Tag Archives: MLIS

The Year so Far

Back in August I wrote a post setting forth a few key goals for myself in my second year of graduate school. During my first year my plan was just to figure out how to survive in the library school world and hopefully get a summer internship. This year I wanted to set some more ambitious goals that I’d really have to put forth some effort to accomplish. Well now that I’ve finished up my winter quarter and therefor over half way through the school year, I thought it would be great time to check in on my goals and see what I should concentrate on in my final quarter.

So as a refresher course here are the goals I set back in September before my school year started.

  • Volunteer at ALA Midwinter – This year it is taking place in Seattle so I’m assuming UW’s iSchool will be hijacked during the conference. Who wouldn’t sneak off to an ALA conference when it is just a bus ride across town? Once school starts I should start asking around about how I can get involved.
  • Complete a DFW – This is a Directed Field Work or to some a practicum or an unpaid internship for credit. Now I know many students dislike unpaid internships for credit since the student ends up in the red, but our DFW system at UW allows me to get in on the ground floor with some local organizations that usually don’t offer intern positions otherwise. This is great for me since I am tied geographically to this area after grad school (I can’t complain my husband has a great job!). I’m hoping for a position that allows me to interact with archive patrons, donors, or at least fellow colleagues. I’ve had too many jobs where I just sit alone in a room and do my own thing.
  • Present at a conference (either a paper or poster) – Right now I’m thinking a smaller conference like the Washington Library Association or Northwest Archivists, but who knows maybe something interesting will cross my path and I’ll take a leap and submit something to SAA or ALA. I really have no ideas right now, but I’m not sweating it (yet).
  • Keep expanding my knowledge of archives, digital services, digital humanities, metadata, & cataloging – So besides taking classes geared toward this, I’m planning on learning more about the Digital Humanities via this awesome LibGuide from Boston College. I’ve also recently discovered iTunesU which is free and has free lectures series about tons of different topics. I have several downloaded (some from the Library of Congress) that I’m trying to fit in. Also I’m going to learn the basics of HTML/XML from this book recommended by my programmer husband so I can take the more intensive version of the HTML class offered in my program come the spring quarter.
  • Continue to write blog posts – It is so easy for me to just let everything else fall by the wayside while taking classes. One of those things that gets neglected is this blog. I will probably try a few tricks to keep this active like connecting posts to my class work or writing responses to other library/archive blog posts.
  • Get a summer internship – I have one internship in mind that I would like to have in the summer of 2013, but by March or April that could all change. However, I need to remember to apply, apply, apply and keep my eyes on the student jobs listserv, inalj, and archivesgig.
  • Attend more conferences – Okay well this goal is kind of already wrapped up, but I think it stills needs to be here. Last year I only attended one professional conference. This year I plan on attending InfoCamp Seattle (even though it intimidates me), Museum Computer Network (it’s in Seattle and there are GLAMWiki sessions), ALA Midwinter, and then it is a toss up between Northwest Archivists and WLA/OLA. I really wish I could go to SXSW, but the conference costs plus travel costs just puts it out of reach.

Below I’ll go through each point and review how well I’ve done so far this year!

  • Volunteer at ALA Midwinter – So this did not happen. Apparently ALA doesn’t ask for a lot of volunteers for the weekend (or I somehow totally missed all those emails). The only opportunity I saw was for the yoga session very early on Sunday morning & I don’t do yoga. However, I did get involved with my ALA chapter. I planned on hosting another library school student in my the big MLIS student couch surfing experiment, but my poor guest got sick right before the conference and couldn’t attend!
  • Complete a DFW – This will not happen during the standard school year this year. Enough normal classes have come up that I was interested in as well as my internship at Sub Pop Records that I haven’t had time to add a DFW in. However, my summer internship could turn into a DFW if that is under the only condition the organization will take me. (I don’t believe I need the credits at this point.)
  • Present at a conference (either a paper or poster) – I really thought it would take me all year to work up the nerve to accomplish this goal. I don’t really have a fear of presenting or talking in front of a crowd, but I do find it hard to convince myself I have something worth presenting. Luckily enough Samip Mallick who was my supervisor for my summer internship at the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) asked if I wanted to put together a proposal for the Library 2.012 virtual conference. It was just the push I needed! So at the beginning of October I presented “Taking Access to the User Online” – focusing on my work editing Wikipedia articles to drive traffic to materials in the archive.
  • Keep expanding my knowledge of archives, digital services, digital humanities, metadata, & cataloging – This goal is being accomplished in several different ways. I just finished a class on indexing and will being taking a class on digital humanities reference this spring. I have also started using Code Academy & Coursera. I’m currently interning at Sub Pop Records which is helping expand my knowledge of archives and digital asset management.
  • Continue to write blog posts – My social media class fall quarter really helped here, but I’ve totally dropped the ball during winter quarter. Adding an internship to my schedule really through a wrench into my normal operating procedure so I just let blogging fall to the wayside as I figured everything out. Hopefully I can figure out a better schedule during spring quarter.
  • Get a summer internship – I’m actually working on this goal during my break! I plan on updating my resume and applying to several positions while I have the time. I’m looking at archival positions – both digital & traditional as well as cataloging/metadata/indexing/taxonomy positions.
  • Attend more conferences – So far this year I have attended the Library 2.012 virtual Conference and ALA Midwinter. I did not attend the Museum Computer Network conference – it just didn’t fit into my schedule once I compared it with my school schedule. I do plan on attending one more conference this spring  the Washington/Oregon Library Associations Joint Conference.

So far I’m pretty pleased with my progress in completing my goals this year! I just need to work on getting a summer internship/DFW lined up as well as continuing to blog more and expand my info professional horizons through some professional development on my own time.

How about everyone else? Anyone else set some goals (written down or otherwise) at the beginning of the school year? How are you all doing with completing your goals?


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Day in the Life: What Does an Online Student Do?

I am one of the many online library students in the world today. Even though many great programs like the University of Washington (San Jose State, Simmons) have online masters programs, I still get blank looks and tons of questions when I introduce myself as an online student (both residential students at UW & librarians/archivists at conferences). So what do we online students do all day since we don’t have scheduled class times? How does this whole online school thing work? Even these questions have been plaguing you, have no fear I’m here to tell you about my day.

This quarter Monday, Wednesday, Friday are my pure school days. I usually work on various types of school work from around 11 am (when my husband leaves for work) to 7 pm (when he calls me on his drive home for work). Now staying in my apartment working on my laptop or desktop all day is a bit of a drag (believe me I did this my first quarter but ALL WEEK – once I realized I hadn’t been outside in 5 days I knew something had to change) so I walk down to my favorite local coffee shop for the first few hours of the day. Not only is it nice to you know be outside for a little while, but I get some nice social interaction with my baristas who know me quite well by now.

On this particular Wednesday, I had earmarked the day for my indexing class which I had neglected the previous week. When working through a module for a class, I usually read the assigned articles first then move on to the recorded lectures. Now depending on the class I might take a break between lectures (usually our lectures are only 30-40 minutes long) and head over to the discussion boards. For online students, the discussion board is our classroom. Think of it this way – online education is the original flipped classroom. We read the material and watch the lectures then we come together to discuss the major issues of modules (these can be proposed by the professor or the students can bring up points they want or both!)

Now the dynamics of an online discussion do differ from an in person discussion. We are required to participate in some manner (Now I know this is the norm in most classes but it seems more immediate when your professor can actually count the number of your posts) plus our conversations last for one to two weeks. We do have the normal group of super participators that talk early and often, but overall I feel like more people get in on the discussion. However, when discussion participation is not a part of our grade discussion boards can become a desert wasteland (like the case with my indexing class this quarter).

Now that you have the basics of the online education, let me get on with my day. My indexing class had an assignment due on Wednesday and this week it was a partner assignment. We each indexed the same article and then swapped our indexing terms and answered a series of questions about the consistency measurements of our terms. Out of all the group work I’ve completed this partner work is my favorite type. Also I enjoy seeing how another student indexes the same materials and getting to compare our results.

After finishing my assignment I jumped onto my Management class’s discussion board to catch up on the chatter since last week. By the time  I finished all this it was time to wrap up my work for the day.

My evening consisted of making some delicious home made chicken nuggets, watching Supernatural, and working on my indexing and transcriptions for Hiring Librarians! So there you have it – a normal day in the life of an online student.

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Tuesday – Day in the Life

After a very unusual Monday, my Tuesday was mostly by the book. Tuesday and Thursday I hop on the bus at 10 am with my morning coffee and head downtown to Sub Pop Records. Right now I’m nearing the end of my quarter long internship in digital asset management. I do work for both the music label’s archive and marketing department.

On Tuesday I balanced work for each department. For the archives I continued to work on my music video back up project. Right now Sub Pop does not have physical copies of more recent music videos in the office. They have an offsite company that holds the videos and that company has physical backups but not available to Sub Pop. So right now I’m burning the high quality video files onto DVDs and recording the video details (codec, data rate, etc). On the marketing side I was collecting data about the different email lists the marketing department manages for certain bands. I found that my multitasking online student self was right at home for the combined work. It was nice to have a separate task to work on while the DVDs would burn.

When I left my internship at 3pm, my “normal” day was a bit diverted because instead of hopping on my bus home I headed down to the very awesome Central Branch of the Seattle Public Library to spend a few hours . My deviation in routine was due to the very not normal way I spent the evening. Michael and I met up at El Corazon to see The Hushed Sound perform on their reunion tour! We first saw them in 2005 when we (and some of the band) were still in high school. It was an awesome concert with four opening bands and we walked away with three new, awesome CDs.

I’m just glad to get back to my normal days and nights now. Having a real life during the last two weeks of the quarter is rough.

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