Final Reflections

April 20, 2013

I made it through my first semester in Wayne State University’s MLIS program and now feel more confident that I will succeed throughout the rest of my time in the program and beyond.  For my final post I will reflect on what I have learned, what I can bring to my current and future jobs, and how my attitudes and understanding of LIS has evolved since I began the program.

A few things I have learned

I have learned just how versatile a MLIS degree can be.

I have learned about all the different fields within Library Information Science and Information Science and all the professional organizations geared towards them.  It seems there is a professional organization for pretty much every facet of LIS.  If it were not for this course and previous blog posts I may not have found out that there is a Special Library Association or even a Wine Librarians Association.

Through researching my own library leader and reading about my classmate’s leaders I have learned that LIS has had many pioneers who helped to shape and define the field throughout the years.

I have learned about the importance of technology and adapting with the time and how it relates to LIS and is necessary for any library or information agency to continue to exist.

What can you bring to your professional position in the future and/or your current workplace?

Something new I can bring to my current job and any future position is knowledge of ethics and values.  I never really thought about librarians and information professionals as having a code of ethics and values to which they adhere.  I would say that the library code of ethics as outlined by the ALA is one of the things I appreciated learning about the most.  Every MLIS graduate should know these ethics and values regardless of where they end up working, be it a public library, corporate library, or outside the library all together.  The two values that are most important to me are equal and unbiased access to information and privacy.  Now, I have knowledge of the ALA’s ethics and values that can be applied to my current job and any future jobs.

I have also learned more about technology thanks to my other class LIS 6080.  I thought that I had a good understanding of basic technology, especially productivity software, Microsoft Office but I really had no idea of all the features these programs have.  Learning about Office more in depth has already helped my in my current job when I had to help make a spreadsheet and a flyer.  What I learned in LIS 6080 will no doubt be beneficial during my time in the MLIS program, my current job, and any future job.

How have your perceptions and attitudes changed and developed across the semester?

A favorite quote I have come across this semester is “Getting a library degree is the best move I ever made. It opens up so many avenues.  If you’re interested in movies or food or almost anything, it’s the perfect chance to marry something you’re passionate about with a career as a librarian” (Wallace, 2002).  When I first started the program I did not realize just how versatile a MLIS degree can be; it makes me feel more a little more confident that I will be able to find a job after graduating, even if it is not in a historical archive, as I had previously envisioned.  I would still like to work in the National Archives, but seeing all the possibilities has started to change my mind.  Quite frankly, with all the job possibilities out there I may not be able to make up my mind.  At least I have a little more time in the program to get a better idea of how I want to use my degree.  Working on my plan of work has helped me at least focus my interests, which are digital content management and preservation.  Hopefully as I take my electives and other core classes I will develop a better, more focused idea of what I may want to do.  Right now, I feel like I will be very versatile in my job search, which may find me more opportunities because I will not be too picky about the position or location.

In what ways have your understanding about the role of the information professional changed or developed?

My understanding of the information professional’s role has not changed during the course of this semester; it has however developed.  As we have talked about in class, sometimes employers do not even know to look for a MLIS graduate; but the skills we learn really are transferable to a number of positions you might not even realize were a possibility.  We are in the business of information, finding, organizing, and making it accessible.  That is why MLIS graduates are referred to as information professionals these days.  Librarian can be considered an antiquated word that comes with the stigma of a being an old woman in glasses who checks out books and tells noisy children to “sshhhh.”  Information professional much better describes what we do. 

Now, I understand in greater detail the role of information professionals.  We are good at finding and organizing information to make it accessible, and according to Omundson “have ninja-like problem solving skills (2012).  Personally, I love trying to find information, it s kind of like “History Detectives.”  I do also like organizing it and making it easily accessible.  Maybe I have a future as a cataloguer.

References

Omundson, S. (December 1, 1012). Not Your Traditional Librarian. OLA Quarterly. v. 18, no. 4, p19-21. http://www.olaweb.org/assets/OLAQ/olaq_18no4.pdf

Wallace, L. (March 2002). Places an MLS can take you. American Libraries. p44-48.             http://www.ala.org/educationcareers/sites/ala.org.educationcareers/files/       content/careers/paths/al_mls.pdf

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In what ways have your assumptions changed or evolved, and what has remained the same?

I would have to say that my assumptions and beliefs about LIS have for the most part stayed the same. I still assume that possessing a MLIS is necessary in order to succeed in the profession, and beyond. One thing I learn more and more every week is that LIS is more complex than people may realize. I also still assume that earning my MLIS will help me find a good job that I am passionate about and love doing. I still believe that libraries and librarians are essential. Also, I still believe that in order to stay essential, libraries and librarians need to change and adapt with the times. People will always be curious and librarians will be there to help them find what they seek, even if it is using an e-book or electronic database, or a source other than a book. Yes, my assumptions and beliefs have not really changed in these past few months.

What have you learned thus far through the class and from your colleagues that have made you think differently about LIS as a discipline and a profession?

I have learned that there is so much more one can do with a MLIS than people may realize. Through researching my student-guided seminar, I learned so much abut the information science field and what all one can do with a MLIS. There really are many career opportunities that do not involve working in a library. In fact, I learned that an MLIS can be applied to almost any career or job. After all, we know how to organize information and make it accessible. While employers may not know it, a MLIS can be a rather desirable degree for their employees and job candidates to posses. Also, I have learned about how libraries and librarians advocate for access to information intellectual freedom, and a patron’s right to privacy, among other things. Librarians also adhere to a code of ethics outlined by the ALA and are very passionate about what they do.
I have really enjoyed being in the on campus section of this class. I enjoy going to class each week and engaging in intelligent discussions with my classmates. We always seem to have a good, well-rounded discussion where we feel comfortable voicing our opinions. Everyone always brings their own experiences, perspectives, and stories to the table. Particularly, I have liked the student-guided seminars, which have given us all the opportunity to lead the class discussion and research our respective topics and recommend readings to our classmates.
I do not believe that I have learned any thing that has made me think differently about the LIS profession. More accurately, what I have learned has made me think about the LIS profession more in depth and through new and different perspectives.

Professional Journals

April 1, 2013

Journal 1
American Archivist is the journal of Society of American Archivists (SAA). It has been in publication since 1938 and is published semi-annually (cite). Unfortunately, you must be a member of SAA in order to view the most recent (within 3-4 years) electronic versions of the journal online. Fortunately, the Purdy-Kresge Library at Wayne State University has the most recent publications. They also have electronic copies of the publications up to the year 2009. I did discover that limited electronic versions of the more recent publications are available online, usually the cover page and one-two articles.

Intended audience(s)
Members of SAA and professional archivists, though member of the public can access older issues.

Kinds of materials it publishes
American Archivist reflects the thinking about practical and theoretical developments in the archival profession. The journal also addresses relationships between archivists those who use archives. Furthermore, it addresses social, legal, and technological developments that affect the profession and the nature of recorded information. The journal contains articles, case studies, book reviews, and in-depth perspectives. One article from the Spring/Summer 2012 issue was an address from SAA president Helen Tibbo regarding SAA’s diamond jubilee (75 year anniversary). The address focused on how SAA had changed and came of age in the digital era (Tibbo 2012). This was not an article but a transcript of an address given by Tibbo at an event celebrating SAA’s anniversary. The fall/winter 2009 issue contained a short article about how the readers view American Archivist. The article states that because the journal was going to be moving towards becoming an electronic publication it may be time to re-envision American Archivist. The journal was looking for feedback from its readers. I liked this short article because it shows that American Archivists cares about and listens to its readers to give them what they want.

Is the journal peer reviewed?
American Archivist is peer reviewed. Also, when the occasion calls for it, a supplement of peer-reviewed content that was not able to be included in the regular issue appears online only and has unrestricted access.

Any characteristics you find of particular interest
As I am in the Archival Administration Certificate program this is an important journal for me to read and keep up with. It should be a great resource to keep me apprised of current events and practices in the archival profession. Also, the journal could be a good resource when it comes time to look for a job.

Journal 2
College & Research Libraries is a bimonthly journal that features scholarly research in academic librarianship. It is a publication of The Association of College & Research Libraries which is a division of the ALA (ACRL, 2013). Every issue from 1997 to present are available online with unrestricted access. I chose this publication because one of the journals for this entry was suggested to be from a field of LIS not within our career purview.

Intended audience(s)
The ACRL is a professional association comprised of academic librarians and interested individuals. These are the intended audiences of College & Research Libraries. However, since the public has open access to the publication, they are also one the audiences reached by the journal.

Kinds of materials it publishes
College & Research Libraries primarily publishes content and articles pertaining to the academic librarianship field. One article from the January 2013 issue that I found particular interesting was about library services offered at international branches of U.S. colleges and institutions of higher learning. The article discusses the experiences of the librarians, challenges, and how the library collaborates with their main U.S. institution. The journal conducted surveys of forty librarians from international library branches of U.S. colleges. The questions were mainly about references questions received at the libraries and services provided (Green, 2013). I think I found this article interesting because when I was an undergraduate I spent a semester abroad in England. My semester was spent at Harlaxton College, a branch of my university in Indiana, University of Evansville (UE). I remember the librarian telling us that they were able to offer JSTOR through UE’s account. She said how it was quite the “battle” to get JSTOR to allow access to Harlaxton Students because we were in a different country than UE, who held the JSTPR account. Thankfully, they were able to come to an agreement because I used JSTOR many times while abroad to write papers and do other research. Another article I found interesting was from the November 2012 issue, Unusual Suspects: The Case of Insider Theft in Research Libraries and Special Collections. The article talks about libraries and special collections need to create and maintain security procedures to prevent particularly insider theft (Samuelson, Sare, and Coker, 2012).
The journal also does book reviews of relevant subject matter.

Is the journal peer reviewed
College & Research Libraries does not appear to be peer reviewed. Rather, it has an editorial board that is comprised of several people from academic institutions all over the United States.

Any characteristics you find of particular interest
While the journal definitely has some interesting articles and reviews, this probably will not be a journal I read regularly because it pertains to a field of LIS that is not in my career purview. However, since I can get this journal online without any subscription I may peruse it every once in a while.

How are the journals similar?
Both journals contain reviews of books and articles relevant to their respective fields. The journals are also both professional with the articles and reviews written by people in the field. Both journals offer at least some of the past and current issues online so the public and not just members can view the content.

How are the journals different?
The journals have different focuses and contain different subject matter. Only one journal (American Archivist) is peer reviewed. The journals have different intended audiences but both audiences are in the LIS field. The journals also have different publication schedules American Archivist is published twice a year while College & Research Libraries is published every other month. Thus, College & Research Libraries published more journals every year. However, this did not seem to negatively affect the content of the journal.

What do these similarities and differences tell you about the LIS field?
The two journals tell me how big the LIS field is and just how much it can encompass. These journals contain different subject matter but are about the same field. There really is much more to LIS than people realize. You can have two journals, one about archives and records, the other about college libraries and you might not think these two journals could possibly be related. But they are, they both are about fields within LIS.

References

ACRL Association of College & Research Libraries. (2013). Publications. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/acrl/publications.

Green, H. (January 2013) Libraries across land and sea: Academic library services on international branch campuses. College Research Libraries. vol 74., no. 1. Retrieved from http://crl.acrl.org/content/74/1/9.full.pdf+html

Pugh, M. J. (2009). Readers: What do you think about the american archivist? The American Archivist. vol. 72, no. 2, pp. 305-310. Retrieved from http://archivists.metapress.com/content/gl31028475kq1x0t/fulltext.pdf

Samuelson, T., Sare, L., and Coker, C. (November 2012). Unusual suspects: The case of insider theft in research libraries and special collections. College & Research Libraries. vol. 73, no. 6. Retrieved from http://crl.acrl.org/content/73/6/556.full.pdf+html.

The Society of American Archivists. (2013). Welcome to American archivist online. Retrieved from http://archivists.metapress.com/home/main.mpx

Tibbo, H. (2012). On the occasion of SAA’s diamond jubilee: A profession coming of age in the digital era. The American Archivist. vol. 75, no. 1, pp. 16-34. Retrieved from http://archivists.metapress.com/content/a054u0t82478x41v/fulltext.pdf

No author. (2013). College & research libraries. Retrieved from http://crl.acrl.org.