Full System Alchemist A Presentation for the Rhode Island Library Association By Edward Iglesias Systems Librarian Central Connecticut State University
Systems Alchemist Inspired by Job Description of Alexander Johannesen
Systems Alchemist at Freesystems Technology Labs
He’s also been
Coffee Affirmer at ABC Radio
Multiplatform Spare Time Open Source Mercenary at Any and None
Got turned into this
My Character? Edward then became a State Alchemist (国家錬金術師KokkaRenkinjutsushi?), an alchemist employed by the State Military of Amestris, which infamously annihilated most of the Ishbalan race (Ishbal) in the past decade. Becoming a State Alchemist enables Edward to use the extensive resources available to State Alchemists, but it also turns him into what many call a "dog of the military".
What are Systems Librarians? Wanted to get at the identity and perceived identity of people who are Systems Librarians. Qualification: “When the ILS breaks, you have to fix it.”
“Accidental” Systems Librarians
The Mighty Beards Facial hair that all Unix experts are mysteriously compelled to grow. The length, bushiness, and unkemptness of the Unix beard are all directly proportional to the owner's expertise. By: Mitchell, Liz. American Libraries, Jun76, Vol. 7 Issue 6, p363, 3p
No, I’m not being sexist The position of systems librarian, i.e. computer specialists in libraries, developed as computer automation became integral to library operations. It is not surprising that men were initially hired for these positions as, in the beginning, men had the computer training. The male-female ratio has not, however, evened out over the years to reflect the increased number of women trained in computer programming and technology (Corbin, 1992). Corbin’s study of gender and salary data for systems librarians from 1972-1990 revealed that a disproportionate number of systems librarians hired were men. In the first five-year period, 31.5 percent of computer specialist positions went to men, although they made up only 22.7 percent of the total job seekers. During the second period, from 1978-1983, 26.9 percent of systems librarians hired were men even though men comprised only 18.4 percent of the whole. For the third period from 1984-1990, the percentage of men hired as systems librarians jumped to 42.6 percent of computer specialist placements even though men accounted for only a small percentage (20.9 percent) of librarians hired during the same time period (Corbin, 1992, p. 41). Barbara J. Bergman, (2005) "Looking at electronic resources librarians: Is there gender equity within this emerging specialty?", New Library World, Vol. 106 Iss: 3/4, pp.116 - 127
Despite the facts March 2010 College & Research Libraries vol. 71 no. 2 171-183
Or put another way Lavagnino argues that there is a systemic and evolutionary growth in the role of the Systems Librarian that is marked in stages where “One” marks a time before Systems Librarians and “Four” begins in the 1990s with the growth of Systems staff and distributed computing coming to the forefront.(Lavagnino 219) Ross and Marion propose a stage Five: The transition from Stage Four to Stage Five is occurring. Some of the characteristics that marked the arrival of Stage Four have grown at such a tremendous rate and affected systems librarianship to such a degree that they can be identified as major components in the push to Stage Five. Among these are standards, client/server architecture, and support for our patrons.(Mary Ross & Dan Marmion 5) Lavagnino, Merri Beth. “Networking and the Role of the Academic Systems Librarian: An Evolutionary Perspective..” College & Research Libraries 58.3 (1997): 217-31. Print.
My Survey This group responded to an email sent out to the email lists LITA-L, Code4Lib, and the IUG Innopac List. A total of 205 respondents answered questions ranging from job title to an estimate of time spent with vendors. As stated above the only requirement for being a “Systems Librarian” for the purposes of this survey was responsibility for the maintenance of an Integrated Library System. A full list of questions and responses is available in the appendix.
What is your true name?
Do you work for IT or the Library
Who maintains your public computers
Are you part of Technical Services, Public Services, An independent department within the library, or IT?
Qualifications and Duties MLS or equivalent by a vast majority (85%) 81% supervised one or more staff members 82% saying they had not taken systems classes in Library School and learned on the job.
You mean I have to talk to people? 63% reported that more than 5% of their time is spent dealing with vendors
But enough about what we already know What do these people want to do?
What do you wish you had time to learn? Results of question asked on code4lib
We Want Everything
What we want most.
Patterns Library Specific Tools are Outliers Only RDA Mentioned
Programming Languages XML/XSLT PHP Python R (Statistics Package)
To Consider This is not what we know, but wish to know.
Why Trendiness “Git Feeling very un-cool using svn still. ”
Perceived Skills DrupalPHPMySQLXML/XSLTAPIswhat the heck the above really meansArabicHindiRDAspeed readingRDFprioritizingtime managementtime travelNot a Systems person though. Just a cataloger trying to keep up.
Necessity? Not really If it were really necessary would you just want to learn it?
The things we carry Perl – Yes, I still code in Perl, long after many have deserted it for Ruby or Python or Java. Why do I still code in Perl? Primarily because I know it well enough to get useful work done. I just haven’t tried to tackle learning another language. Pico – This is likely the most surprising tool in my bag. I mean, who the heck uses this Unix text editor (and I should actually say nano but old habits die hard)? Again, mostly inertia keeps me from moving to something else. Swish-e – Indexing software that can make anything from plain text to XML searchable. I still run several sites using it. XML and XSLT – These days so much is happening in XML you simply must have the ability to parse it. I use the xsltproc XSLT processor largely because, again, I’m too lazy to switch to Saxon. Apache – Like, duh. http://blog.libraryjournal.com/tennantdigitallibraries/2011/04/28/the-things-we-carry/
And yet something more People with high level technical skills are leaving the profession. We aren’t really tracking this
What do you want from us? Generation X generally includes people born in the 1960s and '70s, ending in the late 1970s to early '80s, usually not later than 1982 Individualistic: Generation X came of age in an era of two-income families, rising divorce rates and a faltering economy. Women were joining the workforce in large numbers, spawning an age of “latch-key” children. As a result, Generation X is independent, resourceful and self-sufficient. In the workplace, Generation X values freedom and responsibility. Many in this generation display a casual disdain for authority and structured work hours. They dislike being micro-managed and embrace a hands-off management philosophy. Technologically Adept: The Generation X mentality reflects a shift from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. The first generation to grow up with computers, technology is woven into their lives. As law firms and corporate legal departments integrate new technological tools, Generation X has learned and adapted. This generation is comfortable using PDAs, cellphones, e-mail, laptops, Blackberrys and other technology employed in the legal workplace. Flexible: Many Gen Xers lived through tough economic times in the 1980s and saw their workaholic parents lose hard-earned positions. Thus, Generation X is less committed to one employer and more willing to change jobs to get ahead than previous generations. They adapt well to change and are tolerant of alternative lifestyles. Generation X is ambitious and eager to learn new skills but want to accomplish things on their own terms. Value Work/Life Balance: Unlike previous generations, members of Generation X work to live rather than live to work. They appreciate fun in the workplace and espouse a work hard/play hard mentality. Generation X managers often incorporate humor and games into work activities. http://legalcareers.about.com/od/practicetips/a/GenerationX.htm
Generation X is getting ready to retire
Generation Y/ Millennials Birth dates ranging somewhere from the mid-1970s to the early 2000s. Tech-Savvy: Generation Y grew up with technology and rely on it to perform their jobs better. Armed with BlackBerrys, la ptops, cellphones and other gadgets, Generation Y is plugged-in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This generation prefers to communicate through e-mail and text messaging rather than face-to-face contact and prefers webinars and online technology to traditional lecture-based presentations. Family-Centric: The fast-track has lost much of its appeal for Generation Y who is willing to trade high pay for fewer billable hours, flexible schedules and a better work/life balance. While older generations may view this attitude as narcissistic or lacking commitment, discipline and drive, Generation Y legal professionals have a different vision of workplace expectations and prioritize family over work. Achievement-Oriented: Nurtured and pampered by parents who did not want to make the mistakes of the previous generation, Generation Y is confident, ambitious and achievement-oriented. They have high expectations of their employers, seek out new challenges and are not afraid to question authority. Generation Y wants meaningful work and a solid learning curve. Team-Oriented: As children, Generation Y participated in team sports, play groups and other group activities. They value teamwork and seek the input and affirmation of others. Part of a no-person-left-behind generation, Generation Y is loyal, committed and wants to be included and involved. Attention-Craving: Generation Y craves attention in the forms of feedback and guidance. They appreciate being kept in the loop and seek frequent praise and reassurance. Generation Y may benefit greatly from mentors who can help guide and develop their young careers.
Commonalities Both tech savvy but younger workers work better in teams and demand more attention. Both want a life outside the library Both will become quickly bored with traditional library work.
Challenges You need them, they don’t need you. In 2010 45 percent of today’s librarians reached age 65. http://www.ala.org/ala/research/librarystaffstats/recruitment/index.cfm
Going, going Planning for 2015: The Recent History and Future Supply of Librarians A Report Prepared for the American Library Association Senior Management and Executive Board to inform its 2015 Strategic Planning Activities
How to Get Them Plan to hire non MLS technicians Plan to budget more resources to technologically competent individuals in the library. Change job descriptions and workflows. Focus on technological proficiency mixed with people skills.
How to keep them Challenge, them Back them when they want change Be flexible Don’t let them get bored If you have money to throw at them, do so.
Always hire people who intimidate you. That’s your job.