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Professional diversity – What’s in a name?

What’s your focus?  How did you become an information professional/analyst/librarian? What’s your title?  Every time I meet a member of SLA, particularly at the annual convention, those are often my conversation starters.

I’ve always found the career paths of SLA members to be most fascinating.  Part of that is probably because of my own path into this industry.  I started in journalism working for a weekly and then a daily newspaper, moving from there into specialized publications as editor, shifting into real estate market research and now working  an information professional doing research in the consulting industry.  There’s a common thread through there of finding information, analyzing the information or the source and producing or communicating it in an appropriate format.

This is all a long way of saying that I’ve often tried to figure out the best 1-minute elevator speech that defines the SLA chapter in a way that would attract the many folks who work with information, content and materials in Atlanta and Georgia.

I’ve looked at titles, but that’s a moving target. With the exception of possibly the individuals who work in academic or law libraries, there isn’t a standard.   Of course, there’s librarian, but there is also research analyst, text archivist, research associate, information manager,  knowledge management specialist, lead researcher, content manager, content specialist, business intelligence associate,  and many, many other variations.

That certainly shows the diversity of our membership and thus the depth and breadth of our member experience.  And that’s something that should appeal to most anyone in the information industry.  It’s the type of experience that I like exploring.

Nancy Snell

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