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About the ISIP Internship

The General Library System (GLS) has established the "Information Specialist Internship Program" (ISIP) to increase awareness of the role of information specialists in libraries, and to develop a diverse learning community that includes students from historically underrepresented groups.

ISIP provides second and third year undergraduates at the University of Wisconsin-Madison an experiential learning opportunity to obtain knowledge and hands-on experience in the field of information and library services.

The internship is a paid opportunity, including mentoring and work experience in key aspects of the information specialist profession. The program is designed to provide exposure, mentoring, and training in the field that will complement and enhance each student's specific academic and career development goals. ISIP's structure is based upon a 2 year cycle, divided by three to four units/modules per year that focus upon the essential foundation of the information profession. Each unit will last approximately eight weeks and entails 8-10 hours of work each week.

The first year will provide a breadth of exposure to critical areas of the field, supervised by a mentor located at an assigned campus library or information center. The second year ISIP will include more in-depth experience in a unit(s) based upon the interest of the intern and will include a pay increase.

The internship program will provide participants with exposure to different work environments representative of the academic profession, and essential experiences in the following areas: collection management, information technology, public services, technical services and special libraries. See the ISIP Experience link for more information.

ISIP Experience

The Information Specialist Internship Program provides many useful experiences by completing the module areas listed below. Module area summaries and goals. Sample module outlines for Memorial Library Access Services (area: Public Service) and UW Digital Collections Center (area: IT).

Collection Management

Collection Management staff build and manage the Libraries' collections in support of campus research and instructional needs. Their responsibilities include:

  • Selecting books, journals, electronic resources and media
  • Consulting with faculty and students about their information needs
  • Evaluating and assessing collections
  • Developing collection policies
  • Compiling and reporting collections data for various purposes

Information Technology (IT)

Information technology is a broad subject area concerned with technology and other aspects of managing and processing information, especially in large organizations. In particular, IT deals with the use of computers and computer software to convert, store, process, transmit and retrieve information. Within this program, IT will specifically cover the planning, development, design, application, and integration of technologies within the library and information environment.

Public Services

Public services are the "face" of the information center or library, focusing on direct assistance to people in finding, evaluating and using information. Although much of public service work is done in person at a staffed help desk or public office, such personalized service can also be provided remotely by phone, email, IM or other communication methods. Specific library public service roles include:

  • Research assistance
  • Checkout of library materials
  • Help with using computer programs
  • Class or workshop instruction
  • Individual consultations on any information need

Technical Services

The Technical Services division in the library supports the mission of the Library by acquiring, processing, organizing, providing access to, and preserving the library's print and electronic collections. Their work is essential to helping users find library materials.

Special Libraries

Special libraries offer unique opportunities to work in a specialized environment of interest, such as corporations, hospitals, the military, museums, private businesses, government and academic settings. Special libraries on the UW-Madison campus are discipline-specific information centers and support the learning, teaching and research in academic departments. Examples of special libraries at UW-Madison are:

The ISIP intern will be exposed to the breadth of activities and functions that define an academic special library, including but not limited to: Information technology; Public services; Collection management; Technical services; and discipline-specific activities.


Commitment to full ISIP participation in addition to paid weekly work hours will include: attending scheduled meetings (unit supervisor or mentor and interns); a local conference; as well as the completion of an exit interview designed to enable the development of the internship program for future participants.

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What is an "Information Specialist?"

Today's information specialists are: librarians, Internet guides, educators, researchers, public administrators, information architects, children's services specialists, reader's advisors, and patent information scientists…the choices and career directions are boundless. Career opportunities exist in academic institutions, large corporations, libraries, museums, research and data centers, government agencies, private consulting firms, or as independent information brokers. Information specialists are people who manage and maintain the world of information, and run the institutions that serve people's needs for lifelong learning.

More information on library careers

ISIP Benefits

First-hand experience in the field of information science; mentoring provided by a current graduate student in Library and Information Studies, as well as a professional information specialist staff member; earned pay with periodic increases; experience that will directly advance your academic and career goals; flexible schedule; and the opportunity to attend a professional conference. If you are interested in pursuing a career in an information field, ISIP would provide an invaluable advancement opportunity for you.

Who is Eligible?

Eligibility is limited to second year and third year undergraduates enrolled on the UW-Madison campus, at least half-time, during the academic year, regardless of race, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation. The internship is designed to increase diversity in information specialist professions in the United States.


All student applicants will be asked how their cultural experiences and/or backgrounds will enhance the internship and how their unique perspective would contribute to the program. Evaluation of individual contributions will be made on the basis of actual demonstrated experience and talent and not assumed based on race or gender.

Up to five new interns are selected per academic year. An application for Fall 2014 will be available in August 2014.

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