Survival Tips for LIS Distance Learners and their Group Projects

01/02/2013 § 11 Comments

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Sarah Brown.

As an LIS graduate student at the University of South Florida, I have had group projects for at least one of my courses each semester. At first, I feared the idea of group work because we were all distance learners. How 20th century, right?

I think of distance group work as important training for my future as a librarian. I imagine that much of my work will entail communicating with others via the Internet to retrieve information, share access to information, and archive in some capacity. Obviously, not being face to face can pose challenges, so learning to navigate the technology and maintain effective communication is a large part of modern librarianship.

Whether you were assigned your group or you were able to choose your members, here are some tips and personal advice to guide you through to the presentation and/or final paper.

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HLS Summer Reading Recommendations

08/05/2012 § 6 Comments

Who is ready for summer? Several of us are finishing up our schoolwork, dealing with stress, and ready for a quick breather. Here are a few summer reading recommendations from your dear HackLibSchool editors. We’ve broken the list down into Leisure and LIS reading. Please add your own recommendations in the comments!

Leisure Reading

    • Rose
      • The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson - Annie and Buster Fang have spent most of their adult lives trying to distance themselves from their famous artist parents, Caleb and Camille. But when a bad economy and a few bad personal decisions converge, the two siblings have nowhere to turn but their family home. Reunited under one roof for the first time in more than a decade and surrounded by the souvenirs of their unusual upbringing, Buster and Annie are forced to confront not only their creatively ambitious parents, but the chaos and confusion of their childhood.
      • The City and the City by China Mieville - Twin southern European cities Beszel and Ul Qoma coexist in the same physical location, separated by their citizens’ determination to see only one city at a time. Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad roams through the intertwined but separate cultures as he investigates the murder of Mahalia Geary, who believed that a third city, Orciny, hides in the blind spots between Beszel and Ul Qoma. As Mahalia’s friends disappear and revolution brews, Tyador is forced to consider the idea that someone in unseen Orciny is manipulating the other cities.
    • Annie
      • The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus – A terrible epidemic has struck the country and the sound of children’s speech has become lethal. Radio transmissions from strange sources indicate that people are going into hiding. The Flame Alphabet invites the question: What is left of civilization when we lose the ability to communicate with those we love? Both morally engaged and wickedly entertaining, a gripping page-turner as strange as it is moving, this intellectual horror story ensures Ben Marcus’s position in the first rank of American novelists.
      • Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking by Susan Cain - At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society–from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.
    • Paul
      • Cat Girl’s Day Off by Kimberly Pauley - For the YA fiction readers, a fun sci-fi novel about Natalie Ng, a teenage girl whose superpower is the ability to talk to cats. Nat and her best friends tackle a mystery centering on a kidnapped celebrity gossip blogger when the blogger’s cat screams that the woman he is with is an imposter.
    • Chris
      • What Should I Do with My Life? by Po Bronson - Bronson tells the inspirational true stories of people who have found the most meaningful answers to that great question. With humor, empathy, and insight, Bronson writes of remarkable individuals—from young to old, from those just starting out to those in a second career—who have overcome fear and confusion to find a larger truth about their lives and, in doing so, have been transformed by the experience.
      • Good, Better, Best Wines by Carolyn Evans Hammond - When it comes to wine, your “wants” are pretty simple: a good wine, at a price you can afford, that’s stocked at your local wine shop or supermarket. Good Better Best Wines gives you just that. It reveals in plain English, the good, better, and best wines available for the dollars you’re willing to spend–up to $15–along with photos of clearly labeled bottles to make wine shopping easier.
      • The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith - Ripley becomes enamored of the moneyed world of his new friend, Dickie Greenleaf. This fondness turns obsessive when Ripley is sent to Italy to bring back his libertine pal but grows enraged by Dickie’s ambivalent feelings for Marge, a charming American dilettante.
    • Julia
      • Re-reading We Heart Libraries by John Ira Thomas and Jeremy Smith (a library-friendly version of the Zoo Force comics) and all the other Candle Light Press books (I recently was gifted with a complete collection). Should be a good time!
      • The Essential Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter and Willow Rosenthal – Shows you how to do all sorts of exciting gardening/homesteading projects. I am reading it to review it for a journal, but I secretly wanted to read it anyways!
    • Joanna
      • Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore – If it follows the vein of previous Moore romps it will take a heavy dose of history and completely upend it to the suspension of all disbelief. “Oh lÀ lÀ, quelle surprise, and zut alors! A delectable confection of intrigue, passion, and art history—with cancan girls, baguettes, and fine French cognac thrown in for good measure—SacrÉ Bleu is another masterpiece of wit and wonder from the one, the only, Christopher Moore.”
      • Game of Thrones by George RR Martin – I’ve been holding off starting the series until I had time because I’ve been told by many that you will stay up all night reading through them. I haven’t seen any of the tv series and am greatly looking forward to a fun escape for a while.
    • Ashley
      • Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin – To borrow one of my recent blog posts… “Yelchin gives us a glimpse into Soviet Russia through the eyes of a child. In a flash a young Soviet boy loses everything…but it takes a day for this reality to sink in. Join Sasha on the eve of his communist Pioneer induction. Watch as he moves from total faith in his party and leader…to alienation. Don’t worry–the story is also peppered with humor and hope. The illustrations are works of art worthy of their own book. It’s in my top five favorite children’s books. A must read.”

LIS Reading

    • Joanna - I am going to read through the papers Rebecca linked to in her last article (gearing up for a fiction purchase battle) and then these writing/education/reading resources:
      • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott “Lamott’s ( Operating Instructions ) miscellany of guidance and reflection should appeal to writers struggling with demons large and slight.” She states that her goal is to not only make you a better writer, but a better reader and (marginalia pen in hand) I’m already finding that to be true.
      • Stop Stealing Dreams by Seth Godin “School was invented to create a constant stream of compliant factory workers to the growing businesses of the 1900s. It continues to do an excellent job at achieving this goal, but it’s not a goal we need to achieve any longer. In this 30,000 word manifesto, I imagine a different set of goals and start (I hope) a discussion about how we can reach them. One thing is certain: if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’ve been getting.”
      • You are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins  Goins is a blogger and writer I admire and have gotten a great deal from already. I’m looking forward to delving into this and maybe even finally embracing that I am a writer. “In You Are a Writer, Jeff Goins shares the truth about writing. He provides the tools and insights you need to build your platform, develop an audience, and make meaningful connections. No writer should embark on his or her writing journey without reading this first!”

What are you planning to read over the break? Do you have any recommendations?

To Read Tues: Recommended Reading Twitter Question

24/01/2012 § 13 Comments

Card Catalog, Burrow Library

We got a question on Twitter over the weekend about reading material for LIS: 

RT @brandontlocke: Any recommended reads for aspiring/future MLIS students?

It is difficult to respond to such a question in 140 characters or less. I made the attempt by suggesting reputable blogs and e-news sources for LIS information and fiction for mind expansion (and fun!). Feeling that a little more was needed I have expanded with advice, links and resources.

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SOPA/PIPA Black Wednesday

18/01/2012 § 4 Comments

Even if you are not actively involved, if you have been listening to the news or surfing the web in the last few weeks you have likely heard about the debates and activism swirling around SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (PROTECT IP Act or Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act). If nothing else perhaps you noticed that Wikipedia is black today (January 18).

We here at Hack Library School made the decision to add the black banner in the upper right corner to show support for Internet freedom and those working to stop passage of this legislation in its current form.

(As an aside, if you or your patrons are hurting for the loss particularly of Wikipedia as a research tool, according to NPR you can tweet with hashtag #altwiki and have your question answered by someone from The Washington Post, NPR or The Guardian.)

The writers of Hack Library School had our own debate about weighing in on US Legislation versus trying to stay away from the “political.” I am honored to have joined this group of students and leaders in time for this discussion. We talked over if we ought to: proceed as usual and continue to do as we do; post something for discussion as befits a learning environment; or join with the likes of Wikipedia, RedditBoingBoing, WordPress and even the “Cheezburger” sites, to completely “Black out” HackLibSchool for the day. I’m sure that many of you have had similar conversations within your organizations (those links by the way go to the blog or opinion pieces about the decision to blackout – interesting reading).

In the end, we decided to leave our site up and open for discussion and sharing. As current and future Information Professionals, (everyone reading this,) it behooves us to be as informed and aware of all points of view as possible. We at HLS want to show librarians and archivists as remaining active and available as a trusted resource, and creators of a safe space for discourse.

So here we are.

In a wonderful moment of kismet, we received a well-researched and thoughtful guest post from Alex Berman (posting at 9am EST), which sheds good light on some of the potentially problematic portions of the legislation. If you are new to this topic I highly suggest starting with Alex’s post as it offers a good basic introduction while citing specific language and verbiage in the actual bills.

If you are interested in more articles, I would offer: “Why we need to stop SOPA” by Director of MIT’s Media Labe Joi Ito; “The Problem with SOPA” by Sonia Simone of Copyblogger; “An Alternative to SOPA: the OPEN Act” by the Electronic Frontier Foundation; and from the “pro” side: a list of stated supporters by Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Lamar Smith (TX), and the Motion Picture Association of America’s RogueWebsites site.

Despite the black banner at top showing our allegiance to stopping SOPA, we welcome all opinions here (as was done with the “Occupy” posts 1 and 2). Copyright protection is as important an issue as intellectual freedom, and there is ample room for debate on the merits of or problems with all or portions of these bills from both sides.

Please share your own best resources, suggestions and opinions in the comment section below. It should be an intellectually stimulating and engaging day and the important thing is that the conversation continues uncensored.

“New Hacker” Joanna

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