Student internships within an information consulting practice: a case study of taxonomy design

Publication Date09 Jul 2018
AuthorVirginia M. Tucker,Jonathan Dale,Vaughn Egge,Ellie Fullman
SubjectLibrary & information science,Librarianship/library management,Library & information services
Student internships within an
information consulting practice: a
case study of taxonomy design
Virginia M. Tucker
School of Information, San Jose State University, San Jose, California, USA
Jonathan Dale
Alliance Healthcare Foundation, San Diego, California, USA
Vaughn Egge
University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA, and
Ellie Fullman
American International Montessori, Berkeley, California, USA
Purpose This paper reports on a taxonomy design project involving graduate students in information
science (MLIS degree) working as intern-consultants under the guidance of an information science faculty
member. The consulting team developed a taxonomy that would reect current academic departmental
structures and be used to optimise publisher tools for generating metrics and interpretive assessment.
Design/methodology/approach In this case study, three students worked under the direction of a
faculty member on a consulting team for a Silicon Valley company that provides business analytics to
academic publishers.Tasked with designing a taxonomy of disciplinary knowledgeto support the companys
analytical software tools, the students developed methods for environmental scans, vocabulary design,
validationand taxonomy management for the projectobjectives.
Findings The consulting experience provedto be highly benecial for the students as an opportunity to
take concepts learned in their coursework and apply them in practice. The project team delivered to the
company the most detailed taxonomy of academic disciplines in the marketplace, along with
recommendations for its maintenance and management for ongoing support of business objectives. The
company was supportivethroughout the internship programme, generatingcollaborative contributions from
all stakeholders.
Originality/value As more students earning an Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) or
similar degreemove into a wide array of careers within businessenvironments, internship experiencethrough
consultingcan be an essential advantage to their preparation.
Keywords Academic publishing, Internships, Consulting, Taxonomy development,
MLIS practicum, Taxonomy design
Paper type Case study
1. Introduction
Within industry settings, the demand for structures to organise knowledge and manage
growing collections of data is ever increasing. The skills acquired by MLIS graduates are
The authors thank the exceptional people at RedLink they worked with on the taxonomy project:
Deepika Bajaj, Nikos Houssos, Georgios Papadapoulos and Dmitris Spanos.
case study
Received7 February 2018
Revised16 April 2018
Accepted17 April 2018
Informationand Learning Science
Vol.119 No. 7/8, 2018
pp. 403-413
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/ILS-02-2018-0008
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