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An information professional is an individual who preserves, organizes, and disseminates information. Information professionals are skilled in the organization and retrieval of recorded knowledge. Traditionally, their work has been with print materials, but these skills are being increasingly used with electronic, visual, audio, and digital materials. Information professionals work in a variety of public, private, non-profit, and academic institutions.
In 2011, Gartner published “CIO Alert: The Need for Information Professionals.” The core finding in the report was: "The vast majority of organizations see the need to manage information as an enterprise resource rather than in separate 'silos,' departments or systems, but they don't know how to begin to address the challenge, as it is so large...Professional roles focused on information management will be different to that of established IT roles…An 'information professional' will not be one type of role or skill set, but will in fact have a number of specializations."
This perspective was reinforced in a January 2012 report by Foote Partners: "Gone is the tendency to hire specialists and large teams of limited range permanent staff for long-term initiatives. New models require smaller teams made up of multitaskers and multidimensionally skilled workers with subject matter expertise, business savvy, technology skills, and a range of appropriate interpersonal and 'political' skills."
The challenge is that this new breed of professional can have a number of roles within the organization. Few people currently have “information professional” as a title, but many have the stewardship, management, and application of information assets as a core part of their job. They can be found on the legal, records, and library staff of organizations. They can be found among those whose primary focus is governance – e.g., information architects and managers. Process owners, business analysts, and knowledge managers all have effective information management as a core part of their skill set, as do the new wave of information curators and community managers who currently focus primarily on social systems.
Information professionals provide a wide range of services in the areas of: classification systems, taxonomies, tagging structures, thesauri, retention schedules, assessment criteria, information audits, knowledge audits, information research, information resources planning and acquisition, training programs for people using information, information and knowledge literacy campaigns and other 'finding and organizational aids and approaches'. Some typical job titles for information professionals are Archivist, Business Intelligence Officer, Chief Information Officer, Community Information Officer, Customer Service Officer, Data Researcher, Information Consultant, Information, Knowledge or Records Manager, Librarian, Program Manager, Research Officer, Web manager or Web master.
An Information Professional may receive a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees in Archival Studies, Information Systems, Information Science, Information Studies, Knowledge Management, Library Science, Records Management and other related degree programs. In North America, most degrees are granted by institutions that are accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). In the United Kingdom, the regulating body is the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). In South Africa, there is the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA). Most countries have a professional association who oversee the professional standards of its members. These associations are all members of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). Many of these educational institutions refer to themselves as an iSchool and are members of the iSchool Caucus. Similarly, in Asia, there exists a consortium of iSchools called the Consortium of iSchools Asia-Pacific (CiSAP).
In 2012, the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) established a "Certified Information Professional" (CIP) certification. Developed in accordance with ISO Standard 17024, assuring conformity to accepted procedures for certification programs, CIP candidates must demonstrate knowledge of the six information management domain areas: 1) access/use, 2) capture/manage, 3) collaborate/deliver, 4) secure/preserve, 5) architecture/systems, and 6) plan/implement.
- About Information Professionals
- Competencies for Information Professionals of the 21st Century
- Certified Information Professional (AIIM)
- Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP)
- American Library Association accredited programs
- Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP)
- Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA)
- iSchool Caucus
- Consortium of iSchools Asia-Pacific (CiSAP)
- Standing Conference of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa Library and Information Associations (SCECSAL)