So… things have happened since last I wrote. I’m still a librarian (because I still have an MLIS), but I’m no longer employed by a library. I’ve decided to step sideways into technical support and information management at my institution’s IT department. Super exciting and super terrifying all at the same time!
I’m a few weeks into this new job now, and while new jobs are just basically always hard (I’d grown very very used to knowing everything about my job, and now I know a whole lot less about my job), I’ve been relishing all the times where the skills and habits of information literacy translate into this new context. That’s always been my favorite thing about taking on new liaison areas or even new topics and methodologies within established liaison areas, and now it’s my whole life. And spoiler alert, “all the times where the skills and habits of information literacy translate into this new context” are basically all of the times.
I’m still scrambling hard to learn all the things I need to know about campus IT infrastructure and about departmental workings — there are days when I wonder if I’ll ever know enough to be less dependent on patient and helpful colleagues. On the other hand, it seems like my experience with the underlying concepts of information seeking, information retrieval, and the reference interview are pretty useful in a variety of contexts. I also get to build a new knowledge base and help my new colleagues restructure parts of their ticketing system to help make it so techs can more easily see what they need to see when they need to see it.
The upshot is, I’ve decided not to shelve this blog. I’m still me, and I’m still interested in the same concepts. But if you’re mostly here for ideas about teaching primary source discovery to undergraduate researchers, that’ll be in pretty short supply. Granted, that’s been in short supply for a while now as personal and professional priorities edged out blogging most of the time in the last few years. But to the extent that I’m able to form coherent thoughts that I want to share down the road, it’s unlikely to be about traditional reference and instruction. It may be (and probably will be) applicable or analogous in some way, but it’d take some translation.
On the other hand, if you’re interested in guides and/or knowledge bases, that’s what’ll be on my mind for the next while at least. What do you put into them? What don’t you put into them? How do you manage discovery vs known item retrieval? Are we going to shoot for exhaustivity or a more limited collection? How are library research guides similar and different? Right now it feels like the week we subscribed to Libguides for the first time and had to decide how to structure things there: boundless possibilities and a ton of work in front of us.