Hack Library School Day in the Life: Tuesday
It’s that time again- Hack Library School Day in the Life! This week, I’m joining dozens of other library school students around the world documenting our lives as students of library science. For more information about HLSDITL, see the wiki or blog. I am currently in my final semester of library school, in the San Jose State University online MLIS program. I am taking a Reference course and working on my capstone project, known as the electronic portfolio or e-portfolio. In addition, I have a student job at my local university processing archival collections in the Special Collections and University Archives, and have also begun a national job search.
Today I focused on homework for my Reference class. The big term project for the class is to create a research or subject guide, with the topic, scope, audience, and interface of our choice. I jumped at the chance to learn the LibGuides interface, since I know a lot of academic libraries use them and being proficient in this tool will be important. Once I obtained an account and password, I explored the site and watched several tutorials. It’s a very intuitive and user-friendly interface, and the documentation is excellent. I already knew that I wanted to make a guide focused on LGBTQ resources, so I started playing with the tools and created an outline. My initial idea was to gear it towards LGBTQ youth and adults and the librarians and educators who serve them. I wanted to have tips for searching by subject heading, finding curated booklists, and collection development. But then I took a step back and realized that my guide was already looking cluttered, and I know that a too-busy guide can cause problems with cognitive overload. I decided it would be better to narrow the audience to just LGBTQ youth OR adults OR librarians/educators serving diverse communities. By having a clearly defined audience, it’s easier to gear the resources, tips, and annotations toward them and make an attractive and simple guide. I haven’t yet decided just who my audience is, but I got some great practice investigating tools and also spent some time reading scholarship on best practices for research and subject guides.
This week I’ve also been collaborating with a colleague on a co-authored article. Last March I co-created a tutorial with Information Literacy classmate George Duvoisin using the innovative Guide on the Side interface. We had so much fun learning the tools and using learning theory to create a thoughtful tutorial for public library patrons searching and signing up for classes that we decided to write an article about our experience. We’ve been communicating for the past month and a half, passing drafts back and forth, debating about what to include, and looking at different journals for possible submission. We have a workable draft and a chosen journal now, and just have to do some final proofreading and add some screenshots. Did I mention that we live halfway across the globe from each other? Yep, we’ve been collaborating purely through social media, Google Docs, and email. Just another example of how an online MLIS program can really hone your communication, collaboration, and technical skills!
Stay tuned for more thrilling updates about classwork, job hunting, and hopefully some news on the e-portfolio!