RE: [IUG] System Mgt People in Short Supply?
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- Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2006 17:58:35 -0400
- From: "Byron C. Mayes" <bcmayes at temple dot edu>
- Subject: RE: [IUG] System Mgt People in Short Supply?
|From: Gimon, Charles A
|Sent: Friday, September 22, 2006 11:30 AM
|To: IUG INNOPAC List
|Subject: [IUG] System Mgt People in Short Supply?
|If you're a hospital, you don't hire a brain surgeon to run your
|database/web server. You hire a database/web professional.
To run the server, yes. To manage the applications on the server that are
used by the various clinical staff in the course of their work, no. For
that, you hire someone with a health professions background, probably
someone with a Medical Technology degree.
Kyle hit it on the head. The problem with most ILS-related job descriptions
is not that they require an MLS (though I agree that "MLS preferred" would
be better...for all the reasons people have stated here), but that they put
way too much emphasis on the IT skills.
When you manage an ILS, you are managing a large database application built
for a library. That requires a lot more library knowledge than it does
hardcore IT system administrator skills. In fact, most major ILSes take over
the operating system to such a degree that 1) you almost never have to see
the OS to do your job successfully, and 2) you could wind up screwing
something up if you do fiddle around back there (especially if you know how
the OS usually looks and functions).
Certain IT-esque skills are helpful if you are expected to take on modifying
the web interface to the catalog, of course. A good grounding in XHTML & CSS
will let you handle the basics, and some scripting knowledge will help you
make customizations and forms, as well as automate some tasks in the
staff-facing areas. That's icing, though, as you could easily work with your
web programmer to the same end.
I'll add one other reason an MLS is preferable in managing the ILS: the
other librarians. In an academic environment at least (probably to an extent
outside of academia), for better or worse, pretty much anyone who doesn't
have an MLS is lumped together as "support staff." It doesn't matter whether
you're a multi-degreed and certified system administrator, or a clerk with a
GED, to many librarians, you're someone who works *for* them. With an MLS,
you become someone who works *with* them, and their willingness to view you
as a worthy colleague changes dramatically.
Unfortunate, but too often true, and if that's the reality of an
institution, then an MLS to manage the ILS is to be greatly preferred.
|And I disagree that you need to talk to librarians to find out
|what users want. Forget that--talk directly to the users, and
|cut out the middleman.
Actually, you need to talk to both. The users should be paramount, as they
can best articulate how they use (or would like to use) the ILS, the public
parts, anyway. The librarians need to be talked to as well. First, because
it's a tool that they use in the course of their work, and second simply to
get buy-in. Sometimes the second one is the more important.
Byron C. Mayes, MLS
Head, Library Systems & Technology
Temple University * Philadelphia, PA
ByronC dot Mayes at temple dot edu
Listowner, BLACK-IP: The Black Information Professionals' Network
Join at <http://listserv.temple.edu/archives/black-ip.html>