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Informationist or Embedded Librarian? A Case in Point
Eileen Boswell, Community Transportation Association of America
November 18, 2010

Slide 2: Informationist or Embedded Librarian?

A Case in Point from the Transportation Division

Eileen Boswell

Community Transportation Association of America

Presentation to the Transportation Librarians Roundtable
November 18, 2010

Slide 3: Overview

  • Disclaimers
  • My traditional library duties
  • My non-traditional library duties
  • Embedded? Informationist?

Slide 4: A Series Fortunate Events

  • CUA
  • TRB
  • "Embedded Librarian"
  • TLR

Slide 5: Commuunity Transportation Association of America

  • Membership
  • Technical Assistance
    • Rural
    • Tribal
    • Senior
    • Veterans
    • Medical
    • Employment
    • Paratransit
    • Volunteer drivers/insurance
    • "Coordination"
  • Magazines

Slide 6: "Information Specialist"

  • Grant-funded
  • Web development
  • Tappy Grams

Slide 7: Traditional Reference

  • "How many bus fleets in the US have fewer than 100 vehicles?"
  • "I heard Exxon is getting out of the retail business. What can you tell me about this?"
  • "How many paratransit rides in Florida last year were rural?"

Slide 8: Don't Catalog

Slide 9: Image

Slide 10: Characterstics of Informationists

  • "Linking literature directly to practice"

  • Originated in medical settings: "The medical profession falls far short in its efforts to make the critical link between the huge body of information hidden away
    in the medical literature and the information needed at the point of care."

  • "...Over time [the informationists] even began to infer questions from the discussion and bring literature forward on their own."

  • "Clinicians need concise, synthesized review of literature that is readily available."

  • "Education and teaching skills, Political and negotiation skills"

    Davidoff F, and Florance V. The informationist: a new health profession? Annals of Internal Medicine 2000; 132:996–998 http://bit.ly/b1GkAY
    Giuse N B, Sathe N, Jerome R. Envisioning the Information Specialist in Context (ISIC) : a multi-center study to articulate roles and training models. Task

    Force on the Information Specialist In Context (ISIC) Final Report. Chicago, IL: Medical Library Association, 2006.

Slide 11: Characterstics of Embeddedness

Embedded Librarians...

  • Collaborate on their customer groups' work
  • Meet with regular customers to discuss information needs and results
  • Provide training away from library facilities
  • Meet with customer executives, managers, supervisors to discuss information needs and services
  • Attend meetings, class, or conferences devoted to their customers' area of expertise
  • Attend customer groups' meetings to learn about their work and information needs
  • Contribute to their customer groups' electronic communications

    Shumaker, D., & Talley, M. (2009). Models of embedded librarianship: Final report. Alexandria, VA:

    Special Libraries Association.

Slide 12: Not Service.... Collaboration

Slide 13: National Resource Center for Human Service Transportation Coordination

  • Attend weekly team meetings
  • Anticipate information and web development needs
  • Layout/edit Myths and Realities series
  • Produce online resource collections
  • Report on emerging research
  • Maintain events calendars
  • UnitedWeRide.gov web content
  • Collaborative workspace project
  • Marketing and promotional items


Slide 14: Image

Slide 15: Joblinks Employment Transportation Center

  • Attend weekly team meetings
  • Advise on information organization (internal files, web)
  • Aise on social media projects
  • Marketing*

Slide 16: Other Staff

  • Tech Team (software training, file management, social media)
  • Research for magazines
  • Print library
  • EXPO
  • Notary Public

Slide 17: Image

Slide 18: Image

Slide 19: Happily Married

Embedded Librarian

  • "Information literacy" in our specialty
  • In-depth topical research
  • Relationshipbuilding
  • "Working in the white spaces"


  • Be where they are.
  • Anticipate info needs.
  • Teach.

Slide 20