ILS560-College & University Libraries – An Overview

January 28, 2007

Course Description:

Organization and administration of academic libraries. The role of librarians in research and the relationship of academic libraries to curricula, students, faculty and administration.

Course Work:

There are four major assignments for the class – an annotation exercise, a benchmark exercise, a facilities paper and a term paper (no final this time, YEAH!!!). For the annotations assignment, we are supposed to volunteer to lead the discussions one week. The topics relating to academic libraries to choose from are their history and context, standards, faculty status and personnel issues, technology and technical services, access services and security, reference and instruction, collection management, serials and the serials crisis, management and budgeting and the future of academic libraries. I just sent an email to the professor asking to lead the discussions for the history and context lecture (my second choice is faculty status and third is technology and technical services). We shall see what transpires. Once we have the topic, we are supposed to pick six articles or book chapters to read and annotate – and we probably will be working with another student in the class. The assignment is actually due the Friday before the discussion starts so that we can share our annotations with the class.

The facilities paper requires that we research a physical aspect of the modern academic library. We are supposed to reasearch the topic and then visit several libraries to compare their spaces. This assignment is due on February 18th which means that I need to do some serious thinking about it.

For the benchmarking exercise, we are supposed to prepare a statistical comparison for an academic library according to ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education. The point is to compare a target library with its peer institutions. This exercise is due on March 25th.

The term paper which is due on April 23rd is a research paper. For this one, we get to choose one topic that is of importance to academic libraries, research that topic and write a 10-12 page paper.

My Take:

All in all the workload seems to be fairly reasonable. I’m trying to plan out my timetables and due dates so that I have a better handle on my workload this semester than I did last fall. Several times during the fall, I actually mixed up my due dates. Fortunately, I did not actually miss any due dates. However, I do not want this to happen again. I’m making a concerted effort to keep myself organized and on top of my assignments. So far, so good!!

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ILS656 – Information Architecture – An Overview

January 28, 2007

We are a week into the semester, and I am still pretty excited about this IA class. Since, a couple of people expressed some interest in the class, I thought I would post a bit more information about the class. 

Course Description (from syllabus):

An overview of the concepts and practices of information architecture (IA). Students will develop an understanding of the concepts of IA through reading the existing literature related to IA and we will reinforce those concepts by building complex web sites for real organizations that reflect our best understanding of the organizations mission, processes, goals, clients, suppliers. Students will form IA teams, identify a client, and design and build a web presence for the client.

Course Objectives (from syllabus):

Upon successful completion of this course students will to able to:

  • Author web pages, and design web sites
  • Verbalize the mission of a web site within the context of the organization it serves
  • Use research methods to better understand the environment within which a website will be created or revised
  • Develop navigation systems, labeling systems, and taxonomies for web sites
  • Articulate and apply the principles of information architecture
  • Coherently discuss the meaning of the term, “information architecture”
  • Apply the principles of information architecture to a real situation
  • Create a report describing and making recommendations for web site design.

Course Work:

We have one main project during the semester – to work in teams to create/redesign a web site in accordance with the principles we learn in class. We will prepare a midterm concept report that details an overview of our team’s project and then implement the web site for the final part of the project. The teams and projects have yet to be determined. The professor asked us all to evaluate our skill set – based upon The Nine Pillars of Successful Web Teams by Jesse James Garrett – and make some suggestions about ideas for projects. Based upon our input, the professor plans to put together a spreadsheet with suggested teams and projects.

In addition to the team projects, we are required to lead the discussion with one of our classmates during one week of the semester. I think that this will be a major part of our grade for participation within the class.

So Far . . .

When I registered for this class, I didn’t actually have a web site in mind to work with. I was surprised that many of my fellow students actually did. My only thought was that SCSU (or the ILS department) could use some type of web site with information specific to distance learners. I am a bit unsure how this whole project is going to work, but am interested to see how it all plays out.

I volunteered to lead the discussion during the week of April 2nd when we will be studying content management systems. I think I would have preferred to lead the discussion earlier on in the semester, but I am really interested in the topic of content management systems (we are finally getting ready to implement one at my place of work).

Week one has gone well – here’s hoping the rest of the semester goes the same way!!!!