SKIP project: Interview questions

Senior management

Cultural and organisational issues pertaining to the networked information environment

  1. Does this institution have an Information Strategy or are there plans to produce one?
  2. Given the level of provision of electronic & networked information resources in your institution can you identify any cultural or professional barriers to their effective exploitation?
  3. How might these barriers be overcome?
  4. Can you identify ways in which your current organisational structure or operating methods might need to be changed in order to deliver and support electronic and networked information resources more effectively?


Describe how recent or current restructuring will impact on the delivery of Information Services.

5. How would you describe the current working relationship between Information Services and Computing Services? Do you see this changing as networked information resources become more widely used?

6. How would you describe the current working relationship between

Information Services and schools/faculties? Do you see this changing in the future?

Staffing issues:

Existing staff

7. Are some roles or functions in Information Services fundamentally changing? What are they and how are they changing?

8. Are all existing Information Services staff, irrespective of current job or grade, expected to have specific IT skills? Have these skills been defined?

9. Do you currently have any member of staff who you might consider to be multiskilled - i.e. a ‘hybrid’ person with well developed IT and information skills.

10. Is training in the use of IT and networked & electronic information resources provided by the institution? How is this delivered and by whom?

11. Is Continuing Professional Development promoted within Information Services? Do you see this as an effective method of ensuring staff keep up to date with changes and innovations in IT?

12. Do you see the adoption of S/NVQs as a way forward for staff development?

New staff/posts

13. i] Have any new posts been created in response to the growth in demand for networked & electronic information resources, or are there plans to create new IT related posts?

ii] Where these are temporary are there plans to embed the work into existing permanent posts in the future?

Or: Where details of new posts have been provided:

iii] What were the reasons for creating these new posts? Are there plans to permanently embed these tasks into the existing staffing structure?

14. Have you experienced problems recruiting staff with appropriate IT skills? How was this resolved?

15. Would a candidate with appropriate IT skills and no ‘library’ qualification be considered for appointment?

Subject/Schools Liaison Librarians/Faculty Team Leaders/Systems Librarians

  1. How long have you been in your current post?
  2. What do you perceive your current role or function within the library to be?
  3. Has this role or function changed in the time you have been in post?
  4. Do you feel that your skills and knowledge base are in line with the current and future requirements of your job?
  5. Do you feel that your technical/IT expertise is as well developed as your subject expertise?
  6. Are there areas of your work which you feel might benefit from in depth technical know-how e.g. hardware or software expertise?
  7. How did you acquire your current IT skills, and how do you keep up-to-date?
  8. Can you identify any additional skills or training in IT and/or the use of networked & electronic information resources which might be of benefit to you.
  9. Do you feel that your traditional library skills can be adapted to deal with the requirements of new technology and electronic information resources?
  10. Can you identify areas of your work or specific tasks which overlap with the work of computing services staff?
  11. To what extent do you co-operate with computer services staff to ensure that any duplication is minimised.
  12. Do you believe that it is possible for staff to be ‘hybrids’ i.e. people who are proficient in both information and technology? Is there a natural division between ‘library’ staff and ‘computing’ staff?
  13. How do you perceive your role and work evolving in the future.

New post holders

1. Can you explain the background to the establishment of your post and your role in the organisation?

2. If the post is fixed term do you know what the future plans are for integrating the work into the existing structure?

3. What qualifications and experience do you have to do the job? Do they differ from those specified in the job advertisement?

4. How did you acquire the specialist IT skills which you have?

5. Are there areas of IT where you feel you need more training or experience?

6. Do you consider yourself to be a ‘hybrid’ member of staff i.e. someone who is equally competent in both IT and Information resources?

7. Do you have expertise in accessing, and helping other to access, networked and electronic information resources?

8. Does your work involve liaison, co-operation, or working with other members of staff

Assistant Librarians/Junior professionals

  1. How long have you been in your current post?
  2. What type of qualification do you have? Where and when was your course undertaken?
  3. Do you feel that the course has provided you with adequate/appropriate practical IT and networking skills to do your current job?
  4. What topics do you feel were either poorly covered or absent from the curriculum?
  5. How did you acquire the IT skills needed to do your job?
  6. Can you identify areas where you would benefit from additional training in IT and the use of networked & electronic information resources?
  7. Is the work you are doing in line with your expectations of professional information work? What attracted you to this type of work?
  8. Does your work require both subject knowledge and IT expertise in equal parts?
  9. Does your work involve co-operation or liaison with staff from the computing department? Are there any tasks which overlap or areas where effort is duplicated?
  10. Do you feel that some of the tasks you perform should more appropriately be the province of the computing department, or that some tasks would benefit from being undertaken by staff with a computing background?
  11. Are there any tasks which you currently carry out which could be taken over by support staff/library assistants if they received appropriate training?
  12. How do you see your job or role evolving in the future?

Library Assistants/Senior Library Assistants (group interview)

General topics for discussion

  1. Are your roles and tasks changing? How?
  2. How confident do you feel working with IT and electronic information resources?
  3. Do you feel adequately trained and knowledgeable when advising and helping users to access information via computers?
  4. What skills do you feel you need to do this effectively?
  5. Do you think that training in specific areas of computer use would help?
  6. What other methods of gaining IT skills and experience do you feel might be useful?
  7. Do you feel that there is an overlap between your work and that of professional library staff, or computing services staff?
  8. Do you see the job changing in the future? In what way?
  9. How might the prospects for progression within Information Services be improved?

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The Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib) was funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
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