What are the essential knowledge, skills and attributes of an information professional in a Web 2.0 world?
Web 2.0 has changed the way we as professionals perceive ourselves, because our technological world has changed and is constantly changing. The most important attribute of an informational professional must be to have a willingness to allow their attitudes, ways of thinking and doing to change. It is also essential that they desire to be involved in lifelong learning (Partridge, H., Lee, J., & Munro, C. 2010).
A skill of the information professional is to pass these desires and attitudes on to their library users. They must be involved with their learners, who desire a “deeper user experience” (Abram , 2007). The information professional must facilitate the interaction between new technologies and their clients as Web 2.0 technologies are about interaction with people, both in our libraries, but also our communities, our online communities and networks which can span the globe. An information professional also needs the skills to effectively communicate their knowledge with students, colleagues and management to both teach and espouse the need for particular resources and programs. They cannot switch off from their job when they leave the physical workspace; they must be keen to explore new ideas both personally and to use in their profession.
The essential knowledge needed from an information professional is an understanding of the new and emerging technologies that are available, from wikis, RSS, social networking, instant messaging, bookmarking, blogs podcasts, folksonomies and tagging being the tip of the iceberg. Abram suggests they are the guru of the information age. An information professional must remain abreast of new technologies, embrace them, be willing to learn and discover how these new technologies can serve the users of their library and then connect people to the appropriate technology to meet their needs (Abram, 2007; Harvey, 2009).
The information professional is a leader, knowing the path ahead and how they will get there. They are a team player and work to build relationships in which to share and network both in the work environment and further afield, even globally. The information professional in the Web 2.0 world “connects people, technology and information in context” (Abram, 2007). They are able to find the “right” technology (Fudrow J. 2007) for the right people. They are willing to try, fail, experiment and lead others in the new and emerging technologies that are, and will present themselves as we travel this new and exciting road called Web 2.0 and beyond.