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November 25 , 2007

Exploring New Roles for Librarians: The Research Informationist


Librarians have been providing support to researchers for many years, typically with a focus on responding to researchers' needs for access to the existing literature. However, librarians' skills and expertise make them uniquely suited to provide a wide range of assistance to researchers across the entire research process, from conception of the research question to archiving of collected data at the project's conclusion. In response to increasingly stringent demands on researchers to share their data, and as computationally intensive and primarily data-driven scientific methods begin to take the place of traditional lab-based research, the "research informationist" has emerged as a new information profession. With a background in library and information sciences, as well as expertise in best practices for data management, grant funder policies, and informatics tools, the research informationist is capable of implementing a full suite of research support services. This book will discuss how the research informationist role has developed out of the previously established clinical informationist model and how it expands on the model of embedded librarianship. The book will also examine core competencies for the successful research informationist and the training and preparation necessary for students in library and information sciences programs, as well as currently practicing librarians. Finally, this book will consider how research informationists can form collaborative partnerships with research teams and build their services outside the walls of the library, citing practical examples of the types of support research informationists can offer.
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