Information organization is the cornerstone of the information sciences profession. That cornerstone holds the bridge that allows for information access from the information environment. Information professionals create the bridge between information sciences and any and every discipline. To be useful, accessible, and retrievable, information needs to have organization. Information professionals strive to create invisible frameworks that allow users to access the information they need with little intervention in ordinary work and life. To create the invisible framework, the information professionals need to accurately identify the needs of both the data and of the users. Additionally, information professionals need to address any barriers to access that are linked to specific groups of people[i]. Information professionals also face the challenges of establishing trust, authenticity, and confidence in the information itself and the various channels for communicating the information.[ii]
Information professionals organize the data in their environment, create cross-walks between organizational systems, and maintain the environment. Information professionals bridge the gaps between data in its environment, and with the needs of people to access that data, as in the Database: Creating a database for APAC product.
Controlled vocabulary and natural language searching are examples of the bridging act between the needs of the data and the systems it is stored in against the needs of the user to create the best access. The most accurate and usable results of searching depend on plying both controlled vocabulary and natural language searching. Information professionals must reason their way through culture, disciplines, language, technical, and a host of other variables to best serve their users. Shifts in culture or shifts in language within the same culture can result in false drops or in material being missed. A specific example is the concept of nutrient management. Articles written previous to that phrase being utilized would be left out of a search without controlled vocabulary linking other phrases like feces, manure, or dung. This is one of the ways that information professionals organize information “behind the scenes” to create better access and appropriate environments for the data.
Maintaining the environment goes a long way to ensuring access. Much like the bridge, access depends on maintenance. If the supports are worn away, the bridge will be closed, which can terminate access. The same termination of access can happen with unsupported data, particularly with older digital formats as technological advances obsolesce both hardware and software, cutting off access to materials/information.
[i] LECKIE, GLORIA J. “Female Farmers and the Social Construction of Access to Agricultural Information.” Library & Information Science Research 18.4 (1996): 297–321. ScienceDirect. Web. 1 Dec. 2013.
[ii] Winter, Patricia L., and Heidi Bigler-Cole. “Information Needs, Acceptability of Risk, Trust, and Reliance: The Case of National Predictive Services Customers.” N. p., 2010. 397–407. Treesearch. Web. 13 Feb. 2013.