Guide to AIIP Member Services

Information underpins the effective functioning of any organization or initiative:  developing it, finding it, organizing it, communicating it, and advising on where to put it to work.

AIIP members give their clients the ability to make the most of the information that is pivotal to their success.

Learn more about the information-based services we provide to our clients.


Do you have a collection of materials but no record of what the individual items are or where you can find them? A consultant with cataloging/indexing/abstracting skills can help you organize your repository.

  • Cataloging is the process of creating, recording and storing descriptive information for the materials owned by an entity (business, information center, etc.). The catalog records provide a permanent representation of the items and are used to locate these items.
  • Indexing is the process of applying subject descriptions to help users locate relevant items in a collection. Many types of materials are suitable for indexing – books, journal articles, database entries, website pages, and more. Indexing is often associated with a taxonomy (or controlled vocabulary or thesaurus), which provides an organized listing of the terms applied in the indexing process.
  • Abstracting is the process of creating an abstract, or summary, to describe a work. Abstracts are typically required for academic publication of journal articles and include the purpose of the research, the methods used to investigate the hypothesis or topic, and the results reached.

Relevant practice areas: INF, W&E


Coaching is not just for sports teams. Executive or business coaches can help individuals and corporations become more successful by helping them understand where they are now and how best to get to a future state. Coaches can be strategists and accountability partners. AIIP coaches have expertise in a variety of areas.

Relevant practice area: T&C

Communications Management

Independent information professionals can help manage a company’s external and internal communications needs – from developing a communications plan to implementation, monitoring, and assessment.

Relevant practice area: M&C

Competitive/Business Intelligence

Competitive intelligence (CI) focuses on the various external forces that can impact a company’s competitiveness. The potential topics covered by CI are wide-ranging and include competitors, customers, suppliers, regulations, social/cultural trends, technology developments and much more. CI research can be said to encompass business and industry research as well as some forms of market/marketing research.

Business intelligence is focused internally on a company’s own software applications and tools that aid in analysis of its business data.

Competitive intelligence and business intelligence are not related, but they are listed together here because many people often confuse the two and think they’re interchangeable. You’ll find AIIP members with specialized skills in both areas.

Relevant practice area: RES

Current Awareness/Monitoring

Some of our members are experts in the use of both subscription and free resources to track articles, research and publications in specific subjects and fields. You can save time and money by hiring a professional to deliver bibliographies of relevant output to your library team, or to provide the most up-to-date information on companies and topics for PR and marketing teams. Depending on your needs, someone can create summaries and/or synthesize/overview trends in the specific subject(s) of interest, as well as obtain full-text for requested items. In searching the AIIP directory, we suggest combining this service with an expertise area.

Relevant practice area: RES

Data Analysis

Once data is collected it must be analyzed to be relevant. After all, a spreadsheet of numbers doesn’t mean much by itself. Both qualitative information and quantitative data can be analyzed in various ways. Analysis deliverables can be written reports, charts or dashboards (see Data Visualization), or a combination of them. AIIP data analysts can show you trends and patterns and otherwise bring information to life so it is valuable.

Relevant practice areas: INF, RES

Database Development

You’re collecting data but having trouble envisioning how to organize it. Done well, databases are great tools to help you organize, analyze, use and package the data you already have. Our members know the ins and outs of database development to enable you to optimize the value of your content.

Relevant practice areas: INF, RES

Data Visualization

Finding information is just the first step in providing insight to clients of all types. Presenting those data in a visual context that helps the reader easily grasp the meaning and significance of that information is a combination of art and science. Some of our AIIP members excel at that combination.

Relevant practice area: M&C


Genealogy research can come in all forms whether you’re tracing your own family history or providing research to others. Researchers in this area may just as easily spend hours pouring over microfiche as they might delving into newer online resources or interviewing those who might provide additional valuable input on the family tree in question.

Relevant practice area: RES

Grant/Proposal Writing

Writing doesn’t come easily to everyone even if strategies and tactics might. For those applying for community or government grants, for example, it’s imperative that you get your idea across efficiently and succinctly and write in such a way that the interest of the reviewers, after a long day or reading, is not just piqued but absolutely engaged. Some of our AIIP members have experience doing exactly this.

Relevant practice area: W&E

Information Audit/Management

The activities of collecting, storing, distributing, archiving or disposing of information in an organization are found in this category Effective information management also requires knowledge of taxonomy and content management principles to ensure that this information can be found.  AIIP members with these skills can guide you through the assessment phase and determine if you need specialized software to implement the process. Sometimes it’s necessary to harness that collective intelligence of an organization and AIIP members with expertise in knowledge management (KM) can help you to capture, develop, share and incorporate organizational knowledge so it aligns with the company’s business objectives including continuous improvement and competitive advantage.

Relevant practice area: INF

Library Services Consulting

Information professionals who consult in this area can help you make decisions for your information needs or information center on many of the following topics: IT, websites, space planning, collection development, digitization projects, fundraising, staffing, strategic planning, and more. The first step is typically conducting a needs analysis, with subsequent steps determined based on the outcome. This can often include research into appropriate solutions, costing, stakeholder communications, to implementation.

Relevant practice area: INF

Management Consulting

Management consulting, like many services, takes multiple forms. Members who offer this service have often spent many years in a corporate environment and have taken that expertise, combined it with an uncanny ability to think strategically and now work in close partnership with senior executives, offering advice in a variety of subject matter areas.  

Relevant practice area: T&C

Private Investigations

Need help in preparing for a court case, making a hiring decision, locating an individual? Private investigation (PI) work isn’t all cloak and dagger or as one of our long-time PI members says, “in the trunk with the junk!” it requires skilled fact-finding, keen observation, and outstanding communication and analytical skills. Independent information professionals working in this area will, where required by law, have a license, access to subscription and free information resources, and the skills to both find and analyze the facts about specific individuals and companies.

Relevant practice area: RES

Project Management

Is your team having trouble moving projects from concept to completion? A project manager can help you define the project scope, identify contingencies, establish the action plan, see that it is executed, monitor progress, and bring it to a successful close. It’s often more efficient to bring in a project manager with an independent, outside perspective, to avoid getting caught up in the details of the domain. Our members with these skills can certainly help build efficiency.

Relevant practice areas: INF, T&C

Prospect Research

Prospect research provides detailed information about your prospective donors. This type of research not only gives you guidance about how much individuals have the capacity to give but also about their inclination to give. With prospect research you’ll also learn which organizations have received donations from these persons in the past and you’ll learn key details about their personal life so that you can build a relationship with them.

Relevant practice area: RES

Records Management/Archives

Feeling overwhelmed by either paper or digital documents? Worried about how to recover documents after a disaster?  Some of our members who focus in this area can help you organize materials, identify what is confidential and valuable – and what can be destroyed, set up a system for tracking items, and ensure that materials are physically secure, accessible when needed, and usable.

Relevant practice area: INF

Research - Business/Industry

Interested in learning more about a particular sector or industry to help make business decisions? Business/industry research could involve a high-level overview of a sector, a deep dive into a specific market, analysis of a company and its financials, and much more. Independent information professionals save valuable time because of their familiarity with the many tools and resources available to research these questions – online, fee-based, public records, etc.

Relevant practice area: RES

Research - Historical

Historical research is popular with various kinds of individuals and businesses. Authors and screenwriters need it to ensure authenticity and accuracy in their works. Other individuals and companies can benefit from it for a variety of reasons. Persons skilled in historical research are knowledgeable about various resources to get the knowledge you need.

Relevant practice area: RES

Research - Legal/Legislative/Regulatory

Curious whether new regulations are being considered by a government agency that might impact your business? Need to understand state or local statutes to ensure compliance? Our members with skills in this type of research know how to obtain this information efficiently using appropriate tools and can deliver insightful analysis of its implications for your business.

Relevant practice area: RES

Research - Markets/Marketing

Understanding the needs of your market is critical for business success. A market research project can help identify your customers’ pain points and drive targeted product development. Services range from concept/product testing, brand/image evaluation, market segmentation, feasibility studies, and more. Independent information professionals with skills in this type of research can also help create effective marketing plans to help ensure that you are spending marketing dollars on initiatives most appropriate for your consumer base.

Relevant practice area: RES

Research – Patents/IP

Patent and intellectual property research is highly specialized. Many of our members who perform various other kinds of research will not tackle patents and intellectual property research. This is an area that is rife with complications and can lead to failure of businesses to maintain control of their new product developments and errors can be very costly financially. Expert searchers and consultants in this area can provide untold value to companies at all stages.

Relevant practice area: RES

Research - Primary

Since primary research is always customized for a specific audience, it is often the best way to get answers to specific questions you might have. Research techniques include surveys, interviews and focus groups, among others, and can be both quantitative and qualitative in nature. In primary research one gets responses from individuals and subject matter experts and then analyzes their input. AIIP members with expertise in this area can help you select, develop and execute appropriate research designs and sampling protocols and often have expertise in statistics and standards of scientific research. Primary research is in contrast to secondary research, which reviews and analyzes existing information on a topic.

Relevant practice area: RES

Research - Public Records

While much information has been digitized, there is still a great deal of public data and records that are available in print form and held in physical spaces. Independent information professionals’ services cover both digital and print records, and range from research on court filings, onsite searches at courts and administrative agencies, to background checks, and more.

Relevant practice area: RES

Research – Other

You name it, often an AIIP member who specializes in research can find information on a topic of your choice. Utilize the search and analytical skills of our members to save you time to focus on your core business. If searching on this term, we encourage you to also select a particular area of subject expertise for the most precise retrieval.

Relevant practice area: RES

Social Media Management

Are you or your customers engaged in social media? Of course, they are! We all are. A consultant in this area can help establish a social media strategy appropriate for your company and brand, define its content, select the necessary tools and apps to utilize, execute, monitor, and evaluate the plan.

Relevant practice area: M&C


Many of our members have taken their professional expertise “on the road.” The domain expertise varies as do the presentation formats and topics, but some of the most well-known speakers on information and research-related topics are AIIP member and are considered the thought-leaders of the profession.

Relevant practice areas: M&C, T&C

Survey Development

While there are many tools to help you conduct surveys, making sure you ask the right questions and phrase them properly requires expertise in survey design. An AIIP member can help clarify the research question and the population to ask, create questions that will lead to reliable and valid information, select the most appropriate data collection methodology (personal interviews, focus group, mail or email collection, etc.), as well as analyze and interpret the findings.

Relevant practice areas: M&C, RES

Taxonomy/Thesaurus Development

Are your customers having trouble navigating your website to find like items – such as black flat sandals? A taxonomy can help organize your product offerings in a hierarchy that categories them by specific qualities (such as color, style, heel height, etc.). An AIIP member with skills in taxonomy/ thesaurus development can help create an effective tool to help both internal staff and external users/customers navigate a volume of information or products. IIPs with skills in this area will be familiar with American National Standards Institute/National Information Standards Organization guidelines for thesauri development.

Relevant practice area: INF

Technology Services

With so many different kinds of technology available, it’s hard to talk about all of the related services that AIIP persons can perform. If you’re trying to understand how to use technology, optimize its use, or determine which kinds of platforms or devices might best suit you, contact the AIIP members who list this service as a skill. Each person can tell you what s/he does best.

Relevant practice area: INF


Do you need training in a particular field? AIIP members with these skills will develop and deliver training and presentation materials in their areas of expertise. Many will customize their training topics and methods to your specific needs.

Relevant practice area: T&C


Handling documents or communications in multiple languages? Use an information professional to provide translations for you. To find AIIP members with specific language skills, please see the languages listing and add them to your search.

Relevant practice areas: M&C, W&E

Web Analytics/SEO

We all know it’s not enough to “just” have a website to promote your business or organization or services.  In the more traditional library field the basis of the profession includes “organizing and labelling information so that it can be found.” Many our AIIP members have these skills coupled with up-to-date technology expertise such as search engine optimization (SEO) to help you analyze your web performance whether it be on a outward facing website or an internal intranet. They can also help with design, technology, launch, and ongoing management. If you’re interested in this type of consultant, we also suggest you look for one that offers Design and User Experience services.

Relevant practice areas: INF, M&C

Web Content Development

Having trouble with content marketing and keeping your website fresh with new and updated content? AIIP members can help write the website content, provide blog postings, white papers, advocacy materials, and more.

Relevant practice areas: M&C, W&E

Website Design/Development

Designing engaging and effective websites requires knowledge of principles of user experience (UX) and information architecture. An independent information professional with this expertise can help you understand how your users interact with your website and will help to develop an aesthetic and functional interface. Applying this understanding to the development of your website can help make it easier for your customers to locate and act on the product information they find – ultimately creating more satisfied customers for your business.

Relevant practice area: M&C


An information professional with these skills can help you by authoring or editing magazine articles, book chapters, white papers, and more. These types of services also typically will include helping you navigate the publication process, including identifying appropriate distribution outlets and negotiating contracts. Those writing web content specifically can also be found under the Web Content Development area.

Relevant practice area: W&E

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