Grades for Fall 2006 Have Been Posted

January 5, 2007

I’m not entirely sure why I worry so much about my schoolwork. It cant’ be good for me. It seems like every semester I hold my breath until the final grades for the class have been posted. It is one of those situations where I don’t realize how tense I actually am about it until I actually feel the relief washing over me when I get the final grade.  Am I worried that I am going to fail? I shouldn’t be, since I’m not even close to that point.

I was fortunate that the professor for ILS530-Information Systems Analysis & Design told us directly (via the online course) what our final grade was. I didn’t have to worry about that one. However, I didn’t know my final grade for ILS565-Library Management. But again, I know what grades I received on all four assignments and the final exam. The only piece that was left was grading on class participation. What was there to worry about??? Really, it all seems a huge waste of energy now.

Grades are not supposed to be officially released until sometime next week. However, I have noticed in the past that sometimes they are available a bit early – so I have been checking daily. I was thrilled to notice that my Fall 2006 grades had been posted. Another semester is gone – and it is time to start thinking about the next one.

Why do I worry so much about these things?

And on a another subject that really proves how masochistic I really am, the ILS department has added another section of ILS560-College & University Libraries and I’m seriously considering taking it this spring. It is one of the classes that I have to take. Who knows when it will be offered again? And, it is taught by my favorite ILS professor at SCSU. I need to have my head examined!!!!!!

Update: Grades were actually released officially on January 5th. I find this strange because when I looked at the academic calendar I would swear that January 11th was the date given for grade availability. Of course, now I’m questioning how sure I am about that.

It Was A Bit Of A Surprise . . .

December 21, 2006

to discover yesterday afternoon, that the professor of my ILS530 – Information Systems Analysis & Design class had not only graded the final project that was due on December 4th, but had also calculated our final grades. Actually, I was stunned. Given that there was a great deal that I felt compelled to complain about from this class, I thought I should make it a point to comment on this positive development.

I still haven’t decided what is the best way to make an official complaint about this class. I really don’t want to think too much about it until after the holidays, but I know that I must do something.

A Month And A Half Later . . .

December 14, 2006

and the professor in ILS530 – Information Systems Analysis & Design graded my system case study paper. The paper was due on October 29th and was graded today. Is it just me or is that a huge time lag????? Anyway, that means that all grades except for the final project are in (and I don’t really expect to get a grade on that paper – just a final grade in the class sometime in early January).  I will admit that I have been logging into the class site a couple of times a day since I completed the final project in hopes of finding out about a grade on the system case study paper.

The good news is that I will pass. Yeah!

Am I Sad To See The Semester Go?

December 4, 2006

Ah, the answer to that would have to be a big NO! I just spent the past hour and a half working on my final exam for ILS565-Library Management. It didn’t go as well as I would have liked – but I think that may be how I view this entire semester. There was a great deal of angst, frustration, work to which I couldn’t give my all and general discontent with library school. However, I made it through – and belive me, there were several times during the semester when I wasn’t confident that I would make it through the semester with passing grades. At this point, I’m confident I passed – just feeling bad that I couldn’t (or didn’t) spend the amount of time I would have liked on both classes. I have to remind myself that I have now finished six out of twelve classes, and that is reason enough to celebrate a bit. I also am trying to remind myself that I had way too much going on this semester. Work was amazingly busy (a note to all of those systems librarians wanna bees: the start of the fall semester in academic libraries can crush the life right out of you), and demanded much more of my time than normal, especially in September and October. So really, I did the best that I could – I should be proud of that fact and just move on.

So, now I will let myself celebrate a bit – and enjoy having nothing really to do (well, at least until I realize how much stuff I have to do for Christmas).

One Class Down

December 2, 2006

I just passed in my final project (an analysis of a library system) for ILS530 – Information Systems Analysis & Design. I’m not entirely sure that I have ever been this excited about being done with a class before. While logged on to the class site to submit my project, I also noticed that I finally got a grade on the tech growth paper (a paper anaylzing a library system ten years from now) that I submitted on October 8. It was actually graded on Monday, November 27th – but I had no reason to log onto the class web site after Monday afternoon. Typical!!! Anyway, I really feel  like shouting from the rooftops to anyone who will listen that I actually survived two classes with this professor.

I still have a final exam to do for ILS565 – Library Management (which has been an awesome class with an excellent blend of theorectical knowledge and practical exercises). The professor should make it available some time tomorrow – and it must be completed by Tuesday, December 5th. I have been busy studying and think I will take it sometime Monday afternoon. But for tonight, I am done with school work. Hooray!!!!!!

A Plea For Some Sanity

November 27, 2006

During the last week, I have been feverishly working on school assignments. With the end of the semester looming like a big, nasty storm cloud, I have had to buckle down and concentrate on my school work. For ILS565-Library Management, I had my in-basket exercise (a management simulation exercise where we pose as a library director who comes into work on a Monday morning and has 12 items waiting to be addressed in the “in-basket” before having to leave for the afternoon) due on Sunday. While working on that I happened to read through the syllabus to learn that the final project for ILS530-Information Systems Analysis & Design was due today (27th). While I did kind of know this, it had slipped my mind. As such, I started spending every waking moment working on this project.

Fortunately, I had a wonderful Thanksgiving – and only did a little bit of homework in the morning. However, the rest of the holiday weekend was schoolwork followed by more schoolwork. I was able to finish the in-basket exercise early Saturday afternoon. I emailed it to the professor (who returned it graded by about 5:30PM). I then spent all day yesterday continuing to work on the systems analysis project. I even took today off – since it was supposed to be due today. Now, I will admit that I am a tad bit grouchy – maybe even irritable and/or irascible. However, when the professor for ILS530 posted the assignment tool for the final project today, the due date was listed as December 4th. On one hand, I’m glad that I am mostly done with the project and that I have some time to work on refining it – however, on the other hand, I’m not very happy. I’ve been working hard not to complain too bitterly about this particular class, but my patience is wearing quite thin. Really, I need to get the project finished and turn it in so that I can consider this class over and done.

I definintely need some time away from school!!!!!!

School Musings

November 19, 2006

I got my grade back on my cost finding exercise and did well – YEAH!!!!!! I really needed to do well on it after the last assignment that I did for ILS565-Library Management (and on which I did really, really mediocre). I thoroughly enjoyed the assignment and getting a decent grade also helped to boost my spirits. This will help me get through the next three weeks to the end of the semester. Next, we have an “in-basket exercise” to complete. In this assignment, we are to act as a library director, take a prescribed set of personnel to design an employment scheme for a library and deal with a variety of problems and issues. We have to choose which problems to delegate, which to deal with and how exactly to deal with those problems that we do not delegate. I find this very, very, very challenging. I have been working on it, mostly in vague terms – meaning that I have been pondering options in my head. This assignment is due next Sunday (November 26th). Then, we have a final in this class.

For ILS530 – Information Systems Analysis & Design, I’m not really sure how it is going. We have had three papers due – and I have only received one grade. I do know that some of the others in the class have received a second grade – which is extremely frustrating. However, many may remember that I took this professor over the summer and had the same issues. Despite, the fact that I have no one to blame but myself for the predicament I find myself in, I am extremely frustrated and annoyed with this class. I cannot wait for it to be over.  I have tried not to dwell on it – and just make the most of the class. I love the material, and think it is of utmost importance for those interested in library systems.  ARGHHH!!!!!! Meanwhile, I just keep plugging away at everything – and smile at the thought that the end of this semester is in sight!

System Interoperability

November 1, 2006

For those who may be interested the paper that I wrote reviewing an article on system interoperability, it can be found here.  The following is the list of techniques or tools that I reviewed in the paper.

From the following article:  Park, Jinsoo and Sudha Ram. (2004). Information Systems Interoperability: What  Lies Beneath. ACM Transactions on Information Systems. 22(4), 595-632.

Semantic interoperability – Semantic interoperability is the ability for disparate systems to understand the semantics, or meanings, or each other despite incompatibilities in data formats, data meanings, etc. Semantic interoperability exists at the knowledge level and results from incompatibilities in implicit meanings, perspectives and assumptions. This is contract to syntactic interoperability which exists at the application level. Syntactic interoperability often happens in the form of software conflicts.

Mapping-based approach – This is an approach to developing systems with semantic interoperability. In this approach, it is necessary to develop or construct mappings between the information sources that are related semantically. This is accomplished by developing a federated or global schema, then constructing mappings between the federated schema and the local schemas for each information system. The problem with this approach is that it is not independent of the federated and local schemas for which it is developed. This means the solution is not portable and does not adapt well to the addition of new systems.

Intermediary-based approach – This approach relies upon the development of intermediary mechanisms such as mediators, agents or ontologies in order to achieve interoperability. Most often, this approach relies upon created ontologies which allow the use of shared standardized vocabularies or protocols to allow systems or databases to communicate with each other. The ontology is domain specific, but is independent of local schemas and applications. As such, it is not feasible to maintain such ontologies due to the dynamic, autonomous and heterogeneous nature of local schemas.

Query-oriented approach – The query-oriented approach depends upon interoperable languages (usually logic-based languages or extended SQL). The important way that this approach stands out is in its ability to formulate queries to span several databases. The main drawback to this approach is that a heavy burden is placed upon the user to understand the differences in the different databases and to resolve semantic conflicts themselves.

Data level conflicts – One level where semantic conflict can occur is at the data level. Generally, data level conflicts are differences in data which can be caused by multiple representations and interpretations of similar data. Examples of data level conflicts are data-value conflicts, data representation conflicts, data-unit conflicts, and data precision conflicts. Data-value conflicts are conflicts in data values. Data values may mean different things depending on their relationships to other factors. Data representation conflicts happen when the same data is represented in different ways (dates can be represented as 9/17/2006, 17-9-2006 and/or September 17, 2006).  Data-unit conflicts are those where the same values are represented in different units – feet, yards, meters, etc. Data precision conflicts happen when the same type of data is represented in ways that differ conceptually. For example, different systems may rate the same item, but use different rating schemes.

Schema level conflicts – Schema level conflicts involve differences at the structural level of the systems. Examples of schema level conflicts are naming conflicts, entity-identifier conflicts, schema-isomorphism conflicts, generalization conflicts, aggregation conflicts, and schematic discrepancies. Naming conflicts happen when labels of the same schema elements are different from local schema to local schema. Entity-identifier conflicts arise when different primary keys are assigned to the same concepts in different databases. Schema-isomorphism conflicts happen when the same concept is described by different, non-compatible attributes. Generalization conflicts occur when concepts or data values are modeled differently in various databases. As an example, the category of students can be classed in different ways – by year of graduation, school affiliation, etc. Aggregation conflicts happen when “aggregation is used in one database to identify a set of entities in another database” (Park and Ram, 2004). Schematic discrepancies arise when the data structure in one local schema has a different structure in another one.

Schema mapping knowledge – The schema mapping knowledge is created by establishing mappings between the disparate local schemas and then mapping the local schemas to the federated schema. It is essential that semantically similar concepts, ideas and data are identified. Park and Ram point out that human intervention is essential in this part of the system development process. This makes the schema mapping knowledge one of the most important part of the CREAM model developed by Park and Ram.

Ontology relationship knowledge – This knowledge is the foundation of the reasoning process for semantic resolution. In this knowledge structure there are three different types of relationships: parenthood, sibling and domain-value relationships. The parenthood relationship is a vertical relationship (parent to child). The sibling relationship is a horizontal relationship between constructs or concepts. The domain-mapping relationship is used by the “semantic mediators to determine whether the actual data values that are mapped to instances can be transformed from one value to another and vice versa” (Park and Ram, 2004).

A Little Reinvigoration

November 1, 2006

Yesterday afternoon when I logged into my online class portal via SCSU’s WebCT implementation, I looked at my submitted assignments for ILS530-Information Systems Analysis & Design. I do this several times a day. We have had three assignments due – a subject review paper due on September 17th, a tech growth paper due on October 8th and a system study case due on October 29th – and haven’t received any feedback as of yet. However, I noticed yesterday that one of the assignments was missing from the submitted folder. Fortunately, it was in the graded folder – yeah!!!! I did good – and the professor had some nice things to say about my paper. It is SO nerve-wracking to not have feedback – and I don’t think I really understood how worried I was until I finally got a grade back. I am also glad that I did well. I needed a more positive grade after the last assignment for my ILS565-Library Management class (which didn’t really go so well). It is amazing how much some positive encouragement helps makes things seem much better.

The assignment was to select 1-2 books or articles dealing with systems analysis and design and review those techniques in a 3-5 page paper. Part of the assignment was also to list the techniques that we reviewed in the paper and briefly define them. After reading several articles, I found a couple dealing with systems interoperability which caught my interest. The article that I choose to review was: Park, Jinsoo and Sudha Ram. (2004). Information Systems Interoperability: What Lies Beneath. ACM Transactions on Information Systems. 22(4), 595-632.

Another Busy Weekend

October 8, 2006

It is late Sunday night; I’m utterly exhausted after attending a family birthday dinner yesterday, completing a 5 page paper this morning, and hosting a dinner at my house this afternoon. My family has just left, and I finally have been able to put my feet up. Today, I had a paper due for ILS530 – Information Systems Analysis & Design – a tech growth paper. The assignment was to choose a library technology and write a paper about the state of that technology ten years from now. I can honestly say that I found this assignment to be a difficult one to complete – whether this is because I had way too much to do this weekend or because I just had trouble with it, I can’t say. I decided to research the future of the integrated library system. My thinking at this point is that this was way too much to attempt to do in a 5 page paper. One could write a dissertation on this subject. However, I wrote something – something that I am not particularly proud of because by this morning, I just needed to have it done so that I could start getting ready for the family dinner. But, ultimatedly, I’m done with the assignment. Tomorrow is a holiday, and I plan to take a break from school (along with work). I definitely could use a break in order to recharge my batteries. I’m looking forward to it!!!!