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From Embedded Librarianship to Embedded Records Management by Lynne Bowker and César Villamizar

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CriteriaObservations from the literature and conversations with practitionersSteps taken to set up the embedded records manager pilot project
Support from the organization’s leadershipIn many reported success stories, embedding information professionals was seen as a strategy for strengthening the organization and offering an improved level of service. Greater success was seen when a client group leader facilitated the integration of the librarian into the group.The senior management team supported the concept and the embedded records manager meets them every other month to provide project updates.

The Vice-Dean acts as champion for the IM project and helped to integrate the embedded records manager.
LocationThough not essential, many successful embedded librarians are located in their client group, which facilitates interactions and community-building. The embedded records manager has a desk in the same pod as the other three members of the QA team.
FundingIn many success stories, the embedded librarian’s salary was paid by the client group, rather than by a central service.The embedded records manager position is fully funded by the FGPS.
Management and supervisionSupervision by a member of the client group, rather than by a library manager, was recommended for success.The embedded records manager reports to the Vice-Dean, who is also responsible for performance reviews.
Understanding the workSuccessful embedded librarians are reported to have developed a good understanding of the work of the client group. In some cases they also have additional qualifications in the discipline that is of primary concern to their client group. Some success stories report that embedded librarians engage in formal or informal continuing education activities to learn more about their client’s core business.The embedded records manager conducted a series of information-gathering interviews with members of the FGPS to learn about their jobs and IM needs.

The embedded records manager meets regularly with the QA team and has demonstrated an understanding of their work by helping them with tasks such as process mapping.

Much of the work carried out by the QA team is essentially project management, and the embedded records manager has a graduate qualification in management in addition to a Master of Information Studies degree. His experience with ALA accreditation was also helpful.

The embedded records manager has participated in workshops on aspects of university business offered by the University’s Centre for Organizational Development and Learning.
Participation in the client groups community, including developing shared goals and participating in their achievementBuilding a strong community that fully includes the embedded librarian as a partner member is consistently considered to be among the most important factors for success. Community-building can be both formal (e.g. meetings), but also informal (e.g. social bonding such as having lunch with team members, participating in team social events). The embedded records manager attends a weekly QA team meeting, as well as other meetings, such as the general staff meetings, where he receives a broader exposure to the overall business of the FGPS.

The embedded records manager participates regularly in informal and formal social events (e.g. coffee breaks and lunches with team members, holiday party).
Maintaining ties with the LIS communityA challenge observed in the literature was that as ties to clients strengthen, ties to other information professionals could weaken so conscious efforts must be made to maintain LIS ties.Several information professionals were included as external stakeholders in the project (e.g. University Archives, Office of the CIO, School of Information Studies).

The FGPS supported LIS-related professional development opportunities for the embedded records manager (e.g. ARMA conference).

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