Where does an "Information Mananger" fit? ( long)

Subject: Where does an "Information Mananger" fit? ( long)
From: Candace Bamber <cbamber -at- CASTEK -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 26 May 1997 08:53:37 -0400

Hello All....
A neat thing happened to my sister this week at her performance evaluation.
I'd like to tell you about it and then help her out by putting a question
or five to you. Hopefully, your responses will help her decide/understand
where to go next with her career.

My sis is a professional librarian - Master of Information and Library
Science degree. I think this is relevant to this list because very often
the Information Managment role is dovetailed with the Information
Development role. When we talk together about work, it's clear to both of
us that our roles really overlap - we're always saying "but that's what *I*

Anyway, she's been working for an engineering company for the last two
years. Basically, when she walked in the door they had a serious doc
control problem. All their paper stuff was in waist-high random piles on
the floor and stuffed people's drawers, and the server system was a
disaster. Using her training ( a combination of hightech database
management and design skills combined with the fundementals of professional
librarianship), she got them set up with a great searchable reference
database, developed processes around document version management, set up a
version management system, bought shelves and catalogued and indexed
everything, designed and implemented a reference service system etc. Every
piece of paper (contracts, plans, phone messages, notes, schematics,
software specs, designs, reports, orders, etc, etc, etc) has a place. (And
she documented the whole thing.)
The "neat thing" is at her performance review, her management informed her
that they felt the engineering staff had shown a 25-35% increase in
productivity because now that they can find things, they don't have to
start from scratch everytime they begin a new project. I thought this was a
really impressive achievement since in a "service" company such a
significant productivity increase really impacts the company's bottom line.

The not-so-neat thing is that now that it's all set up there isn't really
anything left for her to do. She feels the company could hire a part time
library technician to run the thing.

We are very interested in how other technical communicators perceive her
particular role and skill set:

1. Can you see a need for a professional information manager as a member of
a publications team? or maybe such a person would fit into a different area
of a company?

2. Is a technical librarian a "technical communicator" at all?, and are
there any others with similar backgrounds on the list?

3. Does your Company / Group have a job definition that fits the above in
any way shape or form?

4. Do you have any thoughts about how she could market this rather
specialized skill set?

5. And (if somewhat boldy) - anybody out there looking to hire or contract
a trouble-shootin' problem-fixin' technical librarian?

We are looking forward to hearing any thoughts anyone may have on these
issues. Once again, thanks in advance for your help and comment.


Candace Bamber

now thankfully at:
Castek Software Factory
Toronto, ON
416-777-2550 X331
cbamber -at- castek -dot- com or (home)cbamber -at- netaccess -dot- on -dot- ca

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