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

Advertisements

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.

Off the Record- http://offtherecord.archivists.org/
This blog is through the SAA Jackie Dooley, who serves as president of the SAA, is the main contributor. There are two other contributors though Dooley has supplied all the posts for the year so far.
The tagline is “Join the Conversation with SAA leaders.” Under the About this Blog tag is the description, “Off the Record is an informal communication channel on which conversations can take place about ongoing SAA activities and issues, as well other topics of broad interest to archivists. We want to both highlight such topics and spark discussion” (Dooley, 2013).

Issues Discussed
There are not very many issues discussed in the blog. Most of the posts are about SAA news with some stories of interest pertaining to the field. One of the non-SAA related posts has to do with the Georgia Archives. Historians, genealogists, archivists, librarians, and other Georgia citizens came together to fight for increased funding and the transfer of responsibility of the archives from the Secretary of State to the University System of Georgia (Those Amazing Georgia Activists Keep Fighting Dooley, 2013). The university is working hard to research and address the issues that come with transferring responsibility of the Georgia Archives (Dooley, 2013). Thee SAA has also been providing input and will submit a letter highlighting the issues they feel are important for the university to consider (Dooley, 2013). While this post is not directly related to the SAA it is about something with which they are involved.
The only other post that is not directly related to the SAA is titled “Should a Legal Right to “Archival Privilege” be established?” The post stemmed from a SAA council discussion in January 2013. This post is actually very relevant to what we have been discussing in class, privacy and ethics. The Boston College Library was served with a subpoena in May of 2011 by a Federal District Court to turn over closed oral histories because they were believed to contain information relevant to a murder investigation in Northern Ireland. There have been many appeals and a request to review that case is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court (Dooley, 2013). The basic question pertaining to this case is “how much confidentiality can an archivist legally guarantee to a donor” (Dooley, 2013)? This is an interesting post and if you have time I encourage you to visit the site and read it.

Personal Observations
There are not very many posts in this blog, but this is understandable as the contributors are all busy professionals. On average, there are about two posts per month. This really is a blog about the SAA with a little bit of related news included. The posts are also short and to the point so busy professionals, and students can read them quickly.

What I Learned
I learned more about SAA from a non-official perspective, “off the record.” This would be a good site to read about SAA news and current events.

References

Dooley J. (2013) Off the record: Join the conversations with SAA leaders. Retrieved from http://offtherecord.archivists.org/.

Disruptive Library Technology Jester- http://dltj.org/
This blog was started and is maintained by Peter Murray, Assistant Director in the Technology Services Development at Lyrasis. Lyrasis is a company that “collaborates with libraries and information professionals to transform their institutions, operations, and technologies, enabling them to meet the current and future needs of library users more effectively and with greater efficiency” (Murray, 2013). Murray’s blog is mainly an outlet for his ideas, concepts, and references. The blog’s tagline is “We’re Disrupted, We’re Librarians, and We’re Not Going to Take It Anymore” (Murray, 2013).

Issues Discussed
As the title suggests, this blog is about technology. The technology is discussed as it relates to library information science. The main issues discussed in the blog posts are about changes in the world of technology and how it affects the field of library information science. The blog is first and foremost an outlet for the author to discuss his ideas and observations about these new technologies (Murray, 2013).
One of Murray’s posts that I found particularly interesting is about the ALA and open source communities. In the post from February Murray encourages library professional to vote in favor of including his talk about open source software at an “ignite” session at the ALA conference in Chicago this summer (Murray, 2013). Murray believes open source communities are greatly important. Murray’s presentation would show libraries how they can be part of an open source community (Murray, 2013). If Murray is able to give his presentation I look forward to attending it if I am able to go to the conference.
Not all of the posts are library related another post from February is a review of an Airbender Keyboard for an iPad. The iPad attaches to the keyboard to give it more of a laptop feel. For the most part Murray seems to have positive feelings about the keyboard with only a few issues (Murray, 2013). This is the only post that is not directly related to library information science.

Personal Observations
This blog has more posts than the other one I followed. There are an average of 3-4 posts per month. However, a number of the links to the posts do not work. On the main page of the blog one can look at a list of links to posts by category, tags, or dates. Looking at the posts by date, two of the three links to posts for January do not work. All three links to posts work for the month of February while three out of four do not work for March. I tried searching for the title of the post as well but with no luck. Perhaps the posts were removed and that is why they cannot be found.

What I Learned
I learned more about technology and how it relates to the field of library information science. This would be a great resource to read about changing technologies from the perspective of someone in the field. The blog name and tagline are catchy and memorable. Honestly, the name is why I chose this blog in the first place. However, I was not as impressed with the blog as I thought I would be. Still, if you have some extra time check it out. Hopefully more of the links to blog posts will be working.

References

Murray P. E. (2013). About the blog. Retrieved from http://dltj.org/aboutblog/.

Murray P. E. (2013). Disruptive library technology jester. Retrieved from http://dltj.org/article/resourcesync-draft/.

Murray P. E. (February 2013). A great ipad keyboard/case combination: New trent airbender. Retrieved from http://dltj.org/article/new-trent-airbender-review/.

Murray P. E. (February 2013). Vote for an ALA2013 ignite session on open source communities. Retrieved from http://dltj.org/article/ala2013-ignite-session-on-open-source-communities/

Freedom to Read Week

March 18, 2013

February 24 marked the beginning of Freedom to Read Week in Canada; the U.S.A. has a similar week in October, Banned Book Week. These events celebrate our right to read whatever we want.
In honor of this week and our friends to the north, south if you live in the Detroit area, I read a book that has been challenged or banned pretty much ever since it was published and continues to be today. Published in 1974, The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier is a young adult book. Teachers at the 1975 National Council of English Teachers Convention applauded the book, calling it “Watergate at the high school level” (Baldassarro 2012). When the American Library Association (ALA) released their list of the 100 most commonly challenged books from 1990-1999 The Chocolate War was number four on the list. Ten years later when the ALA released their list of the 100 most commonly challenged books from 2000-2009 it had moved up one spot to number 3 (ALA 1999; 2009).

Here is a short, spoiler free synopsis of the book:
Jerry Renault is a freshman at Trinity, a private Catholic high school. He refuses to sell chocolate in the annual school fundraiser, which may not seem very radical but through doing so he challenges a secret school society called The Vigils and their leader, Archie. What ensues is an all out war and the only question: Who will survive (Cormier 1974)?

Why it has been Banned/Challenged:
When I started reading the book I immediately noticed the language. The teenage characters use curse words. While this does not bother me, I know my parents probably would not have wanted me reading a book with such foul language, as they would put it, when I was a teenager, the book’s main audience. However, they would not have demanded the books be removed from the shelves, they would just tell me not to read it. There is also some sexual content nothing too graphic; it is on the teenage level. The main thing that probably makes this an often banned/challenged book is the violence. There are teenage boys getting beaten and the adult figures in the book do nothing to stop it. There is also no comeuppance for the main bully, Archie, who quite frankly sounds like a bit of a sociopath. I can definitely see why this books has been banned/challenged. Though I do not condone banning books and believe anyone who wants to read a book should be able to read it. If you do not agree with something in a book, do not read it. Do not take the book away from the rest of us by having it banned. Ok, that is enough of me on my soapbox.

Thoughts on the Book
I will admit, I did not enjoy the book as much as I thought I would. This had nothing to do with the content that made it a banned/challenged book, I just could not really get into it. I still may read the sequel, Beyond the Chocolate War, because there was an open ending to the Chocolate War, which I do not typically like. So I may need to read the sequel to see what happens next.

References

American Library Association. (1999). Top 100 banned/challenged books: 1990-1999. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/challengedbydecade/1990_1999

American Library Association. (2009). Top 100 banned/challenged books: 2000-2009. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/challengedbydecade/2000_2009

Baldassarro R. Wolf. (March 12, 2012). Banned book awareness: “The chocolate war.” Retrieved from http://bannedbooks.world.edu/2012/03/12/banned-books-awareness-chocolate-war/.

Cormier, R. (1974). The chocolate war. New York, USA: Random House.

Mid-Semester Analysis

March 3, 2013

Well, we are at that mid-semester mark. My first semester in Wayne State’s MLIS program is halfway done. While I have been enjoying my first semester in the program, I am glad it’s halfway done. If I can make it through the first semester I think that’s a good sign for the rest of the program. Plus, it will be nice to have a short break before I start my next class in June. It has been a little difficult getting used to being a student again. Part of me misses all the free time I used to have and reading for fun.
In this post I will look back at some of my previous entries and see if anything has changed in the past six-seven weeks. Looking back at my first couple of entries, I still feel the same about LIS and the information profession. I still believe that libraries and librarians are essential and that they need to adapt in order to stay that way. I would also say that my personal goals and objectives are still basically the same. I still want a job that I love that also pays well. Though I am not entirely sure what that job may be anymore. There are so many different careers out there for a MLIS degree. Just because you have a MLIS does not mean you have to work in a library. Recently, I lead a seminar during class about Information Science careers beyond the library. I am glad that drew that topic for my seminar. It was very interesting to research.

Blogging and the Rest of the Semester
At first, I was not exactly thrilled about keeping a blog. It was something I had never done before; I did not really know how one kept a blog or even started one. Now, I find that I actually enjoy it and plan to keep the blog throughout my time at Wayne State University and maybe even beyond. This blog is a good way to make me think about the LIS program and what I want from it. It will also be a good resource when I work on my e-portfolio. That is the main reason why I plan on keeping the blog throughout my time at Wayne State. I would say the first two blog posts were the ones I valued the most. They made me think about why I am in this program and what I want from my MLIS degree. I did also enjoy the job analysis post, which gave me the opportunity to look through listerves for jobs I might want to do. It was a good way for me to determine the courses and experience I will need to find and obtain my dream job. Though looking at what all is out there I may have a few dream jobs now. That is another thing I have determined, there are too many things I want to do with this degree. I may end up jumping from job to job every few years unable to make up my mind. Maybe that is something to think about for the rest of the semester and throughout my time in the program. Hopefully by the time I graduate I will have a more focused idea of what I want to do with my degree. However, even if I do come up with a more focused idea, I am still the kind of person who does not want to do the same thing for the rest of my life. So I guess it’s a good thing I am earning such a versatile degree. For now, for the rest of the semester I will continue to try to stay on top of all my work and do the best I can. I would like to make A’s in both my classes.
All in all I would say not that much has changed about my beliefs, goals, and objective since the beginning of the semester. They are still at the core the same.