Software Librarians

There is a job title in the software domain called software librarian. I searched for the job title of software librarian on Monster.Com.   It does not seem that software librarian jobs require any background in library science.   Instead the job description indicated they wanted someone who could code.  When I searched for medical librarian or law librarian the following appeared in every job description.

You must possess the following requirements and experience to succeed in this position: Master’s Degree in Library Science from an ALA accredited program.

What is the motivation for the fields of medicine and law to require a Masters in Library Science to organize their documents while there is no requirement whatsoever for the software industry?   These other industries have realized how critical it is to organize knowledge, so it can be retrieved and reused.

I suggested to a client they hire a librarian or two to help them organize their software application.    He looked at me and asked me one of those obvious questions, “where do we find a librarian.” I suggested he look for a librarian at the library which they did.  They hired two librarians to consult and help establish a numbering system similar to the Dewey Decimal System for their software applications.  Like the DDC their internal numbering system was a faceted system.  This allowed a lot of cross-referencing of documents. In the end they had an online system where they could search for documents by a specific part of the application.

A librarian, with a Masters degree in Library Science, makes between $36,980 and $56,960 per year.[i] The average salary of a software developer is around $69,240.  You can get a librarian for less than a programmer and they are going to be twice as productive (maybe more) as a software developer when it comes to organizing.

Read more at Reboot! Rethinking and Restarting Software Development

http://www.davidleeking.com/ – Interesting ideas on design and organization of website and information.

http://theshiftedlibrarian.com/ – interesting ideas on how information is shifting.  It is coming to us in a variety different ways now.


[i] Bureau of Labor Statistics http://www.bls.gov/k12/print/read04.htm#pay

http://www.ala.org/
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Where to find a librarian? Those master catalogers, indexers, organizers of information, and much much more? Try ALA JobLIST (http://joblist.ala.org), your #1 source for jobs in Library & Information Science & Technology!

  2. […] Software Librarians « Quips On Software Development davidlongstreet.wordpress.com/2009/09/21/software-librarians – view page – cached There is a job title in the software domain called software librarian. I searched for the job title of software librarian on Monster.Com. It does not seem that software librarian jobs require any background in library science. Instead the job description indicated they wanted someone who could code. When I searched for medical librarian or law librarian the following appeared in every job description. — From the page […]

  3. Why even bother with a librarian? The MLS is a worthless degree.

    • Do you care to elaborate on your comment that MLS is a worthless degree? Of course I do not concur otherwise I would not have written the post.

      • Worthless? I suppose a librarian is like any other professional- nobody thinks we’re worth anything until they need one of us. I am an attorney with an MLS and my husband is a chiropractor. We hear the same stereotypes about both of those professions too!

        Funny how ignorant the uninformed sound when they rattle off anonymously on a blog!

  4. I just completed my MLIS and have ten years experience in technology as a business analyst and tester. Can’t get a job anywhere. No one in the library field will even call me back, and software is really tough right now, even in Chicago.


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