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November 2, 2013 / Charlie McNabb

Hack Library School Day in the Life: Thursday and Friday

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.

Whoops- I didn’t do a post on Thursday, because I fell down a research hole and didn’t emerge until very late!  I spent most of that day finishing my presentation for my one-shot instructional session.  Mostly, I gathered screenshots from Zotero and added arrows and explanatory text about various features to put into my PowerPoint.  The hardest part was trimming content.  Zotero is such a fantastic tool, with so many features, but I know it’s crucial to keep my presentation brief and not overload my audience.

Today (Friday), I put together my first LibGuide- a short tutorial on Zotero to accompany my presentation.  I had great fun and learned a lot about the LibGuides interface.  I wouldn’t call myself an expert quite yet, but I feel comfortable with most of the features and it was good practice for the LGBTQ resources LibGuide I’ll be creating for my Reference class.  My Zotero LibGuide is here, in case anyone wants to take a gander.

I also worked on an assignment for my Reference class.  In order to introduce us to many varied reference sources, my professor has the class collaborating on an annotated bibliography.  Each person provides an in depth primary annotation for one source and adds additional information to a second source.  My primary annotation was for the Brewer’s Dictionary of Modern Phrase and Fable, which is a fascinating survey of cultural expressions that have arisen from popular culture, politics, literature, technology, and naming conventions.  The online version is available through many academic library databases and is fully searchable.  My secondary annotation was for the Dictionary of American Regional English, which includes pronunciation and regional terms and phrases.  It’s a massive five-volume set; the online version has only 100 entries, but also includes audio samples and a dialect map.

I’ll leave you with a goofy artifact.  Many of my MLIS colleagues participate in various Internet forums, since we are in an online program and miss the face-to-face interactions.  Some of us, when we are working on the e-portfolio, decorate a pie chart each time we pass a portion of the e-portfolio.  It’s a fun way to visually keep track of progress and share with others, and some people even bring them to their graduation ceremony.  Although I won’t be attending convocation, I did decorate a “comp wheel” and I’ll share it here, in the spirit of celebrating graduate student material culture.

Comp Wheel

This brings us to the end of a week of Hack Library School Day in the Life posts.  For any future librarians considering entering an MLIS program, I hope my ramblings have been somewhat helpful.  Be sure to read lots of other participants’ posts- you’ll see that each student’s path is unique.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my MLIS program, but I’m thrilled to be finishing and moving on to professional librarianship.


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