November 30, 2015

ARL Debuts Position Description Bank

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) launched a new Position Description Bank on February 1. The tool aggregates position descriptions from participating academic and research libraries, making them browsable and searchable.

The bank was developed and hosted by the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida.  Personnel officers from ARL member institutions participated via surveys, focus groups, and beta testing.

The bank, which is free to ARL libraries, isn’t just a sort of for the academic library world: in fact, right now it’s not even searchable by the average librarian in search of a promotion. Access to the bank is currently limited to each institution’s identified “lead.” (Leads will help identify or serve as institutional administrator, and can approve other users and assign rights to individuals at their institutions.)

What it does do is replace a “hit or miss” model of exchanging position descriptions via requests on email lists with “effective archiving and accession.” By preserving them, institutions will find it easier to access descriptions of previously vacant positions, which is particularly useful when positions change, new ones are developed, or existing ones eliminated. The bank will help individual libraries trace how the organization and definition of positions, functions, and services at their institution evolves over time, as well as enabling analysis of how the field as a whole is developing.

In addition to standard data fields available to all participants, individual libraries can use custom data fields, not viewable by other institutions, for internal management.

This article was featured in Library Journal's Academic Newswire enewsletter. Subscribe today to have more articles like this delivered to your inbox for free.

Meredith Schwartz About Meredith Schwartz

Meredith Schwartz ( is Executive Editor of Library Journal.

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