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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Librarians are diggin’ DigIn

    Dewey decimal system, welcome to the digital age.

    The UA’s School of Information Resources and Library Science (SIRLS) received a grant that will allow for students to become tech savvy librarians.

    The $910,000, received from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, goes to the SIRLS “”Promoting Diversity in the Digital Curation Disciplines”” project.

    According to the IMLS, “”DigIn”” (is an online) graduate certificate program to train library professionals to create, collect, and manage digital information.””

    Those who complete the program will take their knowledge to rural communities, and be able to create new and easier ways for patrons to find information at libraries and other information institutions. It’s not simply learning how to work the internet or Microsoft’s Word, they will be learning new ways of finding information and using technology to better assist people in getting that information, officials said.

    DigIn is an 18 unit graduate program that is separate from the SIRLS degree program, but classes can count for both. The only requirement for students is an undergraduate degree, however DigIn is primarily geared to information professionals, said Peter Botticelli assistant professor of practice for SIRLS.

    “”It provides a substantial amount of scholarships and it is available to a large group of students interested in science data curation, in places such as cultural heritage institutions,”” Botticelli added.

    Recruiting data compiled at the IMLS shows “”that many applicants from small, rural, or specialized organizations, as well as members of culturally or ethnically underserved groups, are disproportionately unable to self-fund their own professional development, they said.””

    A grant was given to the UA by the same institution two years ago to establish the DigIn program and would have expired this month. With the current success of the school, a one-year extension is added to the initial grant along with a matching grant of $202,000. The added money brings the total amount to over $1 million for the SIRLS.

    SIRLS will be able to support up to 90 students, with full or partial scholarships, for the next three years, and Botticelli said that around 29 students have already enrolled for this coming Fall.

    DigIn and SIRLS at the UA are already nationally known, and this grant will allow more students to graduate the program with certificates. It will help expand SIRLS recruiting program, and “”recruitment efforts will target geographically, culturally, and ethnically diverse students, with the goal of diversifying the workforce of digital information management experts,”” the IMLS states.

    ‘We have a number of current students who work at the UA library. We have five now and we’re hoping to recruit more,”” Botticelli said.

    They also have about six others who work on campus in different units who are librarians, not UA students, and are currently active in the program, added Botticelli.

    “”I think it’s a good thing, because embracing newer technologies will increase our opportunities to obtain information from a greater number of sources,”” said Brandon Zuniga, a biochemistry sophomore.

    “”Whenever I start a research paper, the first thing I do is Google whatever the topic is, but now that anyone and everyone is posting their ideas online, it’s hard to know what is true and not,”” said Britt Haugland, a pre-business sophomore. “”With the librarians opening our eyes to new (and legitimately factual) information, we will no longer be slowed down trying to sort through what’s true and what’s false.””

    The program is a necessary one for a college campus, as students are using internet resources for academic work so often, said Matt Nobel, an economics junior.

    “”Books are great, but sometimes they just aren’t enough,”” Nobel said. “”I think it’s awesome our librarians are learning how to find new, but essential, sources of information for us.””

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