chat here, a pithy e-mail here, a “I thought you might find this interesting” pre-emptive strike here, can, in theory, go a long way. And so, now onto recreating a new reality…

  2. 2 Bren Wong

    Browsed Susan Lipsey’s Part 1 article on do our client’s know who we are and very worthwhile read. It reminds me of today’s library adventure..our team saved the client Jane time and money, freeing up her time to concentrate on her billable project as we chased down the proper edition of a technical textbook for her. She almost bought the e-book and would have discovered it only held current information and not archival info. This is the type of success stories we need to share with the C-suite and other report-to-managers to communicate our value.

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