Final Reflections

Most importantly, my perceptions of where my passions lie have changed throughout the semester. I began my LIS studies knowing I had an aptitude for marketing, since that was the area that I’m already heavily involved professionally. However, as my studies have progressed this semester, I see Information Management at a more research level as something I can not only get passionate about, but also see a great need for in the future of information and marketing. The intersection of my studies and my current career path has been an interesting and important development.

I have seen this develop in a few different ways this semester. The perspective that I bring to group projects has been embraced for its unique relation to things outside of the direct library focused view. As well, I helped to redesign a website at my current job, and in that I had to take into consideration the needs of my end-users. That pulled in a lot of the principles discussed this semester about access and usability as well as sparked an interest in User Experience and Information Architecture.

Similarly, my current position has been augmented to involve more of a focus on analytics, which has relied heavily on the ways that I’ve spoken to my supervisor about data and what it means to me. Many of these developments probably would have happened naturally, but since I was working on introspective evaluations throughout the semester, it was expedited.

The ways that I am interacting with my current profession in marketing has helped me to see that LIS principles are important in many fields outside of the library. This has been an important perspective to feeling more comfortable with my career decisions. As well, when I spoke with the information practitioners during my agency visits, that helped to  target where I can see what I’m currently doing and what I’m studying intersect down the line. I hope to see that develop more and more, and I also hope that will translate to me becoming more of an asset in my current position with my constantly developing skills.

I see the role of an information professional as being pivotal to nearly every aspect of business. There is room for those that value freedom of knowledge and expression in every field, and it is up to those professionals to value information and its accessibility to users regardless of how those users are defined. As information management becomes more understood and more prevalent, I see the information professional as someone who exists in many different capacities.

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Revisit Assumptions/Assertions about LIS

After a semester of discussing, studying and thinking about libraries and their role in society, I don’t think many of my assumptions and assertions have changed all that much. Instead, I have become more convicted in my belief that libraries and information agencies are essential to society and the ways it will develop into the future. Really, information has no future without those committed to its preservation, storage, study, and dissemination.

That being said, my thoughts concerning what it means to be a librarian have evolved. I see now that the four walls and the books contained in within them do not make a library whole. No, it is the individuals committed to LIS principles like freedom of access and preservation that make a library whole. Along with that, LIS professionals can do so much more than work in an archive or manage a public library. Those professionals have a role to fulfill in information agencies and that role is essential to the profession surviving this influx of technological advancement.

After this semester, it is clear that all of my peers will make contributions to the LIS field, and I should not be ashamed that my aspiration is to work in Information Management. It is becoming more and more evident that both are necessary, but are also guided by the same principles. We are all concerned with the end-user or the patron and how those folks interact with that information. That interaction is founded in principles of freedom and accessibility; we are all just vehicles for those deeper concerns.

Blogging about Professional Blogs

a summary of these issues and
your personal observations and/or what you learned. Be sure to include links to the blogs, and
reference specific posts as needed.

Public Knowledge

This blog is a collaborative approach to talking about issues related to the freedom of information and protecting individuals right to privacy. This takes on many forms from discussions of violations and proposed bills, to discussion of artist rights concerning recordings. Through this, I learned that as keepers of information and knowledge, LIS professionals have a lot of responsibility to think about all of those involved in these issues. As well, I learned that there are several components of interest to these issues and it important for ALL LIS professionals to be concerned with these issues.

As technology develops, it seems like there are more opportunities to violate users’ and creators’ rights. Copyright laws take on so many nuances as they are pulled and prodded through different societal mechanisms, namely the government. As future information professionals, it is best that we are occupied with making sure that these laws continue to protect their intended individuals.

Not only is it important to consider the ways that traditional media is being attacked (or not), but as LIS professionals, even things like music are important to our professional integrity. The way that copyright interacts with the future of music is just as important as a community trying to ban a book. Information is the LIS professional’s responsibility to protect.

Information Wants to Be Free

This blog by Meredith Farkas who is the General Education Instruction Coordinator at Portland State University explores several different aspects of academic librarianship, information access, and being a professional person generally. She is a writer, teacher, speaker, and academic. Her observations concerning life as a professional woman are heartfelt and important when considering what a dedicated career may look like. Not only does she delve into personal and professional issues concerning career, but she also talks about what it is like to be an instructor and how that informs her work as a librarian and a manager.

Her introspective work is important in understanding how all encompassing a professional career may be. Not that my career isn’t already overwhelmingly encompassing, but I realize as I develop as a professional, at some point I need to make distinctions about what is important to me. This may take the form of more intense study, or finding ways to find a happy medium between work and my “real life.” Right now, my real life is dominated by my career and more often than not, the activities I do for fun are extensions of my career. Perhaps that’s what blogging and academic writing means for Meredith.

Ultimately, this blog is most interesting because it is so human and full of soul. Her rant on the ways that Harvard Business Review is making it more and more difficult for her students to access the material is funny, but heart-wrenching. Talking about issues of access in the abstract is one thing, but having a relationship with Meredith’s writing and seeing these issues manifest in real ways is both interesting and important to my development as a professional.

Comparative Analysis of Professional Journals

International Research : Journal of Library and Information Science – As society progresses toward a more digital society, it is imperative that the community of information professionals keep an international perspective. Not only that, but I have heard that librarianship is not entirely revered in other parts of the country. In order to keep the professional alive as well as value information throughout the world, works that discuss these issues are exceptionally important.

a. The intended audience of this journal are academics, researchers, practitioners, teachers and information scientists concerned with global issues concerning LIS professionals and information structures. This is more of an academic and research oriented view of information mechanisms in countries across the world.
c. In this case, it is important that this journal is peer-reviewed since it is an open-access resource covering such a broad range of topics. As well, a peer review process helps to create more of a collaborative environment among the intended audience and those contributing to the journal.
d. Concerning my own professional goals, the journal is enlightening about the differing LIS concerns across the globe. This helps to keep in perspective how important LIS concerns are wherever information is being disseminated and in whatever manner.

Information Management – Since I plan to work in Information Management, I find the issues discussed in this journal not only important to the field, but also to me as a professional. As well, it is important to the whole of LIS professionals to remember all of the similarities found across the professions in library and information science.

a. The intended audience is not only information practitioners, but also those that interact with those fields. It is focused mostly on the implementation of differing factors related to information management with each issue focusing on different aspects of such. There is a particular focus on a collaborative approach across several fields related to technology and its implementation in different agencies.
c. There is an editorial board for this journal which lends itself to the very themed appearance of the journal. Each issue has a very controlled focus, and although that can be confining to the contributors, it is helpful in creating a journal that extends one idea throughout the entirety of the publication.
d. Concerning my own goals, this journal is invested in being a catalyst for those professionals. It is an attempt at helping those existing in and studying information management to have a broader view of the field and how it intersects with other greater LIS issues.

Comparison:

The most important similarity evident in researching these two journals (and the others in similar veins) are that journals in LIS are concerned with LIS as a whole. Yes, they are concerned with the particular concerns of the niche audience, but they are also focused on protecting the information profession as it concerns multiple aspects of LIS professionals and their careers. Although academic in many ways, both journals touch on the collaborative approach to creating free information structures and combatting censorship. There is a particular focus on users, patrons, and they ways both interact with practitioners.

Mid-Semester Analysis and Reflection

As the first half of the semester zooms by, I’ve realized that having a focus in my MLIS studies is really important. As well, it is important that I not worry about the preoccupation of working in a library. I need to remember that was not my intention for going to Wayne State in the first place and I need not get distracted by the passions of my peers. Yes, those are founded, and I will not discount the possibility of working in a traditional library setting. However, I chose my course of study because I wanted to become more marketable in the information sector. That is just as valuable, and I’ve noticed in my writing and responses to others an attempt at sounding like I might work in a library.

I feel passionately about the needs and progression of libraries, especially public libraries serving communities that truly need unadulterated access to information. It is just really pivotal that I keep my goals in mind and remember that the evolution of the information field is not soulless. That’s really what I’ve discovered. I’ve realized that there is a truly important human aspect to the information field, and what that sector needs is professionals dedicated to creating a community of thought that is founded in freedom and a focus on the end-users’ needs. Just because  field is successful and growing does not mean that it is not important to the progress of society. Struggle does not have to be the foundation of my passion, although that’s often how I’ve seen it since I started out in undergrad intending to be a teacher in alternative education.

My development as a professional has been really interesting to analyze this semester so far. Before entering grad school, I wasn’t being particularly introspective. Being pushed to discover passions, interests, and partaking in guided reflection has helped me to garner a deeper focus on what will be a suitable career path. As well, it has caused me to be more invested and careful in my current career choices. Each step must have purpose.

In the second half of the semester, I plan to have more resolve in working toward a concentration in Information Management. That is a choice, and I’m prepared to explore the many facets of that choice. As I progress, I hope to have a more vivid picture of what working in the information management field will look like, but after the first half of the semester, having a resolve of any sort is comforting and exciting. So not only do I want to explore this further, but I also want to be wholly aware that things will change and alter as my studies move forward.

Professional Associations

Professional development, networking, job opportunities and so much more is afforded to individuals who participate in professional associations. This has been evident in past parts of my career and are going to be especially prevalent in moving forward with my MLIS studies. I have explored a couple different associations that seem to mirror my career aspirations in one way or another, those discoveries are as follows:

Software & Information Industry Association

Missions: Promote. Protect. Inform. The SIIA is concerned with not only promoting the interests of the software and digital content industry, but also in the protection of intellectual freedom issues regarding member companies. This extends to advocating for a beneficial legal and regulatory environment for the industry. Finally, the SIIA serves as a resource on trends, technologies, policies and related issues concerning the industry as well as informing the greater public.

Membership Benefits:  There are several divisions of the SIIA, and the benefits derived from the group are vastly tied to those. Overall though, the SIIA provides international services in government relations, business development, corporate education and intellectual property protection to software and information companies.

Opportunities/Requirements: Membership in this organization is extended to companies and those fees are directly related to the capital with which that company functions under.

Publications: These are all free newsletters available to the public including, SIIA Digital Policy Roundup, SIIA Intellectual Property Roundup, Public Sector Innovation Roundup, SIIA Software SmartBrief, SIIA Ed Tech Daily, SIIA Content Weekly, and the SIIA/SIPAlert Daily.

Primary Activities: The main events for this association are concerned with keeping their members up to date on emerging technologies. The majority of the regular activities include webinars and conferences with education components.

Presence: The SIIA supports a Social Media Hub that integrates video, photos, a Twitter account for each industry division, Facebook, LinkedIn, and an active blog. As should be expected with an association committed to technology, their presence in Web 2.0 is robust. As well, their regular newsletters are concerned with keeping their followers (since anyone can subscribe) informed about emerging technologies, trends, and educating that readership.

Why? Since the SIIA is a trade organization, I would not be able to join unless the company I worked for was a member. That being said, I see value in the information and resources being offered, so I would push for a company membership. I do appreciate the amount of free resources offered and will utilize them for personal growth and education in the meantime.

Association for Information Science and Technology 

Missions: ASIS&T brings together varied information specialists invested in improving the ways society stores, retrieves, analyzes, manages, archives and disseminates information. It is a belief of the association that with the rapid pace with which technology is progressing, it is essential for information specialists to work together to monitor and share developments in the field. With a focus on personal and professional growth, ASIS&T wants members to “extend their knowledge and skills, develop and use professional networks, pursue career development goals and assume leadership roles in the association and in the information community.”

Membership Benefits: From access to webinars to regularly produced publications, from special interest groups to job opportunities, and from insurance plans to education opportunities, ASIS&T has benefits that extend much further than just networking and conferences. It seems the benefits extend across a broad spectrum in order to meet the needs of researchers, developers and end users in information technology.

Opportunities/Requirements: Anyone interested can join ASIS&T for access to webinars, conferences, publications and job opportunities. This membership includes access to discounts and the ability to hold office. For a discounted fee, students can join ASIS&T and receive subscriptions to publications, access to job opportunities, discounts and benefits, as well as reduced fees for conferences and education events.

Publications: The ASIS&T has a Digital Library where members can access the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST) and the Bulletin of the Association for Information Science and Technology along with conference proceedings from past Annual meetings. As well, there is access to a bookstore where there are several books on information management, information architecture, knowledge management and more. The Annual Review of Information Science & Technology (ARIST) is published annually on behalf of ASIS&T.

Primary Activities: The members of ASIS&T come together from a diversity of professions to work together to find solutions to emerging technology needs at conferences, annual meetings, continuing education events, and regular webinars. There are local chapters of ASIS&T that work on more localized events.

Presence: There are Facebook and Twitter communities for different aspects of the national association, local chapters, student groups, and special interest groups. Some of these are more active than others, but all are invested in promoting the information professions and their technological developments. The publications of ASIS&T focus on new technology, the ways industries are shaping those technologies, as well as ways that different industries can work together to propel information technology.

Why? Currently, I am in contact with the student leader of the Wayne State University ASIS&T. We are working together to bring life back to the student group because the chapter has been inactive for some time now. I’m very interested in becoming more involved with a group that is focused on the ways technology is shaping our future and how important that is to society’s growth.

Job Analysis Part 2

A career in UX research will entail many career decisions, the first of which began a few years ago when I started working with websites, writing, doing social media and studying search engine optimization. The skills, competencies and knowledge required for a job in this field weigh heavily on experience, but also entail education that enhances the use of data analysis and information structure building. That means, I will need to work on developing the kinds of skills that will not only help to create forms of digital media, but also to develop my skills in understanding people and the ways they interact with that media.

It is my intention to immerse myself in the use and creation of digital media. This will take several forms including pursuing a concentration in Information Management specializing in User Experience. Concurrently, I’m involving myself professionally in a career focused on marketing and social media. This helps to focus my work toward user demands and needs. Following my MLIS studies, I should be more aptly prepared to analyze complex data and design web-based platforms. It will be important that I at least understand how to do some front and back-end development of web-based platforms and mobile applications.

Along this path, it will also be imperative that I focus on the sociological implications of these platforms and applications so far as it concerns user experience. This may manifest itself in pursuing another Master’s degree, a grad certificate or doing doctoral work. Regardless, the professional frame of reference may be necessary to work at a high level in the research field.

My professional goals and objectives are continually changing as my education progresses. One thing is certain, I am determined to find a position that fulfills my curiosity surrounding human interactions with digital media. The space where humans and technology intersect becomes increasingly important, but also increasingly interesting to study. I want to be a part of the mechanism that protects people from the ways that emerging technologies and Web 2.0 disrupts lives. Instead, I want to be a creator, and I want what I create to be usable, important and pivotal to technological developments.