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Monday, August 27, 2012

LIBR285 Research Methods: misnumbered!

I've pored over this first real week's worth of reading for Research and had to sit back in my chair and rub my hands over my face. Why oh why didn't SLIS make this class an earlier number and include it in what us students considered THE core classes: 203, 200, 202, 204. Then SLIS decides to tack on 285 as a requirement where it should have been numbered a LIBR201 class!

I'm glad I took this when I did and not a semester later.

Research. What could you possibly teach me about research that I, as an MLIS Candidate wouldn't already know about or have used in technique myself already?! Hah. I'm laughing right now at my own naievete regarding the subject. There's research you do for yourself, like... "What is this bump I have growing on my chin? Is it a big zit? or possibly a tumor?!" or "Wow, Matthew Mcconaughey is major McDreamy and I want to read everything I can possibly get my hands on!". That, my friends, is research you do for yourself.

Research that you do past a hobby? Research that will alter your professional career, make or break you--research that you conduct that hopefully will help make workplaces, communities, governments better places to work, play and live is a whole new ball of wax. Its different, but... well... I'd have to say they're similar in that great research is born of something you, yourself, must have a passion for. If you don't already love what you're learning, you should at least hope to grow an affinity for it as you'll be devoting a lot of time and attention to your chosen topic.

When you're digging up information on a subject for yourself, you only have yourself to contend with whether you like what you've found out or not. When you're doing it on a larger scale, there is just so much more to consider. You want to look at who you're writing for. You want to make sure you're not making enemies out there in the field already. You want to be neutral, but you want to be truthful. You want your research to make a difference and you want to be praised for your efforts when you've presented your results, but in so many cases, ending happily ever after isn't the case. Go figure.

Anyway, we're reading about how to "properly" set up for creating a literature review now and I'm feeling conflicted for two reasons. 1) If I had only known all this earlier before I was thrown into pumping out a few 10 page+ reviews for 200 & 204, everything would have been that much better. 2) If I had to READ about how to do a lit review properly before actually DOING one, I probably wouldn't have understood what the text was talking about. So. In the end, I'm just glad I'm taking this class now. The topic seems pretty boring and almost ominous if you really think about it, but just like with all things, if you know how to do something well, you'll be good at it and you'll learn to love it. I want to learn to love research--I'm in library school! It's a given!

Old School to New Tech: Study Habits in D2L

I was studying today and had an idea to share with you a quick tip of what I do to keep myself organized when I’m buried deep in the D2L platform, so check it out. Here’s the link:
Although I discuss the benefits of transferring course information into word documents, I forgot to mention in this screencast that once you save something in Word, you can easily cut and paste from Word into your discussion posts using the icon that looks like this:
Realizing you can't Copy/Paste from Firefox into D2L? Try this method.

So, this is another great way to save your reading notes to yourself, the actual text you’ve been asked to discuss and your own response via discussion post in a file folder that you can maintain yourself for that particular class.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Marian the Librarian, I am not.

The image of Marian the Librarian (portrayed below) conjures up many enduring and many more irritating stereotypes those of us in today's Library Field like to disagree with.

Shirley Jones in the 1962 a film version of the popular 1957 Broadway Musical "The Music Man"

Shirley Jones, as Marian Paroo, is beautiful and almost intimidating in her knowledge but just isn't the kind of librarian I want to be seen as. OK, so I will concede that Marian roamed her medical stacks back in 1912 and its now 2012, so obviously times have changed but listen, times have changed.

Granted, I'm in library school so I've a few courses yet to go before earning my full-fledged librarian status, but I'm a person just like any of you. OK. Maybe I'm a little obsessive in my organization and classification tendencies and I have to admit, I have a thirst for knowledge (but who doesn't?).

I'm a mom of 3 beautiful kids. I can sit on the beach here where I live in San Diego and squish my toes in the sand and watch people for hours. I almost never burn a cookie. I love to laugh and find the strangest things humorous. I'm pretty talented and can maneuver a mini-van full of after school kids with one hand on the wheel and on wrapped around a giant burrito (typical fare you'd find in my neck of the woods). I collect chap-stick and probably have one in the pocket of every pair of jeans, purse and backpack I own. I'm a voracious reader. I kill at Scrabble and Scattergories and yeah, maybe I've been guilty a time or twelve at smelling books but otherwise I'm just like everyone else I know!

Despite our own individual tendencies (I'm speaking for all librarians here), I believe we are all in this field because we like to help people.
"It's funny that we think of libraries as quiet demure places where we are shushed by dusty, bun-balancing, bespectacled women. The truth is libraries are raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy and community. Librarians have stood up to the Patriot Act, sat down with noisy toddlers and reached out to illiterate adults. Libraries can never be shushed." -- Comedian and author Paula Poundstone, national spokesperson for Friends of Libraries U.S.A. (FOLUSA)
In the Peer Mentorship program, the Professor I assisted posted this really funny video about Librarians, dubbed: "The Librarian Song". Credit: Joe Uveges-When Freedom Calls concert on November 2, 2007 in Colorado Springs. It's so good I have to re-post it here:

 I've been learning so much here in the program and just feel so fortunate to have had this opportunity. I've always ranked Librarians up there with some of my real-life super heroes and just being here, learning how to navigate virtual libraries in my jeans and bare feet or attacking research with my iTunes on and a burrito in hand I can't think of a more relaxed, yet empowering field to place my time and passions in.

I'm really looking forward to just embracing the wonderful world of Library and Information Sciences and I'm thanking my lucky stars to have landed myself here--now.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Jing--How did I ever get by without you?

I just recently began using a program called, Jing to capture screenshots and record screencasts. It's an amazing program and its totally free! Before this, to capture screenshots I did it the old fashioned way by using the PrtScn-->copy-->Paint-->Paste method. Jing definitely streamlines the process and it leaves a widget-of-sorts right on the top of my screen so I'm ready to copy & film whenever the mood strikes me. :)

I recently recorded this screencast on: Career Pathways: Good to Know

I feel so plugged into the techno-gadget/software world now that I'm in school again and I wonder if I'll be able to keep up once I finish the program. There are so many amazing things out there for us to try out and use in the cyber world. Sometimes, I just have to find myself geeking out over it a little bit!

Instructional videos are the way to go when you can't be there for every person needing help all at once. I'm happy to see so many libraries adopting screencasts into their websites.