Category Archives: Skills

Big Data Big Future

We Are Librarians sees Steve Lohr’s recent NY Times article The Age of Big Data as a call to action for librarians. According to Lohr, the “United States needs 140,000 to 190,000 more workers with ‘deep analytical’ expertise and 1.5 million more data-literate managers.” While many companies are signing on for the software required to manage large amounts of data and analytics, the people managing the data and technology are equally if not more important. Last week, Dan Woods wrote an article for Forbes entitled Defining the Art of Big Data Leadership. Implementing and managing a plan requires leaders who have the focus and imagination to progress companies into the age of big data. Librarians are the perfect candidates for these positions.

Check out’s flowcapping video Making an Infographic, In 90 Seconds:


And they’re hiring!

Careers at

View more presentations from

Content Curation

John Farrier’s recent article Digital Content Curation is Career for Librarians in Library Journal gives an informal introduction to the field of content curation and how it differs from blogging. He connects it to traditional library skills and offers advice on how to successfully curate content online. is a great free platform you can use to get started with content curation.

Check out PBS’s video about online music curation.

Off Book: The Evolution of Music Online from PBS Arts on Vimeo.

Why You Should Learn to Code

We’re all so lucky  that computers are so easy-to-use that even babies can use them. That’s the main reason that they are so ubiquitous, which is wonderful because they enhance our daily lives — librarian or not. However, as Slate puts it in their article about Code Year (I just signed up!):

…the fact that any moron can use a computer has lulled us into complacency about the digital revolution. You can see this in the debates over SOPA, the disastrous Internet piracy bill that has been embraced by politicians because many of them simply don’t understand its technical implications. Or, as Thomas Friedman points out, consider the absence of any substantive topic relating to technology from the Republican presidential debates.

Not only will learning to program broaden your technical skills and demystify what makes programs tick, you will learn how to solve problems in a new way. Like Farhad Manjoo, my limited coding knowledge has led me to break problems down into small, pragmatic and repeatable steps. You’ll find that learning a programming language is as beneficial as learning a spoken language.

You Need to Learn How to Program (via Smarterware)

New Skills for 2012

Here at WAL we usually speak of using “traditional” library and information science skills in new arenas. In today’s post, we’ll focus on skills that you might not have learned at library school — either because you had no room for tech-heavy electives or they simply weren’t offered.

While this may seem like the obligatory New Year’s Resolutions post, think of it as a post about generating new opportunities for yourself in the years to come. So in addition to signing up for that gym membership this January, give your brain a workout and familiarize yourself with these skills. Then stay tuned for more in-depth posts about many of these topics.

Please let us know in the comments about skills we may have missed.


Oracles Past & Present (& Future)

In this Scientific American article published online today, author Krystal D’Costa outlines how humans have historically searched for answers about the world around them, and the advantages/challenges of our modern information age. Humans have been information consumers since the beginning — whatever did we do before librarians?

Our ability to find and share information today is potentially limitless. But how did we get here? From cave paintings to the iPad—how does human innovation bring us here?

Read more of this excellent article at Scientific American.