Even though I did not attend the conference, I have had this same conversation many times with people trying to describe what I do. Systems Specialist (my actual job title) I also think is appropriate for the job many of us do, but is highly confusing (even to some of the staff I work with). System Developer I think fits for some when working with a multitude of systems within a library and is easier to understand. My favorite though is just Library IT - to me it is simple, all-encompassing, and because I do not have an MLIS(or similar) degree I do not run the risk of snubbing actual Librarians by calling myself one.
One of the problems I think that technology staff in a library face, as far as a title or descriptor goes, is that having a technology degree really does not confer meaningful titles unless you are working with something specific - you *can* be a "programmer" or a "developer" or even more specific a "web developer" but when you work with a mix of things like web programming, administrating and supporting an ILS system, general technical support, and project manager you get more into general technologist territory, and there really in my opinion anyway, no single way to describe that.
Sorry if this was tl;dr - I went on a bit of a ramble and couldn't stop myself :)
David M. South
Library Systems Specialist
Western University of Health Sciences
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From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Maccabee Levine
Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 4:23 PM
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Subject: [CODE4LIB] You *are* a coder. So what am I?
Andromeda's talk this afternoon really struck a chord, as I shared with her afterwards, because I have the same issue from the other side of the fence.
I'm among the 1/3 of the crowd today with a CS degree and and IT background (and no MLS). I've worked in libraries for years, but when I have a point to make about how technology can benefit instruction or reference or collection development, I generally preface it with "I'm not a librarian, but...". I shouldn't have to be defensive about that.
Problem is, 'coder' doesn't imply a particular degree -- just the experience from doing the task, and as Andromeda said, she and most C4Lers definitely are coders. But 'librarian' *does* imply MLS/MSLS/etc., and I respect that.
What's a library word I can use in the same way as coder?
Head of Library Technology Services
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
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