Professional Life

I am a Masters candidate for the Masters of Science in Information Sciences degree (MSIS).  While the University of Tennessee’s School of Information Sciences was originally a “Library School” for aspiring librarians, graduates of the graduate program are now prepared to serve as “information professionals.”  A favorite passage from a textbook is that information professionals are “trained to think conceptually and act logically based on what they know.”

In 1968, Harold Borko defined Information Science in his essay “Information Science: What is it?” as the field of study that:

..investigates the properties and behavior of information, the forces governing the flow of information, and the means of processing information for optimum accessibility and usability.  It is concerned with that body of knowledge relating to the origination, collection, organization, storage, retrieval, interpretation, transmission, transformation, and utilization of information.

A unifying theme is that information professionals add value to information – from collecting it through organizing, managing, analyzing, synthesizing, and disseminating.  Borko added there was a “pure science” component focused on inquiry without regard to application, and an “applied science” focused on products and services.

Prior to pursuing a Masters of Science in Information Sciences, I served as a Web content lead and biodiversity scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Biodiversity Informatics Program (reorganized in 2012 as Core Science Analytics and Synthesis) after earning a Bachelor of Science in Ecology and evolutionary biology and interning as a research assistant at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Environmental Sciences Division.

View Tanner Jessel's LinkedIn profileView Tanner Jessel’s profile


  • Open source GIS tools and standards including Q-GIS, WMS, KML

  • Database creation software including Access and SQLiteStudio

  • Database management software including Oracle, Plone, and Drupal

  • Programming languages including Python, R, XML, and HTML

  • Statistical analysis software including R-Studio, SPSS and JMP

  • Metadata standards including EML, ISO 19115, FGDC, Darwin/Dublin Core

  • Global Positioning Systems including GPX files and data dictionaries

  • Data management plans for environmental monitoring

  • Data Security standards, protocols, and best practices

Professional Memberships

  • Organization of Fish and Wildlife Information Managers

  • Association for Information Science and Technology

  • Special Libraries Association

Professional Publications

  • NBII Amphibian Site and North American Reporting Center for Amphibian Malformations Poster presented at the Southeastern Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation annual meeting, Athens, Georgia, 2008

  • Biodiversity in the Information Age: Species Mashup Poster presented at the Organization of Fish and Wildlife Information Managers annual meeting, Cadiz, Kentucky, 2010.

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