This is what I don’t know


In spite of a stellar classes, excellent internships, and loads of time spent thinking and questioning while in my MSI degree, a few topic areas slipped through the wide net I attempted to cast over my educational experience. It is not possible to predict all the things we might need to know on any possible job we might ever have. We make the choices that seem right at the time and hope that we have learned methods to teach ourselves later. In my case, I made choices according to the life I thought I wanted to live once I graduated – a life as a music subject specialist. That life never materialized, and I am happy for it. It does mean, however, that I have a few significant holes in my knowledge base that I couldn’t have predicted.

In my current job, a stronger background in GIS, government documents, and business research would be much appreciated. Luckily, my education has provided me with the tools to identify what I don’t know, figure out how to get it, and learn on my own. This is the point of education, after all.

I just finished reading Making Sense of Business Reference by Celia Ross, and I highly recommend it to anyone. It’s full personality and great tips. While reading it, I made a cheat sheet (in my Evernote, naturally) according to the resources we have on hand in our library for myself and also for my colleagues. Most of my business reference questions come from the business faculty, actually. They are some of the library’s biggest supporters, and as such I would like to avoid looking like a noob as much as possible in front of them, thankyouverymuch.

The category breakdowns into general areas like industry research and business statistics are extremely helpful. A large chunk of the book is dedicated to “stumpers” or questions that have stumped less experienced librarians. These answers help to break questions down into smaller parts, and they help provide an understanding of what answers you can or cannot expect to find. I especially like the tips for starting larger than the question and drilling down and for asking “who cares about this information.” These are tips I’ve been using unconsciously for a while and they are extremely helpful. And I don’t just say this because I talked to Celia once at a conference and she was just a lovely then as she is in this book. Seriously, Celia, thanks. You’re a lifesaver. I’m well on my way, now.

Gov Docs, not so much.

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