Planning my MLS Program

November 23, 2005

Now that the final for my class is over, I have been working on my program of study for my MLS. At Southern Connecticut State, accepted students must complete a program of study which details their planned track and expected classes. I had initially thought that I would take the Information Systems/Technology track because my current position at my library is in systems. However, the Info Systems/Technology track is extremely rigid with no room allowed for electives – and I would have to take several classes that I would prefer not to take. After an email discussion with my advisor, I decided to take his suggestion to take the Academic library track. This track is flexible enough to allow me to take most of the computer/systems/technology classes that I want. I finally have the plan complete and ready to be mailed. I won’t be considered a matriculated student at SCSU until the school receives this document. Fortunately, I remembered to make a copy of this document given that if I decide to take different classes than I listed I have to revise the plan – and that would be tough to do if I didn’t have a copy. I will confess that I didn’t remember to make a copy until after I had sealed the envelope. A big almost whoops!!!!

My planned program looks like this:

Course Requirements:

Group I (Core 1) Requirements (2 classes)

  • ILS501 Introduction to Information Science and Technology – Principles and applications of computers and information technologies in libraries and information centers. Scheduled fall, spring, and summer semesters.
  • ILS503 Foundations of Librarianship – The development structure and function of library/information agencies. Scheduled fall, spring, and summer semesters.

Group II (Core 2) Requirements (2 classes)

  • ILS504 Reference and Information Resources and Services – General reference sources; their content, evaluation and use. The reference process and the organization of reference and information services as they relate to different types of libraries. Lab in on-line retrieval.
  • ILS506 Information Analysis and Organization – Principles of developing, evaluating, and organizing collections of all types of materials. Descriptive and subject analysis of materials. Commonly used guides, codes, and source materials. Lab in on-line retrieval.

Group III (Core 3) Requirements (1 class)

  • ILS560 College and University Libraries – Organization and administration of academic libraries. The role of libraries in research and the relationship of academic libraries to curricula, students, faculty, and administration.

Group IV (Professional) Requirements (1-3 classes)

  • ILS530 Information Systems Analysis and Design – An introduction to systems analysis in libraries. Includes flow charting, form design and control, time and cost analysis, sampling, and automation.
  • ILS537 Information-Seeking Behavior – How people acquire, store and use information they receive from their environment. Topics include behavioral, cognitive, and affective aspects of information-seeking. Applications to information systems and user instruction.
  • ILS565 Library Management – An examination of the general principles and practices of library management.

Group V (Technology) Requirements (1-3 classes)

  • ILS534 Library Automation – An overview of automation with emphasis on computer assisted library processes: subsystems in technical services, user services, administrative services.
  • ILS535 Information Networks – An examination of the impact of cooperation, consortia, and networks on the library/information field: developments, network characteristics, problems, and issues. Converging technologies and implications for emerging trends for information professionals are examined.

Group VI (Research) Requirements (1 class)

  • ILS680 Evaluation and Research – Principles and methods of evaluation and research are systematically reviewed. Major research undertakings are considered, as well as landmark studies. Prerequisite: 24 credits in library science or instructional technology.

Group VI (Elective) Requirement (1-3 classes)

  • ILS599 Special Projects

That is 12 classes for 3 credits each for the total 36 required credits.

Whew! Writing it all down makes it seems like an insurmountable task. With only one class down, I have 11 more to go. I’m looking forward to it all, but wonder if I’ll ever be done.

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Finished the Final!!

November 21, 2005

WooHoo!! I just passed in my final for my class. It feels wonderful to be done for the semester!!! All in all, it was an interesting exam. I was so incredibly nervous about the exam because I found it very difficult to study for. Without traditional classroom lectures, it was difficult to see and judge what the professor felt was important. I have always been a big note taker – feeling as if lectures give me a clue to what the professor finds key to the class. In an online class, there aren’t any traditional notes and that left me a bit stymied. Fortunately, the test was ok. I don’t think I “aced” it, but I don’t think I’m in danger of failing either – and I can be really happy with that – for tonight atleast. Now, I can go unwind a bit before Thanksgiving. YEAH!!!!!


The End of the Wiki Project

November 13, 2005

Wikipedia defines a Wiki as a web site that allows any number of users to add content and any other users to edit that content. This makes a Wiki an inherently collaborative tool best used by groups. In order for a Wiki to be successful, there must be a need for a group to collaborate on a specific project – and possibly a need for the group to edit each other’s work. This may be one reason why Wikis as class project may not work as well – a class Wiki project does not fill a collaborative need on the part of the class. Ideally, the collaborative need to comes first – then the idea that a Wiki could facilitate the group communication.

The Wiki project is now at an end. It was a great learning experience – even though the project itself was not as successful as I would have liked. However, I have learned a great deal about Wikis and how they could be used. They have some great potential as library tools. I can envision library staff projects, library instruction collaborative tools and even a great resource for the library community to give feedback to library staff.


Last email to class for wiki project

November 10, 2005

Yesterday, I sent out a final email to everyone in my class asking if anyone else had any interest in participating in my wiki project. I don’t expect any other participants, however. I was a bit disappointed with the lack of interest in the project – since only two of my classmates wanted to take part. Yet, I do understand the lack of interest. A wiki is a collaborative tool that people use for a specific purpose. In order for it to work well, a whole community must feel a need to collaborate. A wiki that is imposed upon people is bound to fail. I very much appreciate the fact that two people were willing to participate. A big thank you to them!


The Wiki Choice

November 10, 2005

(Process took place between September 1st and 5th)
After doing some general research on wikis, I then started doing more in depth research about specific wiki hosting sites where I could have my wiki hosted. First, I compiled a list of my requirments:

  • I want a service that will host a wiki. I do not have the capabilities to use software that I download and install on a server.
  • I want to be able to create specific accounts for classmates to use. I do not want the general public to be able to edit the pages that I create. I need 20 user accounts. I don’t mind that the wiki be a public space, I simply want to control who can edit it.
  • I want the ability to create private pages.
  • I want the solution to be low to no cost.
  • I would like a system that seems easy to use in order to encourage participation among my classmates.
  • I want an advertisement free wiki.

With these needs in mind, I looked at several different wiki hosting services – including Socialtext, Wikispaces, Jotspot, Seed Wiki, Atlassian and EditMe.

  1. Socialtext – This software is a collaborative tool aimed at businesses. There is 30 day trial that is free. However, 30 days is not enough. An account costs $30.00 per month – a price that is too steep for a class project. It has some nice features like being able to email new pages to the wiki. This service would not be appropriate for a class project.
  2. Wikispaces – This wiki farm seems to aimed at the general public. It is a free service, but has advertisements on the pages. There is no way to set up page security or create individual accounts. This would not meet my needs.
  3. Jotspot – This service has a free hosting service. However, there can only be 5 named users and 20 pages. I’m not sure the 20 pages would be a problem, but 5 users isn’t enough to create accounts for the entire class. The free package does allow the administrator to create public and/or private pages. The editor is WYSIWYG. For $9.00 a month, one can have 20 users and 250 pages. This option would suffice for the project. Jotspot is a possibility.
  4. Seed Wiki – This service has free wiki hosting service. One can invite as many members as needed. However, no wiki can be restricted to members nor can member collaboration be tracked. This service has a traditional wiki look and feel with categories. For $9.95 a month, one can password any wikis for private use. However, in order to track user participation, one has to buy the $19.99 a month package. This is another good possibility for my wiki project.
  5. Atlassian – This wiki farm has options aimed at peronsal wikis. However, to use this software, one downloads it and installs the program on a local computer. Additionally, access is only for two registered users. This is not really appropriate for my project.
  6. Editme – This wiki farm is a hosted service. There is no free service. For $4.95 a month, one gets 25MB of storage (more than enough), as many users as needed, 10 days of backup and tracking of user changes. There are some other nice features – a variety of css templates, rss feeds, any person can comments on pages. I like the look and feel of this system – although it doens’t necessarily look like traditional wikis.

I very quickly decided upon Editme for my wiki. I figured $4.95 was a small price to pay for the features that I wanted. The setup procedure was quite painless – and within a few seconds I had my very own wiki.


Refworks Account

November 10, 2005

This week I activated my Refworks account to try and keep track of all of my citations from my class. What an awesome tool!! I used it to create a bibliography for my wiki project which can be seen in my previous post. I’ve used both Procite and Endnote, but given that I don’t own either program on my personal computer, I didn’t find them particularly useful. Some of the import functions from different databases can be a bit difficult to get working correctly. However, they have a huge list of databases from which citations can be imported. With a little effort, I have been able to get all of the citations that I have marked or saved imported into Refworks. It is necessary to go through the bibliography that is created. I have noticed some formatting and spelling errors along with some extraneous characters in the data that Refworks generates. However, it is much easier to start with this data than type in citations by hand.

I also created accounts in both del.icio.us and Blinklist to organize and maintain my URLs. A big thanks to Rebecca Hedreen for pointing out these bookmarking services in her Frequently Answered Questions blog (which I think may be a SCSU distance education student’s best friend). Her Using Bookmarking Services for Organizing Citations blog post is a great resource.


The Wiki Project Annotated

November 9, 2005

One of the assignments for ILS501 – Introduction to Information Science and Technology was a menu project where we were able to choose from several different menu options. As I have mentioned before, I decided to do a wiki project. I decided to try to create a wiki for classmates to post results of their web search exercise. With that decision made – and an ok from the professor, my next step was to research different wiki software.

Reading about WikisWeb Sites

Using a Wiki for Documentation and Collaborative Authoring – http://www.llrx.com/features/librarywikis.htm – by Michael AngelesWiki: What is a Wiki? – http://wiki.org/wiki.cgi?WhatIsWiki – a brief description of the wiki with some links detailing the Wiki’s history

What is a Wiki? – http://www.usemod.com/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WhatIsaWiki – another site defining wikis with some questions and answers

Should Wikis be a part of your KM Inititative? – http://excitedutterances.blogspot.com/2005/09/should-wikis-be-part-of-your-km.html – an interesting article about wikis from the excited utterances blog – http://excitedutterances.blogspot.com/

Articles

Chang May. I’ve gathered a basket of COMMUNICATION and COLLABORATION TOOLS. (cover story). Computers in Libraries. 2004; 24(8):6-64.

Clyde LA. Wikis. Teacher Librarian : The Journal for School Library Professionals. 2005; 32(4):54-56.

Frumkin, Jeremy. The wiki and the digital library. OCLC Systems & Services; OCLC Systems & Services. 2005; 21(1):18(5).

Gorman, G.E. Editorial: Is the Wiki Concept Really so Wonderful? Onine Information Review. 2005; 29(3); 25-226.

Hammond T, Hannay T, Lund B, Scott J. Social bookmarking tools (I). D-Lib Magazine. 2005; 11(4):1-1.

Ishizuka, Kathy. Library success a best practices wiki: http://www.libsuccess.org.(site/ of the month). School Library Journal; School Library Journal. 2005; 51(10):26(1).
Jones P. Strategies and technologies of sharing in contributor-run archives. Library Trends. 2005; 53(4):651-662.

Lamb, Brian. Wide Open Spaces: Wikis, Ready or Not. Educause Review. September/October 2004; 39(5); – http://www.educause.edu/pub/er/erm04/erm0452.asp?bhcp=1 – accessed 11/9/05.

Lipczynska, Sonya. Power to the People: the Case for Wikipedia. Reference Reviews. 2005; 19(2); 6-7.

Mattison D. Quickiwiki, swiki, twiki, zwiki and the plone wars. Searcher. 2003; 11(4):32.

McKiernan, Gerry. Wikimedia Worlds Part I: Wikipedia. Library Hi Tech News. 2005; 8; 46-54.

Rubenking, Neil J. Wiki Tools, PC Magazine. 12/30/2005 – http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1401071,00.asp – access 11/9/05.