There are many interesting jobs emerging in the field of library and information science - particularly with new technology tools available. SLIS alumna Michelle Dalmau (MLS/MIS 2004) has one of these jobs.
Michelle is the Digital Projects and Usability Librarian with the Indiana University Digital Library Program (DLP), Bloomington, Indiana. In an email interview, we asked her about her job. Below are her responses.
Key Job Duties:
I am responsible for coordinating and managing digital library projects with a particular focus on electronic text projects as well as coordinating and leading user studies for the DLP and the greater Indiana University Bloomington Libraries. I am actively involved in the digital humanities arena and as such am especially interested in supporting digital humanities initiatives across campus. More recently I co-developed and team-taught a new Digital Humanities seminar in the English Department in which the Victorian Women Writers Project that I manage and co-edit featured as a prominent assignment around scholarly encoding and textual editing.
The many DLP projects I have managed or contributed to include: the Victorian Women Writers Project, the Brevier Legislative Reports, Indiana Authors and Their Books, the Indiana Magazine of History, Sheet Music Consortium, IN Harmony: Sheet Music from Indiana, and Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection.
A Favorite Aspect of Your Job:
I have had the pleasure over the years to foster partnerships and collaborations with talented colleagues near and far – librarians, archivists, technologists, and teaching faculty – and to work with amazing collections and participate in innovative projects — so, working with cool people on awesome projects.
Tips for Current Students:
Caveat: These tips assume you are interested in the digital libraries specialization.
SLIS does a great job of supporting this, but grow your portfolio while in graduate school by seeking ways to contribute to if not "real-world" projects then projects that are meaningful to you and exploit nearly every facet required in your specialization. Then intern. Maybe twice. Learn XML and XML-related technologies; it's fun.
Talk to librarians and technologists happily working nearby. We can provide a great deal of insight and advice about trends and emerging standards and practices. Plus, digital libraries initiatives exist across the IU Libraries proper. The DLP is one place of many where digital work happens. By setting up brief conversations, you will get a better sense of what's happening in the digital arena at the IU Archives, the Lilly Library, Technical Services, Arts & Humanities, Digital User Experience department … and more!
While working on your Master's degree, consider shaping your SLIS projects into conference presentations or even publications. Co-author with fellow students or faculty members — it makes for an impressive CV, but more than anything it exposes you to talented people, innovative projects, and employment opportunities.
Finally, get involved in your area's professional organizations. If you are interested in digital humanities, the Association for Computers and the Humanities is incredibly welcoming and offers bursaries for conference travel, mentoring, and a fun job slam at the Digital Humanities Conference (or you can check out their jobs database). The Digital Library Federation offers fellowships for LIS students or new librarians. Consider interim professional jaunts to build experience: North Carolina State University Libraries Fellows Program or the CLIR sponsored post-doc fellowship. Once in that digital library gig, make sure you continue to uncover local and external funding opportunities to support professional development pursuits.
How SLIS Interns Have Helped Your Unit:
I am the internship coordinator for the Digital Library Program. DLP internships are offered on a rolling basis, and are highly catered to match students’ existing skills and areas of new knowledge with relevant projects. Most students, at the end of their internships, can point to a finished product, whether it is a component of the online resource accessible via the Web or evident in improvements to a project’s development cycle or workflows. In fact, interns play a crucial role in sustaining and evolving some of our projects like the Indiana Magazine of History, as we work closely with the editors to provide an ongoing, online publication of the scholarly journal, and METS Navigator, an open-source page-turning software platform for the delivery of online books, journals, etc. Interns have also single-handedly improved the user experience of many of our digital resources by integrating interactive timelines as seen in the Victorian Women Writers Project or compiling K-12 lesson plans around online sheet music. The possibilities are endless.
I can't prove this definitively, but I'd like to think that the intern's experience in the DLP goes a long way toward landing a desirable job. Most of the 40+ interns we've placed since 2006 began their careers in some form of digital librarianship. Some of the more recent examples, for whom I also served as a job reference, include: Brian Norberg (intern, Fall 2009), who landed a highly regarded fellowship as a Digital Initiatives Librarian at the North Carolina State University Libraries, Scott Bacon, who is Web Services and Emerging Technologies Librarian at Coastal Carolina University (intern, Fall 2010), and Elizabeth Munson (GA, 2008-2011), who became the Digital Librarian at the National Agricultural Library.
Posted July 26, 2012