I am very much enjoying this extremely useful discussion we are having this week!
I am interested in archives and in working for a historical society and I found a current listing for a Director of Digital Collections position at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania while perusing the SAA Online Career Center.
The posting lists the following requirements:
- Graduate degree in:
- Library Science OR
- Information Science OR
- Archival Administration OR
- Fine Arts OR
- a related field OR
- equivalent work experience
- At least two years of relevant professional experience, including: project management and design, OPAC management, management of digital collections;
- Familiarity with appropriate metadata standards, and knowledge of digital librarianship;
- Familiarity with image capture equipment, including maintenance and upgrades;
- In-depth knowledge of library/archives systems, procedures, and standards;
- Excellent organizational, problem-solving, and communication skills.
- Special collections library experience and cataloguing
Perhaps the “scariest” thing about this posting is the absence of a requirement for an ALA-accredited degree. You could be competing with prospective employees from a range of backgrounds for this job. Curiously, the other requirements match fairly well with current LIS program offerings with the possible caveat, suggested by Tzoc and Millard, that your LIS degree might not prepare you well enough in management of digital collections and metadata (two areas those researchers found lacking in LIS programs). The emphasis on interpersonal skills and managerial qualifications noted by Choi and Rasmussen is also present here.
What is not present is any mention of technical programming background. Interestingly, a computer science graduate degree is not listed as a possible qualification.
Looking at this posting and reading the articles, I am reminded of a lunch I had (before I applied to SLIS) with two working librarians here in the Twin Cities to talk about what it is like to work in the field. Both stressed that my employability would have as much to do with what I do outside the LIS classroom as within it. They stressed the importance of getting involved with professional organizations, of finding ways to volunteer or intern at desirable libraries… When I see these postings and the research stressing interpersonal communication and “people skills” it dawns on me that the best way to prove those things is to get out there are work with these organizations somehow.
- Graduate degree in: