Librarian vs. Documentalist: Book Smarts

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Difference between Librarian and Documentalist

Being a bookworm is one thing but making books your profession is a whole different ballgame. But let’s not overlook the hobby of being a bookworm, after all that is where it all begins. Wordies start out acquiring a special love for books and developing reading skills and other stuff that you could use as a person who works with books. Two under-rated professions that involve surrounding oneself with books is being a librarian and a documentalist. At first it may sound boring and easy, after all they spend their time in a quiet environment for roughly eight hours a day. But for those who love to acquire new knowledge, who enjoy learning something new for the sake of being better informed, reading can be something of a trance-like state that can only be understood and appreciated by kindred spirits.

Librarian
Documentalist

What is a Librarian or a Documentalist?

When you were a student and visited the library it was easy to dismiss the librarian profession as it looked as if all they had to do was to remind people to stay silent and put the books back on the shelf and that’s it. Truth is, this is one of those moments where there is more to it than meets the eye, action behind the scenes, if you will. A librarian’s daily task can be quite a handful. They are responsible for cataloging books and put them in the proper order and not just back on the shelf. They have to be somewhat familiar with the books in the library in order to handle questions gracefully when put on the spot by inquiring minds looking for the book with just the right juicy bits of information. Once you’re in their seat, I guarantee you it’ll be no stroll in the park.

A documentalist on the other hand is a type of librarian who is trained to do special documentation and they are professional assistants for researchers in search of scientific and technical documents. A documentalist is also commonly referred to as an information specialist.

Basic Requirements of a Librarian or Documentalist

To qualify to become a professional librarian, one must attain at least a bachelor’s degree in library and information studies or they can also qualify by graduating with a bachelor’s degree in information science. In some countries, a master’s degree is actually needed in information science, library science or library and information science. However to be a documentalist, the first thing you have to be is a librarian, and after that if you already have a master's in information science then all you have to do is apply.

Who Needs These Services?

Usually one would think a librarian is just needed in a school or college but in reality many places are in need of their services. With technology advancing like a speeding bullet, their roles have grown broader. They are now in charge of categorizing and storing not only books, but audio materials, video material, magazines, databases and other graphical material that a library deems necessary. Librarians are need in hospitals, professional establishments, elementary schools, high school, college universities, major corporations, website support companies and other places that have databases or store houses of information which need to be managed effectively.

Similarities and Differences

  • A librarian is in charge of categorizing books in the proper order and to have some sort of familiarity with the books they have whereas a documentalist is involved more with researchers that need assistance with materials pertaining to scientific and technical documents.
  • To be a professional librarian, one must have a bachelor’s degree in library and information studies.
  • To be a professional documentalist, first you have to be a librarian and once that’s met you need to have earned a master’s in information science.
  • With the advancement in the modern world, the librarian’s roles have greatly increased compared to what they were before as now they are also in charge of safekeeping audio and video materials that the library deems necessary.

Which one has more book smarts?
  • Librarian
  • Documentalist
 
 

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