Information Organization


Information Organization, Description, Analysis, and Retrieval — MLIS Career Pathway

Discovery depends on the organization and description of information resources. Work in this area requires understanding of existing and emerging shared standards, frameworks and principles for organization and description as well as systems such as library services platforms, discovery platforms, institutional repositories and digital library management systems.

Technology is essential to this career path, due to the wide range of technologies in use for creating, storing, and giving access to information resources. A thorough understanding of search and retrieval using a variety of technologies is essential. Work in this field requires a well-balanced understanding of information agencies such as the Library of Congress, organizations such as NISO and the World Wide Web Consortium. See the core competency report prepared by the professionals working in this field; and also the  and discussion of the SJSU curriculum to the specific skill sets looked for by employers in this area.

It also requires knowledge of the management of people and processes, and user perspectives and user experience as a framework for appropriate discovery. A critical understanding of user experience and the ethics of metadata creation is essential for this area of professional work.

This career pathway focuses on:

  • Discovery: Information seeking, evaluation, and use
  • The structure and indexing of information for discovery
  • The organization and description of information resources in all formats
  • Discovery systems and information retrieval tools and resources

    Employment Opportunities

    Students who concentrate in this field may work as:

    • Catalog and Metadata Librarians
    • Electronic Resource Librarians
    • Data Management Coordinators
    • Data Curation Librarians
    • Knowledge Management Analysts
    • Schema Architects
    • Taxonomists
    • Technical Services Directors
    • User Experience Architects
    • Information Architects
    • Vocabulary/Information Architecture Directors
    • Digital Content Managers
    • Search Analysts
    • Discovery Platform Coordinators
    • Linked Data Strategists
    • Content Strategists

    MLIS Skills at Work

    The MLIS Skills at Work includes important trends and data that are needed to prepare for career advancement within the information professions. The following information within the report relates directly to the information organization career path. However, slides #11 and #12 showcase/highlight the skills most valuable to employers.

    • See the MLIS Skills at Work report, slides #5 through #7 for more detailed information about hiring trends and slide #10 for representative job titles
    • See also slide #20 to view sample job titles, job duties, job skills, and technology/standards for Cataloging and Metadata

    Core Theory and Knowledge

    • Understand the evolution and current environment of standards used for organizing and describing information
    • Appreciate organizational service environments and communities of practice for resource discovery
    • Understand user experience, the search process, and how information architecture affects search strategy
    • Understand vocabulary, user experience, and information needs both inside and outside information organizations
    • Appreciate the evolution of technology, current information technology capabilities and options, and explore new and innovative uses of technology for searching, web navigation, and resource discovery
    • Understand the evolution of the World Wide Web and its semantic web technologies using various applications of linked data
    • Understand the development and practice of data transformation between different metadata standards
    • Maintain a broad perspective on discovery and information organization
    • Understand project planning and management, including the needs of stakeholders

    MLIS Requirements

    The MLIS program requires 43 units for graduation. Within those units, six courses (16 units) are required of all MLIS students and must be taken as part of all career pathways: INFO 203, INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204, INFO 285, and either INFO 289 or INFO 299. Beyond those six courses, a student is free to select electives reflecting individual interests and aspirations. 

    If you are interested in this career pathway, you may choose to select from the foundation or recommended course electives listed below. Foundation courses form the foundational knowledge and skills for this pathway. If you can only select a few electives, then choose from the foundation courses. The recommended courses are very relevant, but not as foundational to this career pathway.

    The career pathway described here is provided solely for advising purposes. No special designation appears on your transcript or diploma. All students get an MLIS degree.

    Faculty pathway advisors are available to help guide you and answer questions about planning a career in their area of expertise. Learn more about faculty pathway advisors.

    Recommended Coursework

    Required Courses:

    Note: For this career path INFO 202 is the most important course. If you are not comfortable with the material and format of INFO 202, then this is not the career for you.

    Foundation Courses:

    * if you can only select one or two classes from this pathway these are ranked highly by the Knowledge Organization Program Advisory Committee.

    ** if you can only select one or two classes from this pathway these are ranked of medium importance by the Knowledge Organization Program Advisory Committee.

    Recommended Courses:

    In support of this career pathway also check out Core Competencies for Cataloging and Metadata Professional Librarians. All the competencies are met by the following combination of classes:

    Effective leadership and management (of people and information) is critically important for all types of work environments and clients.

    We recommend that students consider also selecting some courses from the Leadership and Management career path to complement or supplement core skills in other areas.

    Learn More

    • Learn more about this career pathway, including insight from faculty experts, in an iStudent Blog post about the Information Organization Career Pathway.
    • Read Community Profiles of students and alumni pursuing this career pathway.
    • Browse presentations by professionals working in the field.
    • Search the Alumni Career Spotlights for alumni working in this field. Consider contacting alumni for an informational interview.