Career Profile: A&I Content Specialist


Barbara Bristow

Title of current position:

A&I Content Specialist

Current employer:

EBSCO Information Services

Please provide a brief description of your job including a general overview of your responsibilities.

Supplying indexing and abstracting for periodicals across a wide range of disciplines.

How did you choose your specialty (i.e. music cataloger, metadata specialist, technical service manager, etc.)?

My specialty chose me—H. W. Wilson was the first place to offer me a position after library school.

What specific skills, aptitudes, training, or education does your specialty require?

My current position needs exposure to a wide range of subjects, to be familiar with the vocabularies that match those subjects, and the ability to use Library of Congress Subject Headings as well as other thesauri to create subject headings that lead users to the most relevant content.

In what ways did your formal education prepare you for your career? What did you need to learn outside of this?

My original indexing position drew on my BA in history as well as my MLS. In my previous position as a taxonomist for EBSCO, I needed to learn Access and become more proficient with Excel.

What do you find rewarding in your career?

Finding (or creating) the perfect heading for an article; hoping that my work will help people doing research on a specific topic.

How do you keep up with trends in the field (i.e. involvement in professional organizations, email lists, publishing and research, professional reading, etc.)?

Email lists and Facebook groups, which often point me to other sources for professional reading.

What advice do you have for those considering a career in your specialty?

Flexibility—both at H. W. Wilson and EBSCO, my responsibilities changed as each company revised its strategies. Not being flexible to adapt would have been detrimental.

How do you strive for a work-life balance? Do you have any hobbies or interests outside work?

I try to enforce a mental break between my work hours and my off time. Hobbies include reading, needlework, and jigsaw puzzles.

This career profile is one of 14 developed by the Cataloging & Metadata Management Section (CaMMS) Recruitment & Mentoring Committee in 2017. To view a list of all profiles, seeĀ Career Profiles in Cataloging, Metadata, & Related Fields.

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