Michael Bellacosa, Fairfield County Chapter [immediate past-president], Museums, Arts and Humanities Division
Since my LIS career is just beginning after a radical professional transition, I am completely focused on moving into the future with all the change which that entails. Fortunately, my 18-year prior career as a trader, risk manager and business manager on Wall Street taught me many things about working in rapidly evolving and innovating environments: most importantly, either you plunge in to lead or you surf the wave or you get left behind [with a life preserver if you’re lucky].
As a newly-minted librarian, I have few preconceived notions about the profession: indeed, while I still like the term “librarian”, I have a very expansive view of the meaning of that word as well as the word “library”. Because my best strategy for breaking into this new field is to leverage my substantial [yet strictly speaking unrelated] resume, I am imagining the analogies between what I did before my MLS degree [completed last December] and what I can do now.
One trail I’ve been following is the relationship between managing the risk to portfolios of financial assets [i.e. hedging] and managing the risk to collections of digital assets [i.e. digital preservation]. I think the analogies can be generalized to physical and hybrid physical/digital collections. Further, many of the same risk management principles can also be applied to the digitization process itself. From this launching point, I’m working to invent a model for LIS professionals to use in making cost-benefit/risk-management business case arguments to non-LIS administrators in charge of the resources for funding such programs.
If I succeed at translating my skills and experience from the finance-world to the info-world and apply these to current and upcoming challenges in the LIS field, then I will have become “future ready”.
Michael Bellacosa completed his MLS in December 2010. Before commencing that program, he was a currency trader and a risk manager on Wall Street for nearly 20 years. His primary interests are in digital preservation, challenges from technological obsolescence, and the effective use of current information and communication technologies for preserving and providing access to special collections. Michael presented the basic outline of his model at the “Contributed Papers” session on June 14 at 10am. Check SLA’s Web site for his handout.