Behind the screens of the library: the information specialist

Published on
October 24, 2006

The Library employs 13 information specialists: ten for all the subject areas of Wageningen UR, one information specialist/conservator for Special Collections and two employees for innovation, policy and projects. Marianne Renkema is information specialist for the subject areas of Food, Food sciences and human nutrition and Agrotechnology.

Marianne briefly describes the work of an information specialist: “In consultation with the Wageningen UR researchers books and journals for the subject area are purchased and electronic sources included in the catalogue and consequently in the digital library." According to Marianne the visitor of the physical and digital library is quite clearly confronted with the (work of the) information specialists, for instance at Portals with a selection of the most important sources per subject area and the Virtual Reference Desk. She says: "Furthermore our work is visible in the catalogue. We assign keywords and categories to new sources, so they are easier to find." Information specialists also teach library users to find relevant information in an efficient and effective way. This is done by answering questions, holding product demos, presentations and courses, but also by teaching BSc- and MSc-students. On request information specialists do literature searches and citation analyses.

Marianne spends a lot of time on teaching: “I am also a coordinator for the ECS-52901 Information Literacy and I teach several groups. I like to develop new teaching material and I am one of the teachers of the EndNote courses. Consequently a lot of questions about EndNote land on my desk.”

She emphasizes: ”When I was still a researcher myself, I did not know about the existence of an information specialist. As a student I had learned how to do a literature search and from colleagues I learned some new things. Now I know that my literature research would have been a lot better if I had asked the library for advice about suitable databases and how to set up a query. Furthermore I can advise everybody to set up literature alerts to remain informed in a simple way of new articles on a certain subject.

(Newsletter 6-2006)