Sometimes a Catalog is Just a Catalog :
One of my friends on Publib recently asked me if I thought there were employment opportunities for Librarians in e-commerce and what training would be needed to get a job.
I think that is a good question to address here with all of the PubLib people. I am a librarian and I have worked in e-commerce – web design, product development, training, data base management and SEO. My former employment (after being a public library director) was as a corporate e-commerce manager. I redesigned a 6,000 product e-commerce website, created blogs and alternate websites for its products and within a year had moved it’s US rank in Alexa from about 60,000 up to around 7,000. I took a year off to complete graduate studies in digital forensics (which I consider directly related to cybrarianship) and recently returned to e-commerce again to manage the databases and organic SEO for an international company with tens of thousands of products specializing in medical equipment and medical supplies.
How does that differ in concept from traditional library cataloging? The argument could be made that traditional libraries do not charge their patrons and the cost / price feature of e-commerce products creates a completely different dynamic. But, it really doesn’t. Every professional librarian knows that nothing is free and although there is no direct charge to the patron finding a book in a catalog – the expenses are paid for up-front through Taxes and Tariffs and Fees (oh my!), Taxes and Tariffs and Fees (oh my!), Taxes and Tariffs and Fees (OH MY!). Every library book has a tangible cost and there is a small markup that accounts for salaries paid to librarians. The back-end is tied to inventory, prices, features, descriptions, shipping and various temporal factors.
So, are there employment opportunities for librarians in e-commerce? Obviously, there is for at least one. The problem is Corporate America does not know what librarians can do for them. It has been left to me to explain to the company presidents I have worked with that Libraries are, in fact, sophisticated and dynamic inventory control systems – that work just like their supply chains.
Library Schools do not even know that they are training people to create catalogs for e-commerce. But, they should and given the employment growth outlook for traditional librarianship, Library Schools should be touting the ability of their cataloguers to catalog, organize and describe everything.
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Filed under: Cataloging, Collection development, Collection management, current topics, Employment, Finance, GSLIS, History of Libraries, Humor, Interlibrary loan, Library Marketing, Library Profession, Media selection, Multimedia, Personnel, Research, Technical Services, Technology, Web 2.0 / 3.0 | Tagged: Amazon, CMS, Evergreen, III, Library Employment, Library Marketing, publib, public librarians, public libraries, SEO, SirsiDynix, web librarianship | 2 Comments »