ASIS&T Career Profile
Name:  J. Darcy Duke
Job Title:  Engineering Librarian for Technology-Based Services, MIT Barker Library
 
Brief Career Biography: 
I've always been interested in design and technology. I received a BS in design from the MIT Department of Architecture, with a strong core of classes in the sciences. While working on my MLS at Simmons College, I worked as the MIT Publications and Thesis Processing Supervisor, doing typical library processing work - this position gave me a lot of experience with the library catalog and how the data was structured and how typical library processes worked. My graduate classes were focused on database design and web technologies - this was in the early to mid-1990s, so it was an exciting time to see how the web was changing how libraries did some things and how other things stayed the same (for better or for worse). In my next position I was the MIT RetroSpective Collection Supervisor, where I worked on a contract cataloging project - this gave me a lot of project management and staff supervision experience. We had a very expensive and fancy new scanner for the project, so there was a lot of physical as well as virtual technology to play with. I then moved to the MIT Barker Library as the Mechanical Engineering Librarian, doing typical collection and departmental liaison work. Eventually I was able to change my job so that I spent 25% of my time helping the web manager for all the MIT Libraries on central web projects, and then finally gave up my liaison role to dedicate more of my time to integrating new technologies into services for the users and into our work processes to make our staff more efficient. Examples of projects I have worked on: creating RSS feeds for new books, redesigning library home pages, and implementing touch screen displays of new books. I still do a lot of general reference work, which I find informs my technology work invaluably - I truly never want to give up my public service work completely, since I get a perspective from that work which is hard to replicate.
 
Benefits of ASIS&T: 
Working on the program committee for the New England Chapter of ASIST (NEASIST) has allowed me to get involved locally, and develop programs that I want to attend myself! I have met some of the most interesting people in my field through these local events - both established professionals and current students who are just starting to enter into the field. SIG/STI (Scientific and Technical Information Systems) that I am involved in develops programs on the national level that are directly relevant to my work in the MIT engineering and science libraries.
 
Advice for New Information Professionals: 
Go to conferences and talk to as many people as you can. The information field is so broad and is attracting people with very diverse backgrounds - you will meet some very interesting people doing fascinating things. It's good to be involved locally too - a single person can have quite an impact on the programs that are run and how active the chapter is! Also, acquire all the technical skills you can - you can get by without them, but you will always be more valuable and self-sufficient with them.