Don’t Forget About The Homework

March 15, 2007

Despite spending an inordinate amount of time on student empowerment issues, I do actually have homework to do – a great deal of it.

For ILS560 – College & University Libraries:
I have a benchmarking exercise due on March 25th. For this assignment, we are expected to choose an academic library and do a statistical comparison between the chosen library and some peer institutions. A large part of the assignment hinges upon the choice of college library and the justification of the peer institutions that we choose. I have started collecting data about the library I plan to profile and am in the process of deciding upon which peer institutions to use. The paper should include charts and diagrams and be no more than 8 pages. I think I can get a good portion done this weekend.

For ILS656 – Information Architecture:
We have one major project during the course of the semester – a redesign of a web site. I am working with one other person in my class to build a web site for a public library. So far, the majority of work that we have done has been analyzing and detailing the current site. It took a while to get approval on the projects from the Institutional Review Board – so we are just starting to get to the stage where we can talk to the people at the institution. The bottom line here??? There is lots and lots of work to be done over the next month and a half.


Another Assignment Down The Drain

February 18, 2007

I just turned in my latest assignment – a paper examining two information commons spaces at two different academic libraries for ILS560-College & University Libraries. I’m not sure how I am feeling about it. Because I had an assignment due last week for this class, I didn’t spend as much time on it as I should have. I don’t feel like I totally got the assignment – there was a great deal of room for personal reaction in the paper. The idea was to visit two libraries and judge the spaces. I’m totally much more comfortable doing research about a topic and then writing a paper about it. I don’t like having to make value judgements about things and write about it. It makes me unsure and nervous – even more so than I normally am about my school work. ARGH!!!! The only upside is that tomorrow is a holiday – and I definitely need a day off from school.

Facilities Project – ILS560

February 14, 2007

Without a doubt the semester is in full swing. Last week, I had my first assignment due for ILS560-College & University Libraries – and I have my second paper for the same class due on Sunday. For this facilities project, we have to research one physical aspect of the academic library (classrooms, information commons, digital library facilities, etc.) and then visit at least two libraries which have the physical aspect. Ultimately, we are to write a 6-8 page paper critiquing the space – looking at things like logic of space design, acoustics, lighting, etc. I will admit to being a bit rushed given that I had to turn in my annotations assignment last Friday. Although, the information commons is a hot topic, I am really, really interested in the concept and what it actually encompasses. As such, this is the physical aspect that I have been researching. I am sitting under a virtual mountain of articles and URLs, trying to put my thoughts together in a cohesive manner. Back to work, I go!

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!!

And The Semester Starts Tomorrow . . .

January 21, 2007

Although I had intended to spend my last weekend before school started doing any that wasn’t school related, I spent most of today going over information for both classes. My professor for ILS656-Information Architecture had already posted the syllabus and class readings. I noticed that the professor for ILS560-College & University Libraries (or Academic Libraries as called by the professor) opened up this class today. I printed the syllabus early this afternoon along with the readings for this week. And, so of course, I started doing the readings.

Anyway, both classes look great. I guess I’m a bit more excited about ILS656-Information Architecture because it is something I haven’t studied. I work in an academic library – and while I certainly have more to learn about them, I’m very familiar with them. Last semester, I found ILS565-Library Management to be a bit painful because the subject matter was too real. I’m thinking the same might be true for ILS560-College & University Libraries. The good news is that although I expect both classes to be challenging, I think the workload will be manageable (famous last words, huh?).

I’m Looking Forward To This Semester

January 17, 2007

Yesterday, my ILS656-Information Architecture professor sent a general email letting us know that classes start on the 22nd of January – and giving us instructions for logging onto the class. It seems that SCSU made some changes in its policies for accessing online course material over break. From what I understand, all schools in the Connecticut State University system shared one course management for distance education programs (at one time called OnlineCSU). Each university also had an additional CMS portal for traditional and hybrid classes. I always wondered why there seemed to be so much confusion among students accessing online classes. However, I can see how students taking both traditional and online classes at the same time would get confused by having two separate systems with different usernames. I guess the CSU system decided to disband the OnlineCSU system – and now we all log into SCSU’s WebCT portal. The big difference is that we no longer log in with some 8 digit number, but use another log in (a more traditional username that is some combination of our names). It took a while to figure this out – but fortunately, I was able to figure it out with some help from fellow graduate students via the ILS listserv.

Once I finally logged onto the system successfully, I was able to poke around in the course site for ILS656-Information Architecture. The professor has already posted all sorts of material. I probably should not have been surprised. This professor has her own web site with information about the courses she teaches, projected courses with tentative schedules and syllabi. She also includes the texts for these classes. I can’t stress how wonderful it is to have this information when registering for classes. I so wish other professors would do the same. Anyway, this all makes me very excited about this class. I think it will be a wonderful learning experience -albeit a challenging one. I’m also looking forward to ILS560-College & University Libraries. I have already taken two classes with the professor teaching this class – and so far he has been my favorite professor.

Classes For The Spring

January 8, 2007

I did it – I went ahead and registered for ILS560-College & University Libraries today. Yes, this means that I will be taking two classes – again (in addition to ILS656-Information Architecture). I’m not sure if this is a good idea – in fact, I’m pretty sure it isn’t. However, ILS560 is a class that I need to take (I’m in the academic track) and I feel like this semester is the best time to take it. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get a good head start on the reading for ILS656 before the semester starts. Fortunately, the professor posts her syllabi on her own web page way in advance. Additionally, I already have the text for this class – Morville & Rosenfeld’s Information Architecture for the World Wide Web (3rd edition). So, maybe that will help. Of course, now I have to try and find out what texts are required for ILS560!

Update: I emailed the professor who got right back to me to say that there is no textbook. Cool!