Are You SharePoint-Ready?

How does your organization position you?

How "ready" are librarians to use SharePoint 2003, 2007 and 2010? Do you consider yourself an IT Librarian or a Non-IT Librarian? This could be simply answered by reviewing your job description. Are you answering reference questions and/or are you formatting servers? Do you use C++ a lot in your work function or are you conducting reference searches through Boolean Logic? When co-workers come to your office, do they ask you about the IP Address when trying to remote connect to their workstation from home?

My "How are you using SharePoint in your library" survey gave me a general answer that if the question was not pertaining to cataloging, acquisition, collection development and research, questions would be sent to the IT (Information Technology) Department (Weldon, 2010). IT skills are growing in the librarian world but the IT Department still refers to a group of individuals with an IT background such as Exchange Server certification and an understanding of SharePoint Farm topologies.

You can be a librarian with coding skills and have a computer science/ library science background. You can also be a librarian with a business management background with database management skills and a library science background as well. We can keep going with various combinations but somehow there is a group unaccounted for - the Non-IT Librarian.

The government agencies and non-profit associations that participated in my survey seemed to be "embedded" in their work environment. The librarian's services worked together with the organization in order to make sure that information management needs were being met. For example, this could happen because the server has over 50,000 unknown files untagged and the project manager would want you to conduct an interview with the project's members to understand the metadata that could exist within those files. While the project has meetings, you are brought in to listen, take notes and interact within the meeting (depending how far a long you are in reviewing the unknown files). In order to capture ideas and thoughts that the project team would create every day, you would quickly create a "knowledge center" that would allow the project team to comment about your findings that you would post about assignments upon which they would be working.

You would be working with them to make sense of project artifacts that they were currently working with and would make relationships to project artifacts from past projects. If this project has been continued throughout the years, your presence could be the key to bringing a solid order. Through SharePoint's social networking features for collaborating ideas, your job could get easier?

The Non-IT Librarian

With this scenario, you would not have to code. You probably would start to worry when you or your supervisor would want to bring SharePoint in as a platform to help you bring the project team's ideas and other project artifacts together (Weldon, 2005). SharePoint uses a technology of programming without coding. This would allow Non-IT librarians, who would not be familiar with database management, to be able to create a webpart from within MS SharePoint that would not require any programming knowledge (Weldon, 2007).

Out of the 17 states and 3 countries that participated in the survey, I found that librarians wanted the knowledge on how: to use pre-defined templates for data collecting; to create menus, forms and reports; to move a physical collection or a collection in a standard integrated library system into a SharePoint environment; to create a SharePoint integrated library system and how to customize a webpart for the SharePoint integrated library system (Weldon, 2010).

The knowledge of how to do those things would not be the biggest link to success in SharePoint usage in the library. The biggest link would be the connection that the librarian would make with co-workers and project team members. The key is embedding your organization's library services into the regular workflow of projects and assignments without anyone noticing this action (Weldon, 2009). It has to be a natural merging of research that would slowly link to other research that would need to be performed for a project. Eventually, it would branch out to a department which would lead to other departments (Weldon, 2009).

A Resource

I am conducting two online seminars: June 9 and June 30th, 2010. They are both on a Wednesday. These online seminars would help Non-IT (Information Technology) librarians understand what MS SharePoint is and how to program it without coding to meet their needs.

The requirements or prerequisites for these online seminars would be: MS Internet Explorer 8.0 or 7.0; Microsoft Windows(R) SharePoint Services 3.0 sites or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007; MS Office 2003 or 2007; Web access.

The target audience would be librarians with little or no computer programming experience. If you have the experience and have an interest in these seminars, feel free to register.

The benefits students would receive would be to:

1. Obtain first-hand experiences from the facilitation of the online seminar by Lorette Weldon – author of articles and books pertaining to SharePoint usage in the library. She is an experienced information manager with over 15 years experience with information management.

2. Learn a method on how to effectively manage activities, ideas and documents within an organization (profit, non-profit and government).

3. Gain an understanding of how real–world situations within organizations could be connected to the creation of a SharePoint website that could be used for individual, department and/or organizational usage.

Registration is now open for these Wednesday sessions at

http://weldon-researchers.org/online_seminars

Bibliography

Weldon, L. (2009). 5 Question Survey on Social Media Usage for Professional Learning Communities within Businesses. Survey Analysis.

Weldon, L. (2010, March). How are you using SharePoint in your library survey. Retrieved March 14, 2010, from How are you using SharePoint in your library survey.

Weldon, L. (2007, November). My Virtual Assistant Saves the Day. Computers in the Libraries , 18-23.

Weldon, L. S. (2005). Getting the Answers: One Consultant's Approach to Deciphering the Government. Information Outlook , 33-34.

Weldon, L. S. (2009). Googlization of the Library Collection. Information Outlook .

Weldon, L. S. (2009). Taking Your Library on the Road. Computers in Libraries , 12-16.

Weldon, L. (2010, April 14). The Odd Couple: SharePoint and Librarians. Retrieved April 16, 2010, from LLRX.com: http://www.llrx.com/features/sharepoint.htm