28/12/2012 § 5 Comments
This post is part of a new series called “So What Do You Do?” in which LIS students talk about their experiences as interns. We want to showcase the wide range of things people are doing in the world of library and information science.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Steve Ammidown, and I’m a student in the Archives, Records and Information Management specialization at the University of Maryland’s iSchool. My undergraduate background is in sociology and gender studies; prior to that I spent nine years working in the corporate sector as a paralegal and office administrator.
So what do you do?
I’m just finishing up as a Usability and User Experience intern at the U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies (and people wonder why acronyms are so popular in the federal government?) here in Washington, D.C.
21/12/2012 § 4 Comments
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Kelly Minta.
The concept of librarians creating content and using grassroots promotional techniques to present libraries to the public isn’t a new idea, but it is happening in more innovative ways today. The creation of content, whether on interactive user-generated sites or through articles, charts, images, and other storytelling mediums, is no longer an alternative to conventional means of public outreach and collection development. Rather, it is a necessity as libraries build stronger web presences. Creating a digital space for people to visit the library is equally as important as creating a physical space for users.
As a graduate student who has studied and interned in public libraries, academic libraries, and archives, I have been able to see firsthand that the creation of content and dissemination of information in all types of library institutions is vital. Not only are library users educated about the collection of materials, this is also a way to garner attention from those who do not patronize the institution. The librarians who create this content are tech savvy writers and storytellers who understand the value of imparting narrative into a library or archive’s collection in order to add significance to people’s lives.
The concept of service is one that librarianship is founded on, and it can be very difficult to change the collective mindset of librarians away from conventional reference services to service via original web content. I recently interned for a public library and was able to see firsthand that the culture of public libraries is often so focused on in-person service that they may fail to see the entire audience of users who are at home on laptops, sitting in classes or meetings with tablets, or out shopping with smartphones. These are people that the library could be reaching – people who crave data and information that is useful, informative and accessible. These are people who care about their communities and libraries and, while they might not visit the physical location, still support the library’s mission. Digital spaces for libraries are more than an online representation of our physical ones – they are another wing of the library, a separate sphere for education and collaboration that draws users into the library via new and usable information.
16/11/2012 § 20 Comments
Your task is to develop a persona, and make up a research question that persona might ask. It can be anything you want. Once you have a question, take it to a reference desk at a library/archive/historical society of your choosing. Then write a paper about the experience.
Sound familiar? No, it’s not a rejected subplot from Skyfall. It’s an assignment I’ve encountered in two different classes this fall, which is my first semester of library school. And from talking with other LIS students, it seems like this is a common assignment regardless of your school. It’s the “secret shopper” theory of observation at work. An anthropologist might call it “extreme participant observation.” The theory says you’ll learn more about something if you immerse yourself in it, giving no impression that you’re REALLY doing research. That the other participant doesn’t know they’re part of an experiment should make their actions more truthful than if they knew they were being observed.
18/04/2012 § 14 Comments
This semester at the University of North Texas I am taking SLIS 5445, History and Culture of Youth Services. A good portion of the class has focused on ethnography and its application in youth services. I won’t pretend to be an expert on this type of study and fieldwork. However, I want to share some things I’ve learned about ethnography, how I find it to be a helpful framework for needs assessment and how it’s helped me further define my personal approach to library service.
« Read the rest of this entry »