Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies.
Digital applications and technology have become a core element in information science and information management. Not only do information professionals need to be proficient in the digital resources and systems that support traditional libraries such as digitization systems, electronic resource management systems, and digital knowledge bases, they need to be comfortable with the technology that is used to support the advocacy and outreach their organization is engaged in, such as social media, video hosting services, blogs, and podcasts, just to name a few (Shih & Holmes-Wong, 2018) (Haycock, 2018). To ensure that the proper technological tools are selected for an institution, whether a traditional library or a corporate information management role, it is essential that information professionals are able to identify the relevant technological tools, evaluate them for efficacy against the identified needs analysis, and use those tools effectively.
There are many methods by which information professionals can identify new technological tools, from peer networks to analyst reports. The primary method is through professional associations, and those reference points provide additional value to association memberships and events. For instance, during the Visual Resources Association conference I attended in 2019, I sat in on numerous sessions where different digital asset management systems were discussed, and attendees were able to share lessons learned and pain points with similar use-cases. Also, at these professional events, vendors will often attend as sponsors, enabling the ability to have a preliminary discovery conversation in real-time. Another option to identify technological tools that leverages peer experience but allows asynchronous communication is through topic-driven peer groups in association online special interest groups (SIGs) or different social media channels. Online searches are another method of identifying specific technological vendors, and specific technology reviewing services such as Forrester, G2 Crowd, or Gartner. These sites not only provide analyst reviews and comparisons, they grade technological offerings in proprietary rubrics so the researcher can see which competitors within a functional group are established, which are rising competitors, and which are on the wane.
The first step of evaluating information and communication technology is to create a needs analysis that the selected technology needs to satisfy. It is best to gather information for this needs analysis from multiple stakeholders, including people who will work with the system and from an executive sponsor to define the business case that the technology will need to satisfy. Following the composition of the needs analysis, identified vendors should be contacted to engage in a discovery call to see how well their technology aligns with the needs analysis. All vendors should be scored in each of the categories from the needs analysis as well as other considerations including cost, company health, and professionalism. In more advanced evaluations, these scores can be weighted if the organization values some of the selection criteria over others, but at the end of the process there will be a clearly identified best-choice based on quantified selection methods.
Technology is always changing and progressing, and it is important to stay flexible to better solutions that become available. Whether a new collaborative tool, or a knowledge management suite, the more adaptable and accepting an information professional can be, the more successful they will be recommending new technologies for their institutions or making themselves more marketable during a job search. For instance, while one organization might handle their documentation in Google Sites, another might use Atlassian software or Sharepoint. The more familiar the information professional can be with the business goals of a platform and core functional features of that technology, the more adaptable and marketable they will be in their industry.
While I have had classes that address vendor evaluations and technology-related research and analysis, I have developed most of this competency through my professional experience. I have evaluated and selected various tools in each of my professional engagements, and have used these tools in different use-cases based on the needs and preferences of the audience served. As an example, I have used Snagit, a screen capture and markup tool, extensively to create documentation and job aids in various knowledge management systems. I have also created videos using Zoom and Screencastify to record and deliver asynchronous tutorial information. I’ve also used Zoom to offer office-hours and help sessions for global teams to address change-management challenges during platform releases.
I submit this document in support of this competency because it demonstrates my ability to research and synthesize burgeoning technology in the information professions. In this paper, I explain the concept, purpose, and strategy behind Linked Open Data and explain the relevance of this technology to information professionals.
I selected this area of my professional website to support this competency because I considered and weighed my options in the best manner to deliver the copyright toolkit I created in INFO281, and made the decision to build this tool in my WordPress site. I vetted different table tools and selected the one that would provide the greatest flexibility to address the filtering and searching needs of the user. The assignment suggested to simply create a document with links, but I wanted to make a useful tool that could benefit and inform members of the public.
I selected this video in support of this competency not only because it discusses the evaluation and delivery choices I made for one of the platforms I administer in my job, I had a core role in the creation of the video. For this video on my approach in the launch of the Showpad sales enablement platform, I wrote the script, created the screen captures using the Screenflow application, and recorded the voice-over audio.
From the subject matter covered, highlighting the innovative design decisions I made following an evaluation of the platform, to the conceptualization of the video and the components used to create it, I was the driving force of this asset.
Admittedly, one of my favorite components of my profession is the responsibility to research, evaluate, and implement emerging technologies to serve the needs of the user and the initiatives of the organization. Whether assessing system platforms to support information management and distribution, or implementing technologies to support components of organizational initiative promotions such as Zoom, Snagit, Screenflow, Camtasia, Confluence, Airtable, or a simple Google Site, I am committed to staying nimble as new technologies come online. I also find immense value in leveraging my professional network, whether through association conferences or social media groups to see what approaches other thought leaders in the profession are using.
Haycock, K. (2018). Trends and Issues. In M.-J. Romaniuk (Ed.), The portable MLIS: insights from the experts (Second edition, pp. 277–290). Libraries Unlimited, an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC.
Shih, W., & Holmes-Wong, D. (2018). Library Information Technology. In K. Haycock & M.-J. Romaniuk (Eds.), The portable MLIS: insights from the experts (Second edition, pp. 187–198). Libraries Unlimited, an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC.