ALA finally hiring Usability Officer

You can get 75K plus decent benefits to be a usability officer at ALA. They say “senior” but to the best of my knowledge there aren’t any other usability officers there currently. I’m not sure where officer actually comes from, maybe some ALA-er can explain? In any case, if I were the Usability Officer after I changed the job listings to not spell Website with a capital W, I would ask very specifically what this requirement in the ad means.

The ability to work in a team environment and between two universes of Information Technology and Librarianship is essential in order to maintain an outcome-oriented, global vision.

I’m curious why those are deemed to be two universes instead of, say, two moons orbiting around one big planet of helping people do the things they want to do and go where they want to go. I’m sure Jenny is asking the same questions. I hope they find someone, but I wonder what affect that person will be able to have on the in-process-for-many-years-already website redesign?

7 Responses to “ALA finally hiring Usability Officer”

  1. sharon Says:

    I had no idea there were so many schools bestowing a Master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction.

  2. dsa Says:

    Oh my dog, I pay dues to this organization? Yet another occasion to wonder why I do so …

    Really, there are so many things wrong with that job posting, it’s hard to know where to begin. I am, however, a total stickler about spelling Website with that lovely capital W. To further nitpick the ALA, I would point out that later in the same ad they say, “… web site design, web-based usability …” It’s either w or W, but, for heaven’s sake, pick one or the other and ride that horse. The copy in this ad is abominable.

    On a more serious level, calling information technology and librarianship (why these are capitalized in the ad begs explanation) two universes just perpetuates several negative stereotypes, and is so out of touch with reality. Sigh.

  3. Scot Colford Says:

    Two *uni*verses? Oy, I do hope whoever wrote that is kicking him/herself. I’m telling Grammar Girl on them.

  4. Jenny Levine Says:

    I can’t say much about this ad, other than that for me it was far more important to get the damn thing out there than anything else. It’s a lovely starting point for applicants to discuss things they would change. ;-) I’m having to learn to let the whole W/ebsite and e-mail (don’t get me started) thing go, at least for now. Ommmmmmmm….

    In the Web Editorial Board (WEB) meetings, I’ve been very vocal that we need to instill real authority in this position, so my hope is that this person will have *a lot* of impact by being able to just “make it so.” We need a strong person, but I’m also ready to put every ounce of support and clout I have behind them, as is everyone else on the WEB (little web, too!).

    I think we can all agree that despite the ad’s flaws, this is a “Martha Stewart good thing.” An honest-to-gosh usability company is designing the new home page and navigation (the last iteration before implementation begins will be available during midwinter), and this person will only enhance that work. There is still plenty of time for them to have input into the process, especially during implementation, where it will be more valuable anyway. Where they’ll be really valuable, though, is with all of the day-to-day, web-based services that fail so miserably because of poor language, lack of clear instructions, and obtuse processes.

    No doubt this person is in for a long haul (so I was glad to see a decent salary attached), but there are certainly a lot of us chomping at the bit to help and support them. This is very much a positive thing. People have [rightly] been screaming about this for so long and now ALA’s leadership is finally doing something about it, so I have to give them credit for this, even if it did take longer than it should have. This is *exactly* the kind of thing I as a member want my dues to go towards.

    Oh, and we’re adding “or in a related field” to the HCI requirement, so that should appear on the ad soon.

  5. david lee king Says:

    I think they are calling “two universes” becasue at ALA, it IS two universes. Much like many libraries – IT and non-IT are in two very separate worlds, and they rarely seem to work together.

    Or to answer Jessamyn’s question about “why those are deemed to be two universes” – it’s because they were allowed to do that. The “big boss person” simply needs to say “enough! IT won’t drive us anymore – instead, we’ll drive IT.”

  6. effing Says:

    is that a metaphor? if so, they been mixed. it’s been so long since I had to remember that stuff. so they can have two universes but they want to pack them into one global vision? so you’re encouraged to ignore 99.999% of those universes and focus on one globe? just acknowledging that information technology and librarianship are separate universes should be enough to cause a rift that brings golden age Flash into the same comic panel as silver age Flash; and you know what happened then? no? oh, too nerdy for you? well, it was bad.

  7. thorn Says:

    ‘Officer’ always sounds good, I think. I hope it means something. I hope it means that the incumbent will have the *authority to bring about*, as well as responsibility for, usability. But it probably doesn’t.

    Re. ‘universes’. As if it weren’t enough that our own professional organization’s Website sucks; now I see that it has no idea what we do. Makes me want to reconsider membership. ‘Cept that *you-all* are so darn cool.