Archive for November, 2011

New Research — Just Published

November 21, 2011

My latest research on embedded librarianship has just been published on the Special Libraries Association website at:

This is a supplement to the final report that Mary Talley and I co-authored in 2009. In this supplement, I report on six site visits that I made during June of this year. Three visits were made to institutions of higher education; two to for-profit organizations, and one to a not-for-profit corporation. Two were re-visits (one educational, one professional services firm) to organizations that Mary and I visited in 2009 and documented in an appendix to our final report.

The six organizations were chosen because of a sustained record of successful embedded librarianship. In each visit, my focus was on practices that contributed to success — especially management practices, and the roles of library managers and information user group managers. I talked to at least four individuals at each site — a mix of librarians, library managers, senior managers, and information user group members. (At one organization, I was unable to talk to information users due to a scheduling problem.)

I’m working on analyzing and synthesizing the results for future publication, but I wanted to make the writeups available for those who might be interested in the meantime. If you go over to the SLA site and read them, I hope you’ll come back here and post a comment or otherwise give me your feedback.

p.s. I want to thank the folks at the Special Libraries Association for funding the project and for their patience as I’ve worked away at it over the past 3+ years.


Embedded Librarianship at the Internet Librarian Conference

November 7, 2011

(This is a couple weeks old but I’m just getting around to blogging it. If you already know about it, apologies for duplication.)

If you attended Internet Librarian last month in Monterey, CA, I envy you. I’ve always wanted to go and have never been able to.

Ok, but why am I mentioning it here? Well, it’s because you might be interested in the Tuesday morning keynote by Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Internet and American Life project. You can view his talk at It’s a very interesting and entertaining survey of current trends and their impact on librarianship.

One of the five questions he sets himself to answer is, what is the future of reference expertise? His answer highlights two strategies for librarians, one of them being — embedded librarianship! He suggests several roles for embedded librarians, including Scout, Synthesizer, Organizer, On-call information provider, and Steward of social capital. The other strategy is what he calls the “knowledge concierge” or “knowledge valet”. He says that it has similarities to embedded librarianship, but a different sensibility.

It’s an hour-long presentation and I think you’ll find it well worth your time. But in case you can’t spend an hour, the embedded librarianship reference starts at about minute 36.

As for me, I’m going to go find out more about information valets.