From the Medical Library Association
The recognized expert performs a search that is the combined and synergistic application of the following key skills and knowledge:
- ability to accurately identify an information need and refine the need and retrieval requirements as need be;
- subject domain knowledge and sensitivity to the professional information within the domain to place an information need in the context of a discipline or practice;
- ability to perceive the implications of the information need through relevant institutional knowledge and placement of a request in the context and mission of the institution;
- ability to identify and search resources beyond the electronically available published literature, including the older published literature, gray literature, unpublished information, and Web documents;
- ability to recognize personal searcher limitations related to subject domain or resource specificity as well as the limitations of available institutional resources;
- knowledge of database subject content, indexing or metadata conventions, and online record format to determine relevance to the information need and the method of retrieval access;
- expert knowledge of retrieval system interfaces to determine appropriateness of one interface over another;
- expert application of retrieval system logical, positional, and weighting capabilities;
- ability to be mindful and reflective; to think about and observe what is being retrieved through the use of an iterative and heuristic search process for discovery of relevant evidence;
- ability to use both deductive and inductive reasoning combined with subject domain knowledge to respond to a desired outcome, not necessarily to a literal request;
- ability to efficiently and effectively evaluate retrieved evidence to determine closeness of fit to requestor's recall and precision requirements, expectations, or subject domain familiarity;
- ability to expertly process retrieval for results presentation through removal of irrelevant material from search results, application of data mining techniques to identify themes and gaps in retrieved information, and performance of other editing procedures aimed at optimizing and economizing the subsequent work by the end user; and
- ability to effectively document the search process for end-user information or retention for legal purposes.
- Adopted September 4, 2003.