What is a knowledge professional?

SLA may be changing its name, depending on the outcome of a vote currently underway. The proposed new name is Association for Strategic Knowledge Professionals.

Since the proposed announcement, Twitter and other outlets have been buzzing with reactions and discussion.

In the midst of all this, I was catching up on some back reading and read an article about the One Book, One Community in Library Journal. I happened to notice that the author works for “a firm specializing in strategic communications for knowledge organizations” – and thought, I have no idea what that means. It just sounds like a bunch of buzzwords mixed together to me. Now why would I want to belong to an association whose name sounds like a bunch of buzzwords to me?

Anne Barker has posted her “lengthy thoughts” at her blog. Like me, she was in favor of the proposed name change in 2003 but doesn’t like the current proposed name. While I don’t agree with her on everything, I think she makes a lot of good points. (As of her last post, Anne had not yet decided which way she would vote. Kendra Levine, Dan Cherubin, and David Shumaker, three librarians with very different experiences, wrote thoughtful posts explaining their “no” votes.)

I don’t have a traditional library job. My working job title, which I did not choose, is “Information Core Director.” When people ask what that means, I explain that I am a librarian. It means something to people, and explains the kind of work I do.

I’m not against a name change, but I’m holding out for one that feels right to me.

7 thoughts on “What is a knowledge professional?

  1. I’m not a librarian, though my wife is and I worked in one (that’s where I met her). My wife used to belong to SLA but discontinued her membership a long time ago for other reasons. Anyway, if I had a vote, I’d say the proposed change is a dumb idea. It sounds like its coming from people who aren’t confident about what they do, or are doling out bullshit. Plus, the acronym (ASKP) is an unintended dis on librarians. Like librarians are who you ask where the bathroom is…

  2. Thanks, Stephen. I corrected the proposed name.

    Marty, you would love the original proposed acronym: ASKPro. Say it out loud a few times.

  3. Well said, Tara! I can’t leave the “L word” behind, no matter how hard I try. I truly believe that “library” and “librarian” are good words that help differentiate what I do from all of those other folks sitting in front of computers. One foot in the classic profession (think: Library at Alexandra!) and one foot in the electronic cloud.

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  5. Well said, Tara! I can’t leave the “L word” behind, no matter how hard I try. I truly believe that “library” and “librarian” are good words that help differentiate what I do from all of those other folks sitting in front of computers. One foot in the classic profession (think: Library at Alexandra!) and one foot in the electronic cloud.

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