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What’s an informaticist?

Yes, good question, just what is an informaticist? Think of it as a librarian without a library. Alan’s heard of the term cybrarian, which he believes is popular in Australia, though not with him. Danielle likes the term information scientist which makes her feel like she should be wearing a white coat and holding a test tube full of simmering, rainbow, glowy information; but information isn’t messy in *that* way, so no need for the white coat.

In essence we’re talking here about information professionals who primarily specialise in using the internet and online databases as a resource tool. So for example, depending on the question in hand, we use online databases such as MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychINFO and the libraries of the Cochrane Collaboration, as well as the more messy world of the internet and its search engines, portals and gateways. We search, scope, appraise, index, organise and manage articles, references, reviews, documents, data and information.

In addition to this search and appraisal role, our jobs encompass knowledge management, enterprise search and intranet development, as well as project management and general research – all of those things that librarians should be striding confidently into, if only they weren’t so meek and mild. We know about indexing and classification, about archiving and hierarchies; what works for books can and should, with a little tinkering around the edges, work for all documents and files in a company or an organisation.

One Response to “What’s an informaticist?”

  1. In some circles of thought, they are called ‘information scientists’ which makes me feel I should be wearing a white coat and holding a test tube full of simmering, rainbow, glowy information. But information isn’t messy in *that* way, so no need for the white coat.

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