Job adverts are interesting for a variety of reasons. They give a sense of skills and attributes in demand. They say something about how the hiring institution wants to present itself. And they can indicate trends.
I have been interested to see three research libraries look for senior digital library posts in recent months.
- Associate Director for Digital Library Programmes and Information Technologies, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford.
- Associate Vice President for Digital Programs and Technology Services, Columbia University Libraries/Information Services.
- Head of Digital Library, Information Services, The University of Edinburgh.
Note: given the nature of these resources, the links may not continue to work indefinitely.
Now, these are different posts in different institutions but there is the common ground that you might expect as research libraries look at creating digital infrastructure, engage with research data needs, explore new modes of scholarly communication, and so on. Each is challenging and interesting and offers a wonderful opportunity to be centrally involved in advancing how libraries support changing research and learning practices.
However, I was struck by something else they have in common. Responsibility for the integrated library system (or library management system) appears to be a part of each post, yet it is not foregrounded in the position description. For these libraries, maybe, the ILS is a necessary part of doing business, but is not the site of major development. Designing and developing digital infrastructure now includes the ILS but is no longer led by it. Or maybe there is some other reason …. ?
Now, considerable time and effort goes into these systems, and they will be reconfigured in coming years. Picking up on my opening remarks though, it is interesting to see where the adverts place the emphasis.