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Technical skills for new digital librarians

Library Hi Tech News

ISSN: 0741-9058

Article publication date: 18 October 2011




As libraries, museums, and research institutions continue to work on historical digital collections for their digital repositories, there is always a need to either hire or train digital librarians and they are expected to bring or learn a set of technical skills that can help these institutions keep up with the current trends of web technology. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the current technical skills being sought for digital librarian positions, as well as provide a basic exploration of the list of technical courses offered by major library school programs in 2010.


A twofold data collection methodology was developed that compared the required and desired technical skills as expressed in 43 positions announcements from January to December 2010 and the technical courses offered in 2010 at selected library programs listed on the top schools, as identified by the 2009 US News and World Report ranking. A common set of categories was developed to account for variations in wording and specific implementations of a technology.


This study reveals that current students and practicing librarians need to seek out additional non‐curricular opportunities to build competency in the technical areas represented in the study. Fortunately, the areas where the greatest disparity exists are also areas where significant opportunities for independent learning are available.


This paper can be useful for library students or practicing librarians who are interested in acquiring new technical skills. The results can also help library administrators when hiring new librarians for digital and technical departments.



Tzoc, E. and Millard, J. (2011), "Technical skills for new digital librarians", Library Hi Tech News, Vol. 28 No. 8, pp. 11-15.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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