Community Analytics and Policy librarian specialization
Odds are far more likely than not that very few hopeful or even presently employed librarians have any clue at all about a novel emergent specialty with literally endless opportunity to enhance quality of life exponentially on a communitywide level. . An overview of this new specialty is set forth below to provide a basic guide for burgeoning specialist librarians.
Community Analytics and Policy (CAP)
This latest career pathway focuses on local data infrastructural development with a design to inspire community civic engagement and establish proper roles of libraries in sustaining the same elevated level of local community engagement
Besides main emphases mentioned above, this specialty aims to maintain most focus on the basic natures of open data and information; public capacities for informative knowledge of local issues via open government and data; and, various means by which local information professionals can serve as key community-based liaisons between citizens and government regarding digital assets and urgent sociopolitical issues.
Basic Analysis of Community Analytics and Policy specialization by professional librarians
Contemporary local communities currently face many challenges and unprecedented opportunities in numerous life aspects, especially education, public health and welfare, economic development, environmental concerns and housing.
Via combined efforts toward open government, open data and enhanced civic engagement, citizens and civic organizations are devising data-driven means of promoting greater openness and transparency. In that process, community engagement naturally flourishes from being informing with data.
Massive data quantities have existed for quite some time within key domains. Chief examples are the U.S. Census and Labor Statistics Bureaus, Centers for Disease Control, and Environmental Protection Agency. Each of those official repositories also contains widely varying levels of localized granularities.
However, recently developed analytical and data integration capabilities have enabled innovative ways to view and analyze data to inform policymakers and stakeholders about their respective communities. These newly devised empirical data tools offer a potentially viable means to resolve challenges, pursue opportunities and promote greater transparency.
Commonly known as "Big Data", the ability to harness enormous collections of digital information to devise ways to visualize data, analyze interactive maps and other such tasks frequently provides major enlightenment that in turn fosters greater openness and transparency.
Notwithstanding such diligent laudable efforts, several nonnegotiable perquisites must be fulfilled before positive results can materialize, specifically:
- Establishing centralized repositories to store, maintain and catalogue data
- Establishing baseline quality assurance standards for data collections
- Establish data communities to collect, maintain and curate
- Develop effective information structures and ecologies designed to foster data communities, usage and engagement
- Heighten awareness of transparency frameworks
- Heighten awareness of how data directly impacts daily functioning and well-being of individuals, neighborhoods and organizations
In short, data - and their analysis - are increasingly central to grasping a greater comprehension and improvement of the communities in which we live. Libraries play an important role at the intersections of government, civic groups, neighborhoods, and the public - thus making them critical informative community agents and data ecosystems.
Smaller local communities frequently lack adequate resources to maximize and realize the vast latent potential of localized Big Data by implementing strategies identical to those utilized in urban locales. Nonetheless, any assumption that no formal informational institutions exist in smaller localities is erroneous.
In fact, there are nearly 17,000 library facilities throughout America, most of which are located in small or rural areas. Moreover, while libraries may not be the first institutions that mental imageries evoked by discussing "Big Data" conjure up, libraries do have a long history of community collaboration to ensure highest and best use of informational resources to meet community and individual needs, foster transparency and fuel democratic civic engagement.
The last word and bottom-line commentary on CAP librarian specialists
In the final analysis, data and analyses thereof are rapidly becoming more centralized focal points in efforts to better comprehend and enhance local communities in and with which we all must live and engage.
Given that immutable reality, this writer can fathom only one possible future direction for professional librarians who specialize in community analytics and policy: upward and into outer orbits of distant galaxies that were previously beyond exploration by human beings - until now.