The Importance of Documenting Library Work

Emily Nimsakont is the Cataloging and Metadata Trainer at Amigos Library Services. She’ll present the session “Documenting Library Work: Lessons We Can Learn from Technical Writers” on May 6 at 2:15 p.m. EDT. Her guest blog post follows.

Documenting our library processes and procedures is important; we all know this, but somehow, it can be hard to sit down and spend time creating the documentation, especially when that could take time away from doing the processes themselves.

There are many reasons for having good documentation, such as standardizing the work of multiple people, or making sure the knowledge of how to do something doesn’t just reside inside one person’s head. However, the current COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront another important reason to have documentation. When something happens and you must radically change your working environment, having good documentation in place makes it easier to determine how to change the process.

Library workers are often asked to wear many hats, and in my Exchange session, I’ll ask you to try on the hat of a technical writer. Technical writers are trained to write documents that explain how to do things. My session will provide an overview of the technical writing process and discuss what library staff members can take away from it to make it easier to document their work.

During my session, we’ll brainstorm about how to document a mock process. If you’d like to work through this mock process in advance to prepare for my session, instructions are available.

What are some processes and procedures in your library for which you wish there was better documentation? Has the current pandemic changed how you think about documentation? If you have answers to these questions, or any other comments you’d like to make about the topic, please leave a comment on this blog post.

Join me on Wednesday, May 6, at 2:15 pm EDT, to learn more about “Documenting Our Work: Lessons We Can Learn from Technical Writers.”

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