ILI2008: Future-proofing your professional skills

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Presentation by Julie Shortreed, University of Abertay. The librarians discovered that students considered the virtual library to be just a list of resources, so they used surveys and observational techniques to gather information on both what people thought and what they did. She stresses the importance of user testing with representative samples, though not very large samples.

Introducing the concept of information architecture, which comprises four key areas: labelling, navigation, structure and search.

Labelling (linking to under labels), using a consistent metaphor, such as “find” or “how do I…?”. Taxonomies based on subject categories.

Search requires metadata (doh!), but the metadata is necessary for a range of other relevant tasks (such as approvals tracking and version control).

Julie talked about the importance of choosing apt labels when dealing with information architecture, and the fact that librarians tend to be good at creating quality, structured metadata and that they also understand search as a concept. This was the main point of the paper: that the skills librarians have can be applied to many areas where understandings of information architecture, metadata, structuring models and search are necessary.

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