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More Information on Internships Abroad -- Deadlines, etc

If you are interested in an internship abroad, I suggest that you meet with Bill Nolting of the UM International Center. His contact information can be found at the bottom of this posting. Below you will find information from Bill on international internship deadlines, etc. -Kelly

It may seem early to think about what you'll be doing next summer or next year, but if you're interested in working abroad, many of the best programs have application deadlines just around the corner!

More than 800 U-M students & recent graduates work abroad each year, and many of them participate in the following programs. I'm listing these in two categories: options for short-term (summer / semester) internships, and longer-term options for those who will be graduating or have graduated.

Feel free to let me know if you have questions about any of the programs listed here -- or about other options if you don't see what you're looking for here.


CDS EMGIP parliamentary internships in GERMANY
Nov. 30 for Spring 2008 or Jan. 11 for Summer 2008
U-M contact: Peggy Wunderwald-Jensen, pwjensen@umich.edu or tel.

Dec. 1 -- http://www.cdsintl.org/cbyx/cbyxfromusa.htm
Applications must be received by CDS in New York, NY by this date!
U-M contact: Peggy Wunderwald-Jensen, pwjensen@umich.edu or tel.

Dec. 3 -- CDS-UM Summer 2008 internships in GERMANY, http://www.cdsintl.org/fromusa/umich.htm
Citizens of *all* countries are eligible. Most positions are paid.
Program is affiliated with U-M's German Department.

CDS also offers unpaid summer internships in SPAIN (apply by Jan. 18) and ARGENTINA (apply by Jan. 31). U-M contact: Peggy Wunderwald-Jensen, pwjensen@umich.edu or phone 615-6336. She will hold extra office hours in MLB 3416 this week to meet with applicants: Tuesday 12-3PM, Wednesday 1-3PM and Friday 1-4 PM.

Apply in December, or no later than Jan 1. -- IAESTE offers paid overseas internships in 80+ countries for students in ENGINEERING, SCIENCES & ARCHITECTURE. Citizens of *all* countries are eligible. Be sure to join U-M's IAESTE student chapter before you apply, to save on fees! IAESTE application page is:

Apply now -- Internships in FRANCE through U-M's French Department -- contact Rachel Criso at rcriso@umich.edu.

No deadline, BUNAC Work Abroad Programs in BRITAIN, IRELAND, CANADA, AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND. Note that if you graduated in May, you'll need to start the program in Britain, Ireland or Canada by December 31. The Australia program is open to students & non-students up to age 30 (same for New Zealand, but age limit is 35).

See our article on short-term paid work abroad at:

BUNAC's website is http://www.bunac.org


Dec. 1 -- CDS Congress-Bundestag Program in Germany (see above)

Dec. 3 -- Japan Teaching & Exchange (JET) Program, for academic year
2008-09 (deadline for receipt of hard-copy application & all supporting documents in Washington, DC). Placements as English Teaching Assistants
(ALT) or Coordinators of International Relations (CIR). Japanese Government program. Positions are well-paid and there are no fees. See our article with tips for applying at:

The JET Program's website is:

Dec. 3 -- Princeton-in-Asia, for academic year 2008-09. Program offers placements in 13 Asian countries for a) Teaching English or b) "Workplace fellowships" in Business, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Media. Program is affiliated with Princeton University. Applicants must be willing to go to interview in Princeton, NJ.

Dec. 15 -- CDS Alfa Fellowships in RUSSIA, 2008-09 (for those who have a graduate degree & knowledge of Russian). Fully-funded.

Feb. 1 (previously was Dec. 1, though earlier application than Feb. 1 is
encouraged) -- France English Teaching Assistantship, for academic year 2008-09. French Government program. Positions are paid and there are no fees. See our article about the program at:

The program's website with application forms is:

No deadline, BUNAC (see above).

No deadline, PEACE CORPS (but best to apply around 9 months before you want to start). If interested, come to the PEACE CORPS INFORMATION SESSION FRIDAY, NOV. 30 at 3 PM in the U-M INTERNATIONAL CENTER. Peace Corps offers fully-funded (paid) volunteer work in 70+ less-developed countries; positions are for two years plus several months training. US Government program; no fees, US citizens eligible.
U-M Peace Corps Office (at the International Center), Amanda Miller and Ashley Thompson, peace.corps@umich.edu, tel. 647-2182, http://internationalcenter.umich.edu/peace
or http://www.peacecorps.gov

For all options for working abroad, please see our overview site at:

As always, feel free to e-mail, phone or visit our office if you have any questions!

Bill Nolting, U-M International Center, tel. 734-647-2299 Overseas Opportunities & Peace Corps Office
603 E. Madison Street (next to the Michigan Union) http://internationalcenter.umich.edu/swt

Posted by kkowatch on November 26, 2007 at 04:13 PM | Comments (0)

Interested in an Internship or Job Abroad?

12th European Career Fair - MIT European Club and European Commission

Are you interested in working in Europe? Or do you want to pursue a PhD, a post-doc, or an academic career?

February 1, 2008: Panel discussion-Internationalization of European research
February 2, 2008: MIT: CAREER FAIR DAY and presentations
February 3-4, 2008 Marriott Hotel, Cambridge: interviews for selected candidates

The DEADLINE for resume submission is FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2007.
Upload your resume in PDF FORMAT at: www.euro-career.com

Representatives of European companies will be recruiting for permanent positions and internships worldwide. In addition to this, major European universities and research institutions will participate to promote European science and technology.

All areas of research and study are welcome! Graduate students, professional degrees and post-docs are especially encouraged to apply.

Participants in the recent European Career Fair include:

Acciona, Altran, Arcelor, Baker Hughes, BASF, BBVA, Bekaert, BMW, BNP Paribas, Bosch, Commerzbank, Continental, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Post, Drager, EADS, Finmeccanica,GE, Genzyme, Goldman Sachs, HypoVereinsbank, Lufthansa, Merck, Michelin, Monitor, Novartis, Optiver,P&G,RAG, Saint-Gobain, Schlumberger, Siemens, Total, Trumph, TIM

In honor of the European Career Fair at MIT, which will have a strong S&T component this year, the European Commission, together with the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI), will host a panel discussion on the Internationalization of European research. Speakers from the top echelons of the public and private research enterprise from both sides of the Atlantic will offer analyses. The event will be of relevance to all with an interest in European scientific policy and research and those considering a research career or collaboration in Europe. It will take place on the afternoon of February 1 at MIT (exact time, location and speakers TBA) and will be followed by a reception. Registration required. For more information or to register, visit Career Fair Registration

Any questions? candidate@euroclub.mit.edu

Posted by kkowatch on November 26, 2007 at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

Resources for Employment in Michigan!

If you are interested in staying in Michigan for your internship or for when you graduate then, this article is for you. Earlier this term, I received an email from Amy Cell, Amy Cell, Director, Talent Enhancement, at Ann Arbor SPARK about a resource that her organization was developing that would provide a list of organizations in Michigan that are hiring talent out of college.

Its true that the economy in Michigan isn't great, but I've found that there are many employers that are seeking new employees and can't find people that have the right skills or want to stay in Michigan. So, there are jobs out there -- its just a matter of finding the right one for your abilities and skills.

Please find below information on the resource being developed by Ann Arbor SPARK:

Are you interested in staying in Michigan after you graduate? Are you trying to find a list of growing companies that hire college graduates for entry level positions? Would you like to find a list of helpful links that can make your job search easier? If the answer to these questions is “YES!� Please check out this link:

Ann Arbor SPARK College Connections

This portal was created just for you – college students that would like to stay in Michigan upon graduation. We have an initial list of 44 companies and a number of helpful links, and we will be adding new companies each week to help connect talent to the great opportunities right here in Michigan. Please feel free to contact Amy Cell at Amy@AnnArborSPARK.org with any questions, comments, suggestions and other feedback.

Posted by kkowatch on November 21, 2007 at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

Local Tech Recruiters -- Hiring!

Last week, I made my way up to North Campus and visited the Ann Arbor Tech Fair, which was hosted by UM's Electrical Engineering and Computer Sceience Department and Eta Kappa Nu.

While at the fair, I visited with recruiters from ten local companies. Many of the recruiters had at least heard of SI, but some were very familiar with our school and were interested in learning more about how to get in touch with students. I've added all of the contacts to iTrack and you will be seeing some of these local organizations at SI next term. Please see below for some information on these local organiztaions. Note that most of them are not only Michigan based, but also have offices around the country or even the world. I encourage you to check their websites out and see if they have a position open that fits your skills and interests!

Arbor Networks
Arbor Networks delivers network security and operational performance for global business networks. From the service provider cloud to the enterprise core, the Arbor Peakflow network behavior analysis and anomaly detection solution delivers unmatched network-wide visibility and scalability to defend against a wide range of threats, including worms, data theft, DDoS attacks, botnets and more. Arbor Peakflow enables businesses to harden their networks, maintain business continuity and prevent the loss of customer confidence.

HandyLab, Inc.
HandyLab, Inc is dedicated to the development, manufacture and sale of novel diagnostic products based on its patented and proprietary microfluidic, miniaturized real time PCR, and nucleic acid extraction technologies. HandyLab's target markets include hospital and clinical reference laboratories. The company focuses on applications requiring a high degree of sensitivity, specificity and speed in testing capabilities.

Keepsake Software
Keepsake Software is the leader and inventor of 'Flowchart Programming Technology' supporting thousands of PC Based applications in the automotive industry and elsewhere. Founded by a team of seasoned professionals in 1998, Keepsake Software has successfully deployed and supported over 3,000 installations in the automotive industry. Originally, the company utilized its software technology specifically in the automotive industry. Today, Keepsake Software is currently adopting its software and flowcharting technology into diverse markets enabling the company to grow and introduce innovative products.

Media Genesis
Media Genesis provides website and Internet application development for companies of all sizes. We specialize in corporate and consumer website development, and in creating web-based training programs.

Merit Network, Inc
Merit Network, Inc. is a nonprofit, member-owned organization formed in 1966 to design and implement a computer network between public universities in Michigan. After 40 years of innovation, Merit continues to provide high-performance networking and services to the research and education communities in Michigan and beyond. Merit is also actively involved in various research projects including the development of network traffic visualization tools, effective data extraction from large volumes of network data, and the identification and mitigation of Botnets. Merit is actively seeking highly talented students to work in some of these projects on both a full-time basis as well through internships (summer or regular semester).

Nortel is a recognized leader in delivering communications capabilities that enhance the human experience, ignite and power global commerce, and secure and protect the world's most critical information. Serving both service provider and enterprise customers, Nortel delivers innovative technology solutions encompassing end-to-end broadband, Voice over IP, multimedia services and applications, and wireless broadband designed to help people solve the world's greatest challenges.

SRT Solutions
SRT Solutions provides custom software development and mentoring. SRT Solutions’ expertise is working with software developers on-site on their current projects, teaching them to apply new technologies to current projects. Unlike its competitors that learn new technologies at a client’s request, SRT Solutions is a leader in emerging technology, enabling it to apply cutting-edge innovations to client problems.

Urban Science
Founded in 1977, Urban Science is a strategic consulting firm that provides customized intelligent solutions to companies seeking to increase the market share and profitability of their retail networks. Using advanced data analytics, informed strategic insight and robust planning tools Urban Science delivers critical competitive, cost and customer-relationship advantages for our customers. Urban Science’s success is based on exceptional data-collection and analysis which yield scientific information that drives network performance. Statistical modeling, market benchmarking, segmentation analysis, market profiling and advanced data mining are examples of Urban Science tools to maximize sales-channel performance. Our experienced consultants design, develop and implement strategically sound sales-channel initiatives. Real-world experience, disciplined processes and proprietary methodologies are applied to help gauge market opportunity, assess competitive strengths, develop performance standards and create effective marketing programs. Urban Science's World Headquarters is in Detroit, Michigan, and serves its global clientele from offices in the United States, Spain, France, England, Germany, Italy, Australia, The Netherlands, Mexico, China and Japan.

Workforce Software
Workforce Software develops and implements web-based, enterprise application software for employee time and attendance. Our customers are large organizations who need to manage their workforce with an enterprise class web-based time and attendance system. Our solution is gaining widespread acceptance as the industry-leading solution for organizations wishing to automate their time and attendance processes. Our system has the right functionality and technology and we continue to make large investments in new functionality to maintain our market leading position. We have experienced 5 years of explosive growth averaging over 100% per year, and were recently ranked the 147th fastest growing company in North America on Deloitte's 2006 Technology Fast 500.

Zattoo acquires, transports and presents quick-start, long-play streaming video in one browser for all channels for broadband users anywhere. Zattoo is the only provider of P2P IPTV to provide users with diverse and desired content of the highest possible video quality in one browser, while dramatically reducing cost and increasing reach for broadcasters and enabling advertisers to leverage the best aspects of both web-based and traditional television advertising methods. Zattoo partners with broadcasters and advertisers to serve consumers with a wide selection of content from various sources in one easy-to-use web interface. Developed by leading researchers and software engineers from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Zattoo offers a state-of-the-art, commercial peer-to-peer network optimized for streaming video that is uniquely capable of serving the specific needs of consumers, broadcasters, content owners and advertisers.

Other organizations that are local and registered for the Ann Arbor Tech Fair, but were not present during my visit include the following:
Computer & Engineering Services, Inc.
MBM Consulting
Menlo Innovations LLC

Posted by kkowatch on November 20, 2007 at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)

Article: How to Use Google to Find a Job

I'm always pleased to learn that someone is reading my blog -- espcially if they are outside of SI. Willy Franzen contacted me and asked me to share with the SI population an article that he wrote on how to use Google to find a job.

Willy Franzen graduated from Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations with a BS in Industrial and Labor Relations in 2006. During his time at Cornell, Willy took a strong interest in Negotiation Theory, Labor Economics, and Human Resources Management. See below for his personal explanation for his interest in helping others find jobs:

“After graduation, I took on a few contract jobs, but I knew deep down that I wanted to start my own business. I went through about 6 months of pretty serious job search, while also considering various business ideas. I became very frustrated with how difficult it can be to find meaningful information about company's career opportunities. You'd think they'd do a better job of publicizing themselves and extending their employment brand online. I became an extremely good job searcher, but still I was disappointed with what I was finding online.

I realized that I could help companies do a much better job of online recruiting, so I made it a goal to learn as much as I could about blogging, search engine optimization, job boards, and online marketing. In May of this year, I started One Day, One Job to begin putting what I had learned to use. One Day, One Job has a dual purpose. First, I want to help college students become smarter job searchers. There is so much employment related clutter on the internet, I want to help them wade through it and find the buried gems. Second, I want to help employers be more effective in communicating their employment brand online. By building One Day, One Job as a brand for college job seekers, I hope that employers will take notice and take advantage of our advertising options and consulting services.

I'm sure you find it odd that a guy who never found a full-time job after college is giving job search advice to upcoming graduates, but I think it makes sense. I think that those who quickly find a job don't see the weaknesses in the process as clearly as those who have had some job search struggles. I want to make the process better!�

You can also check out Mr. Franzen's Blogs...
Blog about jobs is at http://www.onedayonejob.com
Blog with advice for job searchers and recruiters alike is located at http://www.onedayonejob.com/blog

How to Use Google to Find a Job Posted by Willy Franzen on Sunday, November 11, 2007

Whether you’re a first-time job seeker or a seasoned veteran, searching for a job on the Internet can be a daunting task. At One Day, One Job we do our best to find truly great entry-level career opportunities and pass on information about them to you. Since we only write about one company’s jobs each day, there are thousands upon thousands of jobs that we pass over. Just because we don’t mention a company on One Day, One Job doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth your interest.

When looking for career opportunities online, most job seekers use different techniques than they typically use while looking for information on the internet. They focus their search on job boards like Monster, HotJobs, and Career Builder, vertical job search engines like Indeed and SimplyHired, and college career services websites (at Cornell we had CornellTrak, which was our own version of MonsterTrak). Despite the wealth of resources to search for jobs, it’s still difficult to find meaningful information about companies and the jobs that they offer. Surprisingly, there is a tool that you likely use every day that is also one of the best job search resources in the world. It’s Google. That’s right. If there’s information on the Internet, Google finds it. That’s why we’ve written this guide on How to Use Google to Find a Job. Not only will this guide help you find new career opportunities that you didn’t know existed, but it will also help you become a better informed job seeker, so that you don’t waste time applying for jobs that probably aren’t a good fit.

Why You Need to Be a Smart Searcher
Despite how it seems, Google isn’t magic. They do their best to organize information so that most people find the right stuff most of the time. For instance, when you type the word jobs in to Google, you will mostly find results from the major job boards, because that’s what most people are looking for. If you want specific information about companies and the careers that they offer, you need to be specific in what you search for. With a little extra effort in how you conduct your online job search, you can greatly improve the quality of the jobs that you find, while also learning significantly more about the companies offering these jobs. Now, before I tell you how to be a job search ninja, let me first explain a little bit about how Google works.

Google has robots that scour the Internet for information. These robots are somewhat particular about how they find information on the internet. These robots can only index certain information on the web, so that leaves a number of situations where information gets excluded from Google’s index. Occasionally webmasters don’t want their sites included in search engines, so they tell the robots not to look at their pages. The way a web page is formatted can also lead to exclusion from Google, because the page may be unreadable to the robots. Other times Google’s robots have no way of finding the page (there are no links to the page, and the webmaster hasn’t notified Google about the page), so the page cannot be indexed. Google will also intentionally exclude information from their search results - even if their robots have no problems accessing the information - if Google thinks the webmaster is trying to cheat the system or spamming.

Most of the time, relevant job information shouldn’t be too hard to find in Google, but using the tips below will help you find more specific and helpful information than you would find using a simple search. This guide will be especially helpful when your online job search yields unsatisfactory results because the company that you are investigating has failed to optimize its Careers page (if a company’s Marketing team ignored search engine optimization, they’d likely be fired, but for some reason HR gets off the hook). So without further ado, How to Use Google to Find a Job.

The Search Basics
If you’re an experienced Google user, some (or all) of these search techniques will be familiar to you. If that’s you, feel free to skip ahead to the next section. There are many different ways of manipulating Google’s search results, but these are the methods that are most applicable when searching for jobs. Also, if you’re lazy, you can get the same results using Google Advanced Search, but I’d recommend reading through this section, because it’s much easier to find what you want when you understand how Google handles your queries.

Using Quotes
When you use quotes in Google, you are able to search for an exact phrase. So if you type in: jobs in Connecticut, you will find all types of pages that include both the word jobs and Connecticut (Google basically ignores the word in). However, if you type in: “jobs in Connecticut,� Google will only return results with that exact phrase somewhere on the page. This can be very useful for finding specific information that you are looking for.

Like Search Terms
Later in this article, I’ll discuss some of the career-oriented search terms that you should use in Google. That section is almost unnecessary because of this nifty little tool. If you put a ~ in front of a search term, it will search for the term you type as well as similar search terms. So if you want to search for: Connecticut jobs, you can type in: Connecticut ~jobs and it will give you results with Connecticut jobs, careers, employment and other like terms.

Addition by Subtraction
A lot of the time the problem with Google is that it gives you too many results. To more easily find the information you want, you can exclude keywords by typing in a – before a search term that you’d like to exclude. So say you would like to search for jobs in Connecticut, but you don’t want results from monster, careerbuilder, or hotjobs. You could search for: jobs in Connecticut –monster –careerbuilder –hotjobs.

Search a Given Site or Top-Level Domain
Sometimes you’ll find a company’s web page, but there is no sign of career information anywhere on the site. Assuming that the company will be hiring people at some point in the next 27 years, you could nose around the site until you find what you’re looking for, or you can use Google to do the searching for you. Just use the site: command. So if you are on companyname.com and can’t find their careers page, just go to Google and type in: site:http://companyname.com careers (leave out the www.). You may need to try a variety of search terms similar to careers (I’ll talk about which ones in just a bit) or you can use the ~careers command.

Another great use of this tip is that you can restrict the top-level domains that appear in your search results. For instance, if you are looking for jobs at colleges and universities you could use site:.edu before your keywords. To search for jobs at non-profits, you might be more successful using site:.org in your search. This can also be used to limit your search to results from certain countries’ top-level domains. So to search only sites in Italy, you could type in site:.it.

A Look into the Past
Sometimes Google preserves the past. If you navigate to a page and find that it no longer exists or has changed from what you remember, type the URL into Google; then click the cache button under the link in Google and see if they have an old version saved. You can also use archive.org and type in the address you’d like to see into The Wayback Machine. This is very useful for looking at past job listings that may have since changed, just to know what has been available at one time or another.

Can’t Remember Your Searches? Google Does.
If you have a Google account, you can enable Google Web History to remember your previous searches. This way, when you forget the name of some great company that you found on Google 3 months ago, you can check to see if they have any new job openings. Beyond remembering the searches that you made, it also remembers the links you clicked. Even cooler, you can search your own search history for keywords that you might remember. They should call this the Google pensieve.

Blogs Break News Before It’s News
Blogs can bring you news before it breaks to the major news outlets. More importantly, blogs report on news that most people (and the mainstream media) don’t care about. A blog about a local recruiter’s hiring difficulties may not be high on most people’s lists of things they want to read, but it might lead you to the opportunity of a lifetime. Google’s Blog Search is still in Beta, but it’s Google’s attempt to organize user-created content in a meaningful way.

Unfortunately the Blog Search results are a little more likely to contain spam and irrelevant information, but on the flip side, they sometimes have the most interesting tidbits. Remember that all the search tips that work with regular Google searches also work with Google’s blog search. You also have the option of refining the search by the date the post was published, so you can search blogs posts written in the past hour, day, week, or month.

Other Tidbits
If you would like to search multiple terms and are indifferent between one or the other showing up, you can use OR or | between the two words. To find sites with a given keyword in their URLs, you can use the command inurl:. For instance, to find sites with jobs in the url, you could type in: inurl: jobs.
Google Base is Google’s answer to Craig’s List. It’s not the best place to search for jobs, but there will certainly be listings there.
A zip code can be a great search term and it will really narrow down your results. Also, if you type in a zip code with a keyword like jobs, at the top of the search engine results page will be a link to Google Base’s jobs listings.
Be smart about abbreviations, acronyms, and plurals. Try all the alternatives. Sometimes Google knows what your abbreviations mean, like that CT means Connecticut, but other times you will have to search both the abbreviation and the full word. The same can be said for acronyms and some plurals.

Careers vs. Jobs
I’ve already mentioned how you can use the ~ in front of a search term to search for like terms, but I must reemphasize the importance of trying different variations of searches that are basically the same. The difference between “careers� and “jobs� is mostly semantics. To some, the word career sounds a little better, as it seems to entail a long-term commitment and may continue beyond a single employer. For our purposes, there is no difference between “careers� and “jobs,� but using both as search terms is extremely important.

I haven’t done any scientific research, but I’d say that its relatively evenly split between companies that have a “Jobs Page� and companies that have a “Careers Page�. So if you search “company name jobs,� you’ll likely find some results, but you may be missing their corporate site because you failed to look for “company name careers� or vice versa.

You should also take note that Companies never know where to put their Careers/Jobs page, if they have one. Some link to their Careers page directly from their home page, others link to it from their About page or Contact Us page. Some companies have no information at all for job seekers, and others throw a paragraph or less on an unrelated page. That’s why using Google to search will save you time over poking around a company’s site.

Companies also sometimes use terms like: employment, join our team, and work for us. I’m sure there are many more.

Working at (insert company name here)
If you’re looking to get in-depth dirt on what it’s like to work at a company, a search for “working at (insert company name here)� can be truly enlightening. You should always put this search in quotes when you enter it in to Google, otherwise you’ll get too many irrelevant results. Sometimes you’ll find a page on the company’s corporate site that details employee experiences, or you might find posts on The Vault’s message boards ranting about how much they hate the company (take these with a grain of salt, every company has pissed off ex-employees who take to the internet to try to right the wrongs done to them). Clearly every search will yield different results, but usually you can find some interesting tidbits.

Another great place to do this search is in Google’s Blog Search. This way you can see what people are saying about the company in the blogosphere.

Other searches that might yield results: “life at (insert company name here),� “a day in the life� (insert company name here), (insert company name here) fired, or (insert company name here) work/life balance.

Be creative in this type of search. Think about the burning questions you have about an employer, and then come up with keywords that might yield results that answer those questions.

Googling Names and E-mail Addresses
I’m hoping that you’ve at least Googled your name once to see what comes up. If you haven’t, try it. You’ll be surprised what shows up. More importantly, you need to realize that when your resume crosses someone’s desk, Googling your name might be the first thing that they do. So be prepared to explain that the first result in Google, which is a picture of you doing a keg stand, was actually part of a PSA you were in to help underprivileged children learn about the dangers of alcohol. By the way, if you don’t like what you find about yourself in Google, Lifehacker.com has an article on how to have a say in what Google says about you. So just like the Recruiter who might interview you is doing, do your due diligence and be a good job seeker. Use Google to research some prominent employees (CEO, CFO, PR person, etc.) at a company that you’re interested in. See if you can find anything that goes beyond their work life, just to get a sense of what types of people work there and what kind of lifestyles are suited to a job at the company.

There is always contact information on job postings. Use this information as keywords for your search, especially names, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers. You can find out a little bit about the person who may be contacting you about your application and his or her role at the company. More importantly you can see where else this position has been listed (niche sites) and what other positions have been posted by this same recruiter for this same company.

It may seem a little creepy to search for people you don’t know, but everybody’s doing it. You will be at a clear disadvantage in the hiring process if you don’t use Google to its full potential.

Stay Alert
Google allows you to receive daily/weekly/as it happens updates about the latest relevant Google results. You can sign up for Google Alerts to watch any search that you’d like to keep tabs on. It’s extremely easy to monitor all web sites, or just blogs in particular for the latest mentions of your search term. So once you optimize your searches to find the career information that you want, save them as Google Alerts and don’t worry about forgetting what you searched for or how you formed the searches.

I would love to see Google add RSS functionality to their Alerts feature (you can subscribe to RSS feeds for Google News and Google BlogSearch, but not normal web search). Indeed already allows you to subscribe to an RSS feed of any job search that you run. This is a rare instance where Google is behind its competitors in terms of technology.

Googling Job Titles
Another stupid thing that companies do is post their jobs using acronyms, abbreviations, or non-descript names. This makes finding these job postings through search engines exceedingly difficult. When preparing a web page for Google, having a descriptive title with important keywords is essential to not only ranking well but also getting people to click on your link. When you see job postings with titles like: IT FP&A Analyst, Systems Eng, or (my favorite) Analyst, you know that the companies are missing out on job seeker traffic. Some might say that people who are looking for those jobs know what to search for, which is partly true, but every company uses different acronyms and abbreviations. If I search for “systems engineer� I may not find a posting titled “Systems Eng.� The title of Analyst, whether it’s a job posting or a personal title, is boring to just about everyone. Why not describe what the job does?

So, companies need to figure out how to be more effective when posting their jobs, but until that happens you need to understand the errors that are commonly made when a job is posted (I won’t even go into misspellings, because that shows a serious lack of conscientiousness on the company’s part). By figuring out what abbreviations and acronyms to search for, you might find jobs that are buried on page 22 of the search results. The good news is that you’ll likely face less competition for this job than another job which has its posting search engine optimized. The bad news is that you might end up working for a company that just doesn’t get it. No company can successfully sell its products online without using focused, descriptive titles. Why should “selling� people on jobs be any different?

Now that you’ve hopefully read through the entire article, I have one last job search tip for Google. Be creative. Think about what you’re looking for, and then think of the different ways that information you seek might be described or posted. Using the techniques I’ve described, it’s easy to craft searches that will bring answers to your questions. Don’t overlook Google because it’s not focused on jobs like Monster is. Google will find almost anything you would find on other job search sites. I hope you enjoyed this article, and please add any tips that you’ve used to find jobs on Google in the comments.

Posted by kkowatch on November 16, 2007 at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

Getting to Know Your Resources: Part II

The Student Alumni Network at UM and other Alumni Resources

I was just demonstrating to one of the first year MSI's the Student Alumni Network and I commented to them, "I wonder if everyone even knows about the Student Alumni Network?" This wondering prompted me to write this blog!

So, what is the Student Alumni Network? Its a resource offered that gives SI students access to alumni who have offered to provide their expertise and tips to inquiring students. You can use the SAN to contact alumni about your internship or job search, what classes to take, or whatever else is on your mind. You can search registered alumni by Professional Title, First Name, Last Name, E-mail, Career Fields, Employer, Degree, Graduation Year, City, State, and Comments. There is at least one person in just about every niche of the career realm associated with SI -- sometimes many more!

You can find the Student Alumni Network on the SI website under the Careers heading. Note that the SAN will soon be shifting over to be part of iTrack. Keep an eye out for an email that announces this change soon.

Other UM-Alumni related resources that SI students and alumni can use are the following:

Alumni NetWorks is a career service that offers graduates and current students the opportunity to gain information and networking contacts from one of U-M's most valuable resources, its alumni. Through this program, participants are able to contact alumni mentors who have volunteered to provide career coaching on topics ranging from information about their occupation and how to enter the job market to relocating to a specific city.

inCircle is an online directory and networking community that contains all University of Michigan alumni and students. It offers all the basic functions of an online directory (the ability to search for friends and colleagues) plus the ability to create your own personal network. It's just like a Michigan version of Facebook or MySpace!

And, don't forget your Alma Mater's alumni resources... UM has one of the greatest alumni networks in the world, but that doesn't mean that your own undergraduate institution doesn't have some fabulously connected people that you can contact. Oh, and one more thing... the cardinal rule of networking is that you should always give back in order to receive -- so, don't forget to register to be a mentor to your undergraduate school and to SI when you graduate! I'd love to tell future students that you would be a great alumnus to reach out to. ~Kelly

Posted by kkowatch on November 12, 2007 at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

Advice: Resume Rules Not to Be Broken

Some great, pointed tips on what not to do on your resume! This is a very cut and dry article with some great advice! Thanks to the MSI student that passed this along to me. - Kelly

BRAZEN CAREERIST: Resume Rules Not Made to Be Broken by Penelope Trunk

This is the problem with the resume-writing world: Everyone thinks they’re an exception to the rules. Everyone thinks they can pick and choose which rules are important. Do not do this. Until you work in human resources and personally scan 300 resumes a day, you are in no position to discard rules of resume writing.

Here are the six most violated rules among the resumes that people send to me to review:

Keep it to one page. The job of a resume is to get you an interview, not get you a job. A hiring manager has to sift through a pile of resumes to figure out which person to interview. Each resume gets about a ten-second look. If you think you need a longer resume, give someone one page of your resume and have them look at it for ten seconds. Ask them what they remember; it won’t be much. They are not going to remember any more information in ten seconds if you give them two pages to look at; ten seconds is ten seconds.

Ditch the line about references on request. It’s implied. Of course, if someone wants a reference, you will give one. No one presumes that you will not. So when you write that you will provide a reference you seem to not understand how the game is played.

Bonus tip: If you have an excellent reference, like a CEO of a Fortune 500 company who vacations with your Mom, have the reference call before you even go to the interview. Sets the tone for the employer to think you are amazing. (KK note: Hmmm... not so sure about this one... it sets you up for the possiblity of great disappointment -- do this only if you are a wow-great-interviewer).

Tread lightly on the personal interests line. Your personal interests are not there to make you look interesting. They are there to get you an interview. Every line on your resume is there to get you an interview. So, only list personal interests that reveal a quality that will help you meet the employer’s needs. If you are in sports marketing, then by all means, list that you kayak. If you were an Olympic athlete, put it down because it shows focus and achievement. If you are a mediocre hobbyist, leave it off.

Personal interests that don’t make you stand out as an achiever do not help you. And personal interests that are weird make you look weird, and you don’t know if your interviewer likes weird or not, so leave weird off the resume.

List achievements, not job duties. Anyone can do a job. Achievements show you did the job well. Past performance is the best indicator of future performance, so don’t let someone think you just showed up for your last job and didn’t do it well.

It’s very hard to see your achievements from the trenches; you might think you did not have achievements because your boss doesn’t ask you to do achievements, your boss asks you to do tasks and projects. But you need to recognize that you do not see achievements and ask for help to see them. A resume coach, or even a friend, can help you to see them more clearly.

Don’t be a designer unless you are. If you have more than three fonts on your resume and you’re not a designer, I can promise you that you’ve botched the layout. If design were easy, no one would get paid for it. Recognize your strengths and keep design elements to the bare minimum. And please, save Photoshop for cards to your mom. Just because you know how to use the shading tools doesn’t mean you know how to use them well.

List your most recent job first. Reverse chronological order is only a good idea if you are looking to get hired to go back in time. Otherwise you look like you’re bucking resume writing convention in order to hide something, which you probably are, but you have to do it with a better sleight of hand than that.

Penelope Trunk writes the Brazen Careerist blog. Her new book, Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success (Warner Business Books, 2007), is available at Amazon.com. E-mail her at penelope@penelopetrunk.com

Posted by kkowatch on November 07, 2007 at 04:29 PM | Comments (0)

Good News: IT Salaries are on the Rise!

Great news about IT Salaries -- they are on the rise! At twice the rate of inflation.

IT Salaries to Rise Twice as Fast as Inflation by Deborah Perelman

The biggest increases will go to lead application developers and application architects, a Robert Half Technology report says.

CIOs looking to hire skilled IT professionals will pay, on average, 5.3 percent more in 2008 than they did this year, according to the just-released Robert Half Technology's 2008 IT Salary Guide. As a comparison, the Consumer Price Index rose 2.8 percent this past year.

Click here for a free copy of the Robert Half Technology 2008 Salary Guide.

The biggest increases will go to lead application developers,who manage softeare development teams and projects, with base compensation expected to rise 7.6 percent to between $80,250 and $108,000 annually. Application architects, also in demand, will average a 7.5 percent increase, with starting salaries ranging from $87,250 to $120,000.

Other skills seeing salary increases of 7 percent or higher include Web development, network management or database administration.

"This was not really a surprise," says Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology, an IT staffing firm. "The strong increases are still in the application development space, especially for individuals that have those Web 2.0 skill sets. Those who can architect and develop Web spaces had the highest increases that we saw, even 7.5 percent in some titles."

Robert Half Technology's 2008 IT Salary Guide is based on analysis of the job placements managed by the company's U.S. offices. The analysis found that nearly 15 percent of firms said that they intended to increase their IT staff in 2008.

The company pegged wireless communication as one of the top areas driving IT hiring in U.S. companies, as developers create more and more tools for mobile devices that IT departments are increasingly responsible for supporting. Lee calls this the "gadget factor."

"With everyone's devices communicating with everyone else's devices, there is a need for people who are like the air traffic controllers of the IT department," Lee says.

Industries foreseeing strong demand for IT pros next year include financial services, healthcare and commercial construction, the report says.

Application Development
Manager, 6.1%, $86,250 to $117,750
Project Manager, 5.0%, $76,500 to $111,500
Systems Analyst, 3.5%, $66,000 to $90,250
Applications Architect, 7.5%, $87,250 to $120,000
Business Systems Analyst, 5.6%, $64,250 to $91,750
Developer/Programmer Analsyt, 6.0%, $57,500 to $96,750
Lead Applications Developer, 7.6%, $80,250 to $108,000
Technical Writer, 5.3%, $48,250 to $72,000
Source: Robert Half Technology 2008 Salary Guide
Bonus Pay for Application Development
For the following development skills, add
5% for C++
10% for Java
5% for Visual Basic
12% for C#, 5% for LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP/Perl)
5% for AJAX (Asynchronous Java and XML)
5% for Microsoft SharePoint
10% for Visual Basic .Net.

Consulting and Systems IngegrationDirector, 6.1%, $93,250 to $137,500
Practice Manager, 5.2%, $92,500 to $125,000
Project Manager/Senior Consultant, 5.5%, $78,250 to $108,750
Staff Consultant, 6.4%, $59,250 to $82,250
Senior IT Auditor, 6.9%, $86,750 to $114,750
IT Auditor, 6.3%, $74,000 to $102,750

DataBase Administrator
Database Manager, 5.4%, $88,750 to $122,750
Database Developer, 4.1%, $76,250 to $107,500
Database Administrator, 5.1%, $74,250 to $106,750
Data Analyst/Report Writer, 6.0%, $57,750 to $78,500
Data Architect, 6.2%, $87,750 to $119,000
Data Modler, 7.0%, $74,250 to $102,000
Data Warehouse Manager, 6.3%, $90.750 to $120,750
Data Warehouse Analyst, 6.1%, $78,250 to $104,250
Business Intelligence Analyst, 6.6%, $78,250 to $108,250
Note: Add 10 percent for Oracle database, 12 percent for Microsoft SQL Server and 7 percent for IBM DB2 database skills.

Quality Assurance and Test
QA/Testing Manager, 5.4%, $74,250 to $96,000
QA Associate/Analyst, 5.5%, $54,500 to $79,250
Note: Add 5 percent for performance testing skills, such as Mercury Interactive tools.

Internet and E-Commerce
Senior Web Developer, 6.6%, $76,250 to $108,250
Web Developer, 5.3%, $57,250 to $86,250
Web Administrator, 6.0%, $52,250 to $79,750
Web Designer, 6.1%, $50,000 to $75,750
EDI Specialist, 5.7%, $59,750 to $85,000
E-Commerce Analyst, 5.5%, $65,000 to $92,500
Messaging Administrator, 7.1%, $55,000 to $77,750
Bonus Pay for Internet and E-Commerce
For the following development skills, add
10% for Java
10% for Java Enterprise Edition
5% for LAMP (Linus, Apache, MYSQL and PHP/Perl)
5% for AJAX (Asynchronous Java and XML)
5% for Microsoft SharePoint
5% for ColdFusion
7% for Web services
5% for Active Server Page
10% for DCOM/COM/ActiveX
12% for C#
10% for Visual Basic .Net
5% for WebLogic clustering administrative

Network Architect, 5.8%, $843,000 to $118,250
Network Manager, 7.0%, $74,500 to $98,500
Network Engineer, 3.0%, $67,250 to $93,500
LAN/WAN Administrator, 4.9%, $53,500 to $75,000
Telecommunications Manager, 2.9%, $70,500 to $91,250
Telecommunications Specialist, 4.1%, $49,250 to $72,500
Note: Add 12% for Cisco network, 10% for Linux/Unix, 10%for Windows 2000/2003/XP and 10% for Voice over Internet Protocol administration skills.

Manager, 4.4%, $55,000 to $74,250
Computer Operator, 3.9%, $30,500 to $42,750
Mainframe Systems Programmer, 4.9%, $55,250 to $72,750

Data Security Analyst, 4.9%, $76,250 to $104,000
Systems Security Administrator, 4.0%, $73,500 to $103,500
Network Security Administrator, 4.5%, $72,750 to $103,000
Note: Add 12% for Disco network, 10% for Linux/Unix and 10% for CheckPoint firewall administration skills.

Software Development
Product Manager, 4.0%, $83,000 to $112,250
Software Engineer, 4.5%, $69,250 to $104,500
Software Developer, 5.3%, $63,500 to $99,750
Bonus Pay for Software Development
For the following development skills, add
5% for C++
10% for Java
7% for Web services
5% for Active Server Page
5% for Visual Basic
10% for DCOM/COM/ActiveX
12% for C#
10% forVisual Basic .Net

Technical Services, Help Desk and Technical Support
Manager, 4.3%, $65,250 to $92,000
Desktop Support Analyst, 4.5%, $48,500 to $68,250
Systems Adminstrator, 3.8%, $51,750 to $78,8750
Help Desk Tier 3, 5.2%, $44,750 to $57,250
Help Desk Tier 2, 6.5%, $35,750 to $46,250
Help Desk Tier 3, 5.8%, $29,250 to $39,000
Instructor/Trainer, 4.4%, $47,750 to $70,500
PC Technician, 3.9%, $29,250 to $44,000
Business Continuity Analyst, 5.3%, $68,250 to $100,250
Note: Add 12% for Cisco network, 10% for Linux/Unix and 10% for Windows 2000/2003/XP administration skills

Source: Robert Half Technology 2008 Salary Guide

Posted by kkowatch on November 06, 2007 at 10:57 AM | Comments (0)

Social Networking and Behavioral Targeting -- Its Out There!

Another great article from the Chronicle of Higher Education....

The Advertiser Over Your Shoulder by Brock Read

When they warn students about the perils of social networking, college officials often point out that prospective employers pore over profiles on MySpace and Facebook. And the sites themselves aren’t shy about doing the same.

As The New York Times reports, both MySpace and Facebook are embracing “behavioral targeting� as an advertising tool. MySpace has enlisted more than 50 companies, including Ford and Taco Bell, in a program that peruses profiles, makes note of users’ interests, and then delivers thematically appropriate ads. Facebook is expected soon to unveil a similar advertising scheme, also based on profile data,.

The social networks are going public with their microtargeting strategies just a week after the Federal Trade Commission held a hearing to consider whether it should regulate online advertising more aggressively. Privacy advocates like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology had asked the commission to create a “Do Not Track� registry that would prohibit companies from logging people’s Web usage for advertising purposes. (Facebook officials showed up at the hearing to discuss their privacy policies.)

Would many college students sign up for such a list? Google’s e-mail service, Gmail, runs advertisements based on the content of users’ e-mail messages, but that practice hasn’t stunted the service’s growth.

Still, the advent of target advertising should unnerve students who are devoted to social networking, says Kathryn Montgomery, a professor of communication at American University. “If you are hanging out with your friends and talking about who you are, what rock stars you like, and so on,� she told The Times, “you don’t assume that someone is sitting there and taking down every word you’re saying and putting it into some kind of algorithm.� —Brock Read

Posted by kkowatch on November 05, 2007 at 04:48 PM | Comments (0)

iTrack: Search By Zip Code and Search Agents!

I just got notification that within iTrack, as of Monday, November 12, you can search jobs by zip code! This will make geographic searches much easier!

A tip: If you login to iTrack pretty much never (which I know is the case for you busy students), login in once and set up a Search Agent. This function will send you an email as frequently as you like with positions that match your selected criteria. If you aren't logging in, you may be missing out on your dream job! If you need help with setting up a Search Agent, let me know as its not as intuitive as you would think. ~ Kelly

Posted by kkowatch on November 05, 2007 at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

Tips for Finding a Job in the United Kingdom

At least once a week, I have one of the first year MSI's in my office asking me about the possiblity of an internship in the United Kingdom... the British Library has come up several times! My advice is always, "Go for it!" -- But don't expect it to be easy. The visa regulations for US citizens to work in the UK are strict. See below for some tips from one woman who made it happen.

Job Hunting in the U.K.(November 4th, 2007) by by Jaclyn Bedoya

Let’s say your wanderlust has flared up, maybe you’re an Anglophile, or perhaps your partner has found a dream job in London. Whatever it is, suddenly you’ve found yourself looking to find a library job on another continent. Having recently conducted a job search in the U.K., I’d love to share a few tips I wish I’d known.

How do you get there?
The first thing you’ll need to work out is your visa. If, like me and many of the ex-pats I’ve met here, you’ve moved for your partner’s job, you’re probably allowed to work as part of their visa. Otherwise, are you in a country that participates in the Working Holidaymaker scheme? Do you qualify for the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme? If you want a short term experience you can also seek inspiration at the International Relations Round Table’s International Exchanges Committee website.

Before you go
Before my husband and I decided to move, we had to gauge whether I would be able to find a job. I joined several U.K.-related library lists months in advance to check the volume of position postings. LIS-LINK is one of the most general and useful, but there are many more specialized ones at www.jiscmail.ac.uk. You can also sign up for the weekly Jinfo Jobs Update at www.Jinfo.com, which focuses more on the information sector than libraries, but does provide weekly listings in your mailbox.

Sites like www.lisjobnet.com, www.jobs.ac.uk, and the local newspaper’s online recruitment section can help you pinpoint the positions in your area. I also periodically checked the websites of the local city council (for public library positions), colleges and universities in the area, and large businesses who might be hiring. Be careful: as many places seem to be moving away from using “librarian,� I found I missed library positions unless I searched for words like “information� or “technology.� This is also useful in finding non-library positions for which you are qualified.

Every job searcher is told to network, but when you are moving to a different country this can be quite challenging! I e-mailed friends of friends, asked former coworkers and professors for contacts, and told anyone and everyone that I was looking for work in Scotland. (Incidentally, this made a great icebreaker!) At the ALA annual conference, I made a point of going to the International Librarians Reception and met as many people as I could. There, I spent the evening talking to a couple of Scottish library school instructors, who were very encouraging and helpful.

Last, you can work on your resume, which may need minor tweaks. Do you have acronyms or local spellings that might confuse the hiring committee? Are the buzzwords different? Although “information literacy� is big in the U.S., I hear it much less in the U.K. setting. Instead, people talk about “customer focus� and “value for money.� Consider joining the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), the U.K. equivalent of the ALA, both because it’s important to show your commitment to professional development and because the newsletters provide useful information to help you integrate into the U.K. library scene. As U.S., Canadian, Australian, and EU postgraduate qualifications are accepted in the U.K., you’re able to join as if you held a U.K. degree.

You’re here!
Now that you’re in the country, it’s a good idea to sign up with the library and information recruiting agencies. They can help with both temporary and full time employment, are friendly and helpful, and are completely free! You can try Sue Hill, TFPL, and CILIP’s own recruiting arm, INFOMatch. Unfortunately, they don’t tend to have a lot of positions outside of London or other big cities, so it might also be prudent to try non-specialist agencies as well.

One thing I heard before coming to the U.K. was that libraries are much more flexible than in the U.S. about allowing you to switch “specialties,� and so I job hunted accordingly. Although I was a reference and instruction librarian in the U.S., it seemed those types of “liaison librarian� positions were much rarer here, so I applied for almost anything for which I was qualified. This may be your opportunity to try something different!

Many job listings give a day or week when interviews will be held — pay attention to these dates. I learned the hard way that interview times are assigned, not negotiated, when the only two librarian-level positions I’d seen in months scheduled interviews for the same day at the same time, on opposite sides of the city. Luckily, one interview was willing to switch, but only because another applicant also needed to trade.

Also, remember all that networking you did? When it comes to the nitty gritty of whether to ask for a different interview time, salary expectations, or employers’ reputations, having local knowledge can really be invaluable. David, one of the library school instructors I met at the annual conference, patiently helped me de-Americanize my resume and adapt my cover letter to U.K. conventions. He also mentioned that in the public sector, if a salary range is given, the organization will probably have budgeted up to the maximum — so you might succeed in negotiating up from the minimum.

With a bit of luck, and the work I put into preparing before I arrived, I was able to find a position within three months of arriving. I’m somewhat surprised to find myself in a systems librarian position, but although there has been a learning curve my institution has been very supportive and now I have a whole new set of skills. Adapting to the U.K. work culture has been a challenging experience in and of itself, but I trust that if you’ve been resourceful enough to find a job, you’ll do great at bridging the cultures as well. Good luck!


IRRT International Exchanges

Library Lists

Job Sites


Qualifications from Overseas

Recruiting Agencies

Jaclyn Bedoya is an Electronic Resources Advisor at Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has lived and worked on three continents.

Tags: bedoya, edinburgh, scotland, uk

Posted by kkowatch on November 05, 2007 at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

Chronicle of Higher Education Article: Access to Digital Repositories

An interesting article from the Chronicle of Higher Education about access to digital repositories at small universities and colleges....

Struggling to Keep Up By Martha H. Patterson

For the past 10 years I have been working on and off on one project: an analysis of the imagery and the rhetoric of the “New Woman� -- a phrase often used to describe suffragists, progressive reformers, clubwomen, or bloomer-wearing bicyclists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

A fair amount of the research I’ve done has been a painstaking process of examining hard copy or microfilm of ethnically and regionally diverse American newspapers, periodicals, and fiction from 1894 until 1930. I have paged through bound volumes of popular magazines, such as Life or McClure’s, until my eyes watered and my index finger ached. The most popular black newspaper of the period, the Chicago Defender, I scanned via microfilm, searching hour after hour for references to the New Woman in editorials about women’s suffrage or gender roles.

Only later, on a trip to the Schomburg Center in New York, did I discover that all of those periodicals have been digitized.

As I scrolled through the New York Public Library’s digital database riches, I tried not to groan audibly, feeling like someone who has dragged her luggage up five flights of stairs without noticing the elevator around the corner. The digital ProQuest collections -- including the American Periodicals Series Online, the Gerritsen Collection, and especially the expanding Historical Newspapers products -- would have made my task considerably easier had I known about them earlier, or had I had ready access to the libraries that could afford all of them.

As it was, I scurried about, trekking to major research libraries on family trips, appealing to my home institution for additional travel money, relying on the kindness of librarians around the country to perform digital searches for me, and doing without.

While the interlibrary loan service has leveled the scholarly playing field for many reseachers at smaller institutions, the digitization of primary sources presents new challenges. Currently there is no way for an individual to purchase access to databases owned by ProQuest, which accurately proclaims itself “the leading provider of microform and electronic information to school, academic, public, and government libraries.�

Resources such as NewspaperArchive.com, which individuals can purchase for $16.50 a month, help, but their search engines lack many important features that are available with the ProQuest Historical Newspapers products. And while a number of states and the Library of Congress have embarked on newspaper-digitization programs, they haven’t begun to rival ProQuest in their scope.

Many small and medium-size academic libraries can’t afford the databases, which, despite a sliding fee scale, still cost thousands of dollars. Most medium-size college or university libraries will carry the major secondary-source online index to a particular discipline, so that one can at least know that an article exists even if one doesn’t have immediate access to it via the expensive JSTOR, which offers full-text articles from a wide range of disciplines. But comprehensive citations from historic journalistic sources generally aren’t available unless a library purchases the full-text database.

The Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature, owned by most institutions, regardless of their size, doesn’t index many popular magazines—such as the National Police Gazette, a 19th-century tabloid—that are available digitally and in full text through the American Periodical Series Online.

To gain access to the information we need, scholars at small or medium-size institutions must grapple with the extra expense and time of travel to get to a major research library -- even those who are fortunate enough to live relatively close to one. Some academics have resorted to secretly using the accounts of friends at larger and better-supported institutions. Some spend needless hours plowing through microfilm that has been digitized. Many others simply restrict their studies to the information at hand.

As a friend reminded me, however, archives have always been a place to which one must travel. But digital archives, I countered, are different, in part because they could theoretically be made available to all scholars. The information held within is often unindexed primary-source material, the searching possibilities enable far more comprehensive research, and the potential time saved is so great.

Unlike a physical repository, the searching variations of a digital archive are so many that one visit is almost always inadequate. One key word search often opens up a chain of new search possibilities into unimaginably vast amounts of data. At the same time, obtaining biographical information about relatively obscure writers or tracking long-range cultural trends with key-word searches in multiple periodicals can now be done in a matter of hours, as opposed to weeks or even years.

As the digital revolution continues, reviewers of book manuscripts in the humanities will increasingly expect those tools to be used. Access to them will materially affect not only the scope of the final scholarly product and the time it takes to produce, but the expectations for the product, and its author, in the academic marketplace.

Scholars from tuition-driven institutions already contend with heavy teaching loads and little time for research. A lack of access to the best digital archives presents yet another hurdle.

Even midsize institutions enjoy only limited digital offerings. Campus database holdings tend to be region specific -- so if you want to search a historical database of The Atlanta Constitution, you have to visit a university library in the South.

No library that I know of owns all of ProQuest’s products. If you’re looking at a national cultural trend or the myriad responses to a specific event, you will have to travel to multiple libraries with little hope for the external grant support that traditional archives provide.

It’s not that I begrudge entirely my time spent examining the hard copy and microfilm of now-digitized collections. Digital searches often won’t pull up political cartoons, advertising, and comic strips that are important resources in cultural studies. And in key word searches, even with full-page view options, you often lose the context of newspaper or magazine articles.

Nonetheless, the digital divide between the ivory-tower haves and have-nots will be a defining one for our generation of scholars. It exacerbates inequalities already present and makes it that much harder for scholars hoping to enter the larger intellectual debate on an equal footing.

Martha H. Patterson is an associate professor of English at McKendree University.

Posted by kkowatch on November 05, 2007 at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)