Finding the Expert

In a post on the Index Data blog, Sebastian Hammer nicely sums up the value of finding the expert when it comes to information retrieval:

It’s easy to find the Einsteins, the Darwins, the Freuds. Dig a little deeper, and you find the people, themselves giants, who stood on their shoulders. But what if you want to find the person or team who knows the MOST about a very specific type of protein, about building Firefox Plugins, or about adjusting the wheel bearings on a certain kind of vintage motorcycle? This seems to happen to me all the time when I am digging into something for work or play. If you get deep enough, looking for documents doesn’t sate your appetite, and you start to look for the masters of the domain — to see what they’re up to; to get into their heads, to ask them questions, or to hire them.

My New Job as User Experience Librarian

This month, I ended more than ten years of service in the Information Services Division at the Newman Library at Baruch College and started a new position as a user experience librarian in the Collection Management Division. While I will continue to provide reference services and teach workshops and credit courses, I’ll be working on all sorts of projects in Collection Management that focus on improving access to and integration of the library’s online and on-site resources. The work will consistently be driven by user needs, which means that I’ll be involved in a lot of usability tests, focus groups, surveys, and more, as part of an effort to design a better experience for our students and faculty. So far, I’ve been hip deep in our link resolver (SFX), our ejournals lookup system (Serials Solutions 360 Core) our federated search tool (Serials Solutions 360 Search), and admin options for various databases. My supervisor and amazing colleague, Mike Waldman, and I hope to release a mobile-friendly website that links to mobile-friendly databases, a LibX toolbar, and a project involving QR codes in the stacks linking users to electronic resources and LibGuides.

I expect I’ll still be posting items at my other blog, Digital Reference, but will also be active over here at Beating the Bounds, which is where I go when I want to talk about scholarly communication, open access, fair use, copyright, information literacy, databases, social media, and user experience.

(cross posted at Digital Reference)