Well, it’s done folks. I’ve completed my first semester of graduate school! I thought it would be interesting to share what I’ve learned in my classes this semester and showcase a few of the projects I worked on:
INLS 461: Information Tools
This class covered Powerpoint, Document Markup, HTML, Basic CSS, Microsoft Access, and Omeka — wow that’s a lot in one semester. I learned how to: make an e-book, build a website, embed style sheets, make a database, and create an online exhibition. Most of the projects I worked on are pretty boring to look at but I can share one of them: my Omeka exhibition. Before I give you the link there’s a word of warning, a lot of the projects start to get really boring really quickly without an adequate sense of humor. To keep things interesting, we often choose to do off-the-wall project topics. Mine? An Exhibition of Harry Potter Ships.
INLS 501: Information Resources and Services
Though SILS likes to make up crazy names for classes, this was essentially a reference course. Most of the projects centered around learning how to interact with users and ask the right reference questions, for example one project called “Street Reference” entailed setting up a reference service at a strange place. Though some groups chose to go to the Zombie Convention my group went to the Carrboro Farmer’s Market . The questions we got there ranged from “How did the Jerusalem artichoke get its name?” to a question about the movements of Muslim merchants in the early 1100s. The experience was an excellent lesson in keeping things upbeat even when you get crazy questions! For another assignment the class was asked to answer questions through social networks such as Yahoo Answers and Quora. These questions were great training in a completely different way – I was forced to adapt to the question answering style of each service.
INLS 513: Resource Selection and Evaluation
Another class with a crazy name! This one really means collection development. We learned about buying from distributors such as Ingram, the ebook challenges facing libraries, and a boatload of other issues I had never considered. The projects for this class were definitely some of the hardest I had this semester but they were also really fun! Our first project involved evaluating a community and assessing its needs, then building a collection to address them. My group selected a list of reference resources for the U.S. Embassy in Israel. Our goal was to select resources that would help those who had just moved to Israel adjust to the drastically different situation. The last project was an assessment of two different libraries’ collection development policies – I chose two private schools in vastly different places. It was fun to see what they held and what their selection priorities were.
INLS 530: YA Literature and Related Materials
Unsurprisingly, this was my favorite class. It dovetailed nicely with my position as Teen Services intern at the local public library. The projects for this class were so much fun! I made a book trailer and website for Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens, anytime you get to read Libba Bray for a course is a good thing in my book. For our final projects we were given broad topics (ex. Leaving home, Family, Sexuality, Coming of Age), asked to present to the class on what they meant for teens, and then were asked to create an online resource that teens could use to learn about the issue. My group received the broad topic of “coping.” In the past groups have done things like depression and eating disorders but my group decided to pick a mental disorder that emerges during the teenage years and has a huge stigma surrounding it: bipolar disorder. This project was so close to my heart and I often felt put through the ringer while working on it; it was a true labor of love but I’m so happy with how it turned out — check it out here.