TASCHA has an outstanding opportunity for research assistants to contribute to the Research Roadmap for Strengthening the Library Field project. This one-year project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will gather, organize, and make accessible a repository of library research, data, evaluation, and best practices. The repository will provide a foundation for several subsequent projects and initiatives aimed at helping public libraries deliver innovative services and effectively advocate for libraries in their communities.
TASCHA will lead this project through four main activities:
- Research repository: gather research materials, develop an organizational structure and taxonomy, evaluate hosting options, and build and populate the repository.
- Analysis and publication: Using the research repository, gather data about research, evaluation, and measurement approaches and identify gaps in the literature and project information; write up process and results from analysis for a variety of research and policy audiences.
- Research guidelines: Develop a set of guidelines for research design, data collection, and data publication to enable more effective integration of future data collection in the library field; develop metrics, templates, and other tools for pilot programs and other research and evaluation activities carried out by librarians in the field.
- Prototype data platform: Prototype a platform that will provide the ability to find, use, understand, integrate, and display data collected through existing research efforts and efforts using new research guidelines. In partnership with several technology providers and significant data collectors in the field, demonstrate how data can be integrated to produce cross-dataset outputs.
The TASCHA RAs may contribute to these projects in several ways depending on their skills and interests. Generally, we are looking for one RA to have strong technology skills to work on developing the underlying technologies for this project, and one RA who has strong analytic and writing skills. Both positions require established communication skills, the ability to work in an environment of shifting priorities and tight timelines, and the desire to make an important intellectual contribution to the project goals. These positions will average 40 hours per week during the summer quarter; half-time positions may be considered. These positions will likely be extended through the 2015-2016 school year.
- Collect and organize library research, data, reports, and other research and evaluation materials
- Develop taxonomies, meta data schemas, and other tools to organize information
- Collect and analyze qualitative and quantitative data, including documents, survey data, interviews, and videos
- Develop reports and other written products for external and internal use
- Evaluate technology produces, create prototypes and system specifications, conduct usability testing
- Create and/or set up databases, websites, or other knowledge management technologies
- Perform background research and literature reviews as needed
- Make intellectual contributions to research projects through engaged discussion
Qualified graduate students (Masters or Ph.D.) who are enrolled in the Information School. Students from other departments with sufficient qualifications will also be considered for this position.
The successful applicants will have some experience with all or most of the following criteria:
- Documented experience with or serious interest in at least one of the following: public libraries; knowledge or data management; taxonomies or metadata schemas; research methodologies; evaluation, metrics, or standards.
- Exceptionally strong oral and written professional communication skills—writing and documentation will be a major aspect of this position
- Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications, especially Excel
- Strong organizational skills and positive work practices (i.e., take initiative, flexible with shifting priorities, and the ability to work collaboratively as part of a team)
- Ability to plan and carry out research tasks with minimal supervision
- Ability to plan and carry out requirements gathering and prototyping
- Ability to analyze qualitative and quantitative data
The successful applicants will complement the basic requirements with some of the following:
- Technical writing experience
- Experience managing projects or developing workflow processes
- Experience with database management or advanced Excel
- Experience with the following technologies:
- Developing APIs, cron jobs, and other cross-platform data calls
- Scripting, theming, and/or administering content management websites
- Previous experience with the public libraries, community technology, or development efforts
- Interest in or experience with digital inclusion
For more information and to apply, please visit the iSchool’s website.