Competency H

Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies.

Competency Definition

The continuous stream of technological advances has impacted how people access, consume, and create information, redefined what it means to communicate, and impacted how information professionals and their organizations view themselves, the profession, and the ways in how they serve their communities. Information professionals are re-establishing themselves as providers of technological access in their communities, integrating various information and communication technologies (ICT) into their services, designing creative spaces for study and exploration, and assisting their users in learning how to use these technologies to address their information needs (Hirsh, 2015). Ongoing trends in other sectors such as business and education have implications for information organizations, in the use of new technologies, the content that comprises their collections, and the delivery and accessibility of these materials (Breeding, 2015). Yet many organizations are (rightfully) conservative when seeking to integrate new technologies. They may “test-drive” new technologies and applications in controlled situations like pilot tests in small groups and establish “innovation labs” for the wider community, allowing both the organization and its users to try out new technology products that may or may not become mainstream (Breeding, 2015). From the rise of relevant tools for information organizations such as mobile apps, coding initiatives, learning management systems, and forward-thinking tools and applications like augmented reality, virtual reality, makerspaces, usage analytics, and data collection, information professionals need to take the time to understand what technological proficiency means to them personally and in relation to the information organizations that they serve.

This process of defining technological proficiency must include the realization that “information, information need, and information use are no longer bound to physical space or time” (Hirsh, 2015, p.4). Technological proficiency for the information professional goes beyond the traditional librarian skillset of cataloging and metadata, digitization and preservation, instruction and reference to involve specialized information technology skills such as network and database management, website development, statistical analysis, and technical and reference support for all kinds of patrons (in-person, virtual, distance). The notion of information professionals developing new skillsets is not new, in the sense that librarians and libraries have been historical advocates for information access and providers of public, inclusive spaces for experimentation and use of various technological tools (Stephens, 2015). Because of the increasingly fluid nature of information access, creation, and consumption in relation to a growing array of communication methods, information professionals and their organizations are in a unique and viable position to facilitate connections between information and the users in their communities. This connectivity can generate and demonstrate value for the information organization in being “welcoming, open, and participatory,” working with users’ input and creativity towards what Stephens (2015) calls a “hyperlinked library model” of service. Today’s information professionals engage in careful trend spotting and apply a unique lens of librarianship and informed understanding of the societal and cultural impact of emerging technologies in order to develop new ways to connect users with information effectively (Stephens, 2015). Having specialized technological skills that go beyond traditional librarianship only helps further facilitate the hyperlinked quality of today’s information access. In essence, this means that the information professional becomes a “one-stop resource” in providing access to relevant learning resources and an environment to explore and play to learn about new technologies, giving information and technical literacy instruction, and evaluating emerging technologies critically to strengthen workflows at individual and organizational levels (Hirsh, 2015), all grounded in the mission and strategic goals of the organization (Stephens, 2015).

As an aspiring information professional and even prior to starting my MLIS degree, I already engage in the process of discovering, using, and evaluating new technologies. As I navigate online to seek out new information regarding new mobile apps, software applications, games, and new devices, I evaluate technology and apps for personal purposes. Throughout my courses, I have done my best to translate and formalize my thought processes in ways fit for academic discussion. I also bring my organizational and presentation skills in discussion of various ICT, helping me to structure my thought processes in evaluation and potential, relevant application of those ICT in specific contexts. I have demonstrated this through applying the basics of HTML and CSS coding in INFO 240: Information Technology Tools and Applications, and in evaluation of ICT in relation to social media for INFO 246: Web 2.0 and Social Media (an advanced topic in Information Technology Tools and Applications). Technological proficiency then means that I, as an aspiring information professional, am open to the process of discovery and learning about new ICT and applications, know how to handle basic technical troubleshooting (and if not, communicate these issues effectively to professionals that do know how to handle these issues), and have the ability to teach these skills to others.

Discussion of Competency Supporting Evidence

With the explosion and continued proliferation of social media giants Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, among others, social media is a viable means for information professionals to connect their organization with its users in meaningful ways. INFO 246 is a timely type of course that explores various these social media tools in the context of evaluating what they can offer to an information organization. The course also provided practical, hands-on lessons and insight into how one can evaluate and plan for the use of social media in strategic ways. Throughout the course course, I engaged with my peers posting relevant posts that discussed the week’s social media topics on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, working within the limits of these applications (e.g., Twitter’s 140 character limit, Pinterest’s need for a striking visual when creating pins on a shared board), and gaining insight into how social media is being used in libraries and other kinds of information organizations around the world, as well as in relation to current topics such as privacy, education, and big data concerns. I also created one-minute audio responses on VoiceThread and interacted with my peers with audio responses as well. It was in this course’s context that I tested and evaluated a particular ICT for the purposes of potential implementation in a library setting.

For this project, I had to use a Web 2.0 tool or social media application that I had not used previously and discuss the pros and cons that I observed when using that tool or application in a Prezi presentation with voiceover commentary. I also had to contextualize use of this tool/application in application for a specific library setting. With my budding interest in screencasting, the process of recording what is shown on one’s computer screen in an instructional context, I decided to look for a recently released screencasting app. Before this project, I had experience with the free screencasting software Jing, Screencast-o-matic, and FlashBack Express across various courses. [See the evidentiary items in Competency I for an example.] I experienced various limitations from these programs, yet these helped inform my evaluation process of Loom and its potential use in the context of a community college library setting.

I found the free Chrome browser extension Loom on the Google Play App Store as one of its featured, new extensions. As a Chrome-browser-only extension, Loom allows for two kinds of screencast recording: recording activity within a Chrome tab and activity on one’s computer desktop, including audio and face camera recording in the process. I then condensed my prior experiences at screencasting software into this chart below, which I also discussed in my Prezi evaluation of Loom.

Comparison chart of screencasting software I have used throughout my coursework.

I compared and contrasted various features across these screencasting apps from the perspective of a user who wants easy-to-use, free screencasting applications, discussing considerations for recording time, video file output, and features available. For instance, I described how I liked that Loom was free and had a clean-looking user interface, but it required an account signup. It also has a referral model in order to unlock all of the current “Power Features” of unlimited video recording and unlimited recording time – without these referrals, one has a 10 minute recording limit, and an undisclosed small amount of videos that can be saved to your account (undisclosed in the sense that it is not currently obvious how many videos a user can store based on available Loom help documentation; one could also pay a subscription fee to unlock these features automatically). I then concluded my presentation with some best practices for Loom use, in the context of how Loom could be a cost-effective tool for a community college library in developing screencast instructional videos to supplement existing LibGuides and re-record the content of older looking videos.

Being cognizant and open to discovering emerging apps and having a critical eye to features that can be used in cost-effective instructional strategies is integral for information professionals developing their technological proficiency. This has been a key aspect in my own process of experimenting with and evaluating tools and apps as well. Being able to demonstrate this ability by communicating important takeaways in a visually organized and succinct manner also shows information professionals’ grasp of using a particular app or social media tool, which contributes to how they can utilize that app or tool effectively for their information organization’s purposes and services to their communities.

Evidence 2: INFO 240 AAU site

[Not an active, accessible site now. See archived recording here.]

This functional website was the culminating project of all of the lessons learned throughout the semester of INFO 240 learning about the basics of web coding. It built upon the techniques that I gained for coding markup of text and other elements in HTML and styling that content with CSS, integrating with other introductory lessons in using JavaScript to run scripts on pages, PHP to generate includes (to make small bits of content appear on every page across a site, making global changes easier to deploy), and XML to create data (to complement HTML markup). The requirement for the final project was to use “real, presentable content” and present it in a way that looked passable for a real, functional website using PHP pages, building upon HTML.

For the site’s actual content, I reasoned that since I was working as a transcript data entry specialist for the Office of the Registrar at a private arts university in the Bay Area at the time of taking the course, I would generate my own functional proof-of-concept website that had more relevant features than what is currently on the school’s webpage for the registrar’s office. [See Competency G for more about this work experience.] I created the site with the purpose of making the content of my workflows more transparent and applicable based on all of the frequently asked general questions that I received from various parties while in my position (students, parents, admissions representatives, co-workers). I used real content, such as publicly available office phone numbers and relevant transcript and registration information that is available on the actual registrar’s webpage within the main university website. I structured it in a way that provided easy, sensible access to relevant information for students and university employees.

On the site itself, there are various tabs for information regarding registrar services, transcript requirements, registrar-related news items, and a contact form for questions. The home page has a summary of services offered by the registrar office, ranging from transcript ordering to enrollment verifications, as well as information for prospective students to the university about how to submit transcripts for registration and for current students and alumni about how to order transcripts. Additionally, as stated on the “About” page of the website, I created this "functionally updated, proof of concept" registrar site to host online versions of the paper forms used to request registrar services (something that had not been implemented during the time that I was working there), as well as present a published knowledge database of various transcript policies for undergraduate and graduate admission into the university’s various programs. The online forms would facilitate filling out, signing, and submitting such commonly requested registrar services. The working database would be an initial effort towards transparency regarding existing review workflows, so Admissions department representatives and Student Services know what the registrar’s office is looking for regarding specific transcript requirements at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In summary, the goal of creating such as site, even for mock purposes, was to facilitate a greater and wider degree of communication between the registrar and the university’s students, as well as generate transparency towards collaboration between the registrar and other departments such as Student Services and Admissions, all in demonstration of my developing coding ability.

In the process of building this site, I learned important lessons in beta testing and troubleshooting my own work. Early on in INFO 240, I was introduced to the freely available local server program XAMPP. This program creates a local server host environment that allows users to test their web content, to try out new bits of code and troubleshoot issues before making the pages live on a web server. I used XAMPP to test all of my .html and .php files locally to ensure that they would function well. Though the setup of the program itself was relatively tricky at first, I was able to overcome this setup hurdle in order to make my webpage development processes more streamlined. Additionally, I use the browser extension Web Developer, first introduced to me in INFO 240, to help troubleshoot my HTML and CSS pages. Web design and development has standards which are established and updated by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This extension allows me to test my code against the W3C standards, to ensure that my HTML content and CSS styling aligns with those rules to ensure that the content as I created it shows up properly across all web browsers.

In addition to the fact that this project showcases my ability to develop and deploy a website, this site also builds upon what I learned in INFO 202: Information Retrieval System Design in regards to creating a conceptually sensible site layout. [For more about these particular lessons, see Competency G.] Organization is integral to website development, in terms of the backend organization of the site as well as the visual organization from the user end. At the backend, this involves creating subdirectories for all of a site’s elements, CSS stylesheets, PHP includes, and images, so that the site developer can link appropriate content across the site’s pages easily. At the front end for the user, it is important that content appears consistently across a variety of screen sizes and computers, from desktops to laptops, tablets, to mobile devices. As information access is increasingly conducted from mobile devices, it is necessary that websites incorporate the concept of responsive web design (RWD). RWD ensures that web pages will show up properly and look presentable on all devices and device sizes. Because it only uses HTML and CSS, there is no scripting required (e.g., JavaScript), making it more user friendly to novice coders and more deployable across all website contexts. The essential use of RWD is to ensure that web pages do not leave out information to fit smaller devices, but rather to adapt the site content to fit on the device (, 2017). Though it may not look clean and polished like many professional websites (due to time constraints), I used RWD principles to make sure that my registrar’s office website is mobile friendly and that content and various links are not taken away from users who access it on mobile.

Future Directions

Technological proficiency for today’s information professional is a necessity. It is also highly contextual, dependent on various needs of the organization and its users. Learning how to evaluate emerging ICT effectively is a skill that can be cultivated alongside more technical expertise such as web coding and troubleshooting. To stay connected and relevant to their users, information professionals and organizations need to be open to the discovery and participatory nature of today’s hyperlinked technological environment and have a critical eye to features that can be used in developing new services. This evaluative stance on ICT allows an information professional to become well-versed in predicting the flow of technological advance in order to stay relevant well into the future. Additionally, technical skills such as HTML and CSS coding can help information professionals collaborate with other professionals in information-technology fields in complex tasks such as developing and managing web sites, databases, and mobile apps, or even in simple troubleshooting, from an ability to ask and phrase questions well based on experience.

From these projects to generate these evidentiary items, I used the same principles and techniques from INFO 240 in the creation of this e-portfolio site. The core of my [former] e-portfolio site’s structure and style is based on the freely available W3School’s RWD templates. I also learned how to troubleshoot basic issues because I now know how to read code better than I had before taking the course. Using forums like Stack Overflow [] and other sites that can appear with quick Google searches, I at least know what I am looking for to solve my minor coding issues, understanding the semantics of posted code that others have made in solving others’ coding problems similar to my own. I do not see myself as a full-time coder moving forward, but I see myself using the logic of coding principles in everyday situations. I can add HTML and CSS basic troubleshooting to my list of technical skills, and hopefully add Python, JavaScript, and other relevant script coding languages someday. And with the process of evaluating ICT such as Loom in relation to my prior knowledge of other free screencasting software, I know how to organize succinct descriptions and presentations of relevant tools and applications, towards teaching users how to use such tools and applications and demonstrating their value to my future administrators to implement them in new or existing services.

The combination of information access and user agency to use and explore that information is the hallmark for successful, forward-thinking information organizations (Hirsh, 2015). Participation in the ongoing evolution of ICT and other technological applications also contributes to the formation of knowledge networks that facilitate discovery and interaction, as technology and access to that technology becomes increasingly hyperlinked (Stephens, 2015). Today’s technological tools then must be seen as “interim steps” and not “final solutions” in the ongoing process of information professionals leveraging emerging technologies to support their work in serving their organizations and communities (Breeding, 2015).


Breeding, M. (2015). Managing technology. In S. Hirsh (Ed.), Information services today: An introduction (pp. 250-261). Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Hirsh, S. (2015). The transformative information landscape: What it means to be an information professional today. In S. Hirsh (Ed.), Information services today: An introduction (pp. 3-9). Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Stephens, M. (2015). Hyperlinked libraries. In S. Hirsh (Ed.), Information services today: An introduction (pp. 184-191). Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. (2017). Responsive web design – introduction. Retrieved from