The author recently attended the annual conference of the Special Libraries Association (SLA). As SLA examines what info pros are valued for within their organizations, it has become clear that the value of info pros is their ability to provide strategic information when, where, and how it is needed. The seeming overabundance of data isn't the problem as much as it is developing tools to sift out what is relevant for them. The value of blogs is that they are created by people who are sifting through data and highlighting what's most relevant to them. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson suggested, this is the role of info pros -- to provide guidance in filtering the relevant information and to provide the tools to interpret the information.
info pro MARY ELLEN BATES Journalism, Librarianship, Rocky Mountain News shortly before it folded, lamenting the and Astrophysics fact that, since 2002, the Rocky and The Denver Post had lost $100 million in classified advertising revenue, due largely to craigslist. Just as newspapers unable to adapt to the pressures of the web are imploding, journalists who define themselves by what they do now rather than by the skills and talents they have recently attended the annual conference of the Special will find the job market challenging. i Libraries Association (SLA). The closing session, a panel discussion moderated by Judy Woodruff, was particularly timely with its combination of content creators and users. The other two panelists at the SLA session—John R. Patrick, internet industry big-thinker, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, the country’s most entertaining astrophysicist—offered the Robyn Meredith, senior editor at Forbes, expressed her con- perspectives of information users. The seeming overabundance cerns about the future of her profession. I heard the echoes of of data isn’t the problem as much as it is developing tools to sift info pros and librarians everywhere: “We are journalists out what is relevant for us. The value of blogs is that they are because we were trained in journalism,” she said, which created by people who are sifting through data and highlighting sounded frighteningly like me in the 1980s, stamping my foot what’s most relevant to them. and saying, “We are librarians because we have a Master of Tyson pointed to the 4GB of data streaming to us from the Library Science degree.” Hubble Space Telescope every day. There is an office devoted As SLA examines what info pros are valued for within their solely to taking that information and making it accessible to the organizations, it has become clear that the value of info pros is public, in the forms of images, videos, educational resources, and our ability to provide strategic information when, where, and multimedia displays. And, he suggested, this is the role of info how it is needed. It’s not what we know or what we do with pros—to provide guidance in
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