Friday, December 30, 2005

I'm Now Enrolled!

I received a copy of my planned program from the Graduate School at SCSU yesterday afternoon along with the letter of acceptance from the School of Graduate Studies (rather than the School of Communication, Information and Library Science). All appropriate people have signed off - and I am officially enrolled in the MLS program. So far, I'm very impressed with the people and the program at SCSU.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Organizing My School Work

Given that I am just starting my journey through library school, I don't yet have a great organization scheme for my work. I have been giving this topic quite a bit of thought for the past couple of weeks. I figured that I really should try and get some type of organization in place before the start of next semester (my next class starts on January 29th). Imagine my delight when Joy (at Wanderings of a Student Librarian) posted her thoughts and ideas about organizing school work in a post in her blog this week.

Joy has some great ideas. I love the fact that she uses accordian files to keep track of material from individual classes. After my first class, I put all of my material into file folders: one folder for the syllabus and class information, one for class readings, one for readings that I used for research, one for my assignments, one for assignments from other students and one for study material. However, an accordian file would allow me to keep everything from one class together. I think I will be running out to get some accordian files.

Rather than shelves, I have (in the past) used boxes to store my files. I am thinking that one shelf near my computer for the material from my current class would be a great idea. Maybe this would help me to keep all of my material together. I do remember several times during the fall semester when I had to tear my house apart for the last week's information.

Rebecca Hedreen (from Frequently Answered Questions) pointed out to Joy that backing up one's files is also a critical part of keeping track of school work. I agree that backups are a critical part of any organizational scheme. Given that my classes are all online, everything that I have done is in electronic format with copies backed up on several computers. Additionally, I have put good portions of my work on this blog - which is backed up by another source. Of course, I also have several paper copies of everything.

There are a couple of additional things that I have done to organize my school work. One thing I do is keep a running bibliography of all class readings - required ones and all additional readings that I have discovered during my research. I keep a Refworks account with these citations. This comes in handy to check to see if I have already read a particular article - and if I have a hard copy of the article. RefWorks citations are fully searchable by author and title. I have already been able to avoid printing an article twice several times. I keep all of my articles in alphabetical order in file folders. My Refworks folders match the physical folders that I keep - hopefully to allow for quick retrieval.

Additionally, I try to write brief summations of all the articles that I read for a class. This brief summation is invaluable when I thumb through my articles to find any that may be helpful for an assignment. I have started to do this for articles that I read in my professional life as well. The one drawback to this scheme is that I keep all of this material in hard copy - and the amount of space it takes up will grow rapidly.

Ultimately, I am impressed with Joy's level of organization - and maybe even a bit jealous. Fortunately, her post has reinvigorated my quest to get everything organized before I start my next class.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Reflections on My First Class

My first class has been over for a couple of weeks - and I've had some time to reflect upon the whole experience - the first class in my MLS program and my first online class. Before taking the class, I was a bit unsure about what to expect from a distance education class. Admittedly, I worry about everything - especially schoolwork. I think I tend to believe that my grade will be based on the number of hours of self-flagellation I put myself through. So on top of my usual worries about starting a new program, I spent hours obsessing about what an online class would be like - would it be too easy? would it be too difficult? would there be any social interaction? how would I be able to figure out what the professor wanted? would I have the dedication and discipline needed to complete the class? how would the quality of the class be? how would others view a distance MLS?

I think I have mentioned before in this blog that I found the class to be a really rewarding experience. In addition to being worried about the online experience, I was a bit unsure about the actual class - Introduction to Information Science and Technology - and whether the material would be challenging. In my work, I am a head of library systems at a small academic library - and I am no stranger to information or technology. In fact, it is my job to be the most knowledgeable person about technology in the library. So, when I first opened the textbook and read the sections on how to connect to the internet, how to buy a computer etc., I wondered about the actual class material. Would it all be this basic? Fortunately, it wasn't. I really feel as if I learned quite a bit. The professor gave us choices in assignments so that we could choose projects that would challenge us. This was one of the reasons that I chose to do a wiki project - I was interested in wikis, but had no experience with them at all. Additionally, the web search exercise was fascinating - and I learned so much even though I have used search engines extensively for several years. All in all, the class made me look at several things in a whole new light - and that is worth its weight in gold (or the cost of tuition)!!

Apart from the actual content of the class, I also really enjoyed the online format. The threaded discussion took the place of classroom discussion - and I was actually suprised at how much social interaction the discussions promoted. People's personalities really shined through their posts. Also, in a traditional classroom, one cannot take classes with people in New England, Hawaii, and the Czech Republic (and assorted other places). It was an eye opening experience. The only difficult part of the online class was being able to read what the professor expected in terms of coursework. Well, I guess it wasn't difficult just very different. In a traditional class, there is human contact - and I guess that I have always relied upon that as a means to read the professor. Pouring through documents, email and discussion posts didn't give me confidence that I was writing my paper the right way or carrying out my project the right way. I was incredibly nervous about what material would be on the final. However, now that I look back, I was right about what the professor wanted - I was just second guessing myself because I didn't feel confident about taking an online class. Hopefully, I will be a bit more comfortable next semester!!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Planning my MLS Program

Now that the final for my class is over, I have been working on my program of study for my MLS. At Southern Connecticut State, accepted students must complete a program of study which details their planned track and expected classes. I had initially thought that I would take the Information Systems/Technology track because my current position at my library is in systems. However, the Info Systems/Technology track is extremely rigid with no room allowed for electives - and I would have to take several classes that I would prefer not to take. After an email discussion with my advisor, I decided to take his suggestion to take the Academic library track. This track is flexible enough to allow me to take most of the computer/systems/technology classes that I want. I finally have the plan complete and ready to be mailed. I won't be considered a matriculated student at SCSU until the school receives this document. Fortunately, I remembered to make a copy of this document given that if I decide to take different classes than I listed I have to revise the plan - and that would be tough to do if I didn't have a copy. I will confess that I didn't remember to make a copy until after I had sealed the envelope. A big almost whoops!!!!

My planned program looks like this:

Course Requirements:

Group I (Core 1) Requirements (2 classes)
  • ILS501 Introduction to Information Science and Technology - Principles and applications of computers and information technologies in libraries and information centers. Scheduled fall, spring, and summer semesters.
  • ILS503 Foundations of Librarianship - The development structure and function of library/information agencies. Scheduled fall, spring, and summer semesters.

Group II (Core 2) Requirements (2 classes)

  • ILS504 Reference and Information Resources and Services - General reference sources; their content, evaluation and use. The reference process and the organization of reference and information services as they relate to different types of libraries. Lab in on-line retrieval.
  • ILS506 Information Analysis and Organization - Principles of developing, evaluating, and organizing collections of all types of materials. Descriptive and subject analysis of materials. Commonly used guides, codes, and source materials. Lab in on-line retrieval.

Group III (Core 3) Requirements (1 class)

  • ILS560 College and University Libraries - Organization and administration of academic libraries. The role of libraries in research and the relationship of academic libraries to curricula, students, faculty, and administration.

Group IV (Professional) Requirements (1-3 classes)

  • ILS530 Information Systems Analysis and Design - An introduction to systems analysis in libraries. Includes flow charting, form design and control, time and cost analysis, sampling, and automation.
  • ILS537 Information-Seeking Behavior - How people acquire, store and use information they receive from their environment. Topics include behavioral, cognitive, and affective aspects of information-seeking. Applications to information systems and user instruction.
  • ILS565 Library Management - An examination of the general principles and practices of library management.

Group V (Technology) Requirements (1-3 classes)

  • ILS534 Library Automation - An overview of automation with emphasis on computer assisted library processes: subsystems in technical services, user services, administrative services.
  • ILS535 Information Networks - An examination of the impact of cooperation, consortia, and networks on the library/information field: developments, network characteristics, problems, and issues. Converging technologies and implications for emerging trends for information professionals are examined.

Group VI (Research) Requirements (1 class)

  • ILS680 Evaluation and Research - Principles and methods of evaluation and research are systematically reviewed. Major research undertakings are considered, as well as landmark studies. Prerequisite: 24 credits in library science or instructional technology.

Group VI (Elective) Requirement (1-3 classes)

  • ILS599 Special Projects

That is 12 classes for 3 credits each for the total 36 required credits.

Whew! Writing it all down makes it seems like an insurmountable task. With only one class down, I have 11 more to go. I'm looking forward to it all, but wonder if I'll ever be done.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Finished the Final!!

WooHoo!! I just passed in my final for my class. It feels wonderful to be done for the semester!!! All in all, it was an interesting exam. I was so incredibly nervous about the exam because I found it very difficult to study for. Without traditional classroom lectures, it was difficult to see and judge what the professor felt was important. I have always been a big note taker - feeling as if lectures give me a clue to what the professor finds key to the class. In an online class, there aren't any traditional notes and that left me a bit stymied. Fortunately, the test was ok. I don't think I "aced" it, but I don't think I'm in danger of failing either - and I can be really happy with that - for tonight atleast. Now, I can go unwind a bit before Thanksgiving. YEAH!!!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The End of the Wiki Project

Wikipedia defines a Wiki as a web site that allows any number of users to add content and any other users to edit that content. This makes a Wiki an inherently collaborative tool best used by groups. In order for a Wiki to be successful, there must be a need for a group to collaborate on a specific project - and possibly a need for the group to edit each other's work. This may be one reason why Wikis as class project may not work as well - a class Wiki project does not fill a collaborative need on the part of the class. Ideally, the collaborative need to comes first - then the idea that a Wiki could facilitate the group communication.

The Wiki project is now at an end. It was a great learning experience - even though the project itself was not as successful as I would have liked. However, I have learned a great deal about Wikis and how they could be used. They have some great potential as library tools. I can envision library staff projects, library instruction collaborative tools and even a great resource for the library community to give feedback to library staff.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Last email to class for wiki project

Yesterday, I sent out a final email to everyone in my class asking if anyone else had any interest in participating in my wiki project. I don't expect any other participants, however. I was a bit disappointed with the lack of interest in the project - since only two of my classmates wanted to take part. Yet, I do understand the lack of interest. A wiki is a collaborative tool that people use for a specific purpose. In order for it to work well, a whole community must feel a need to collaborate. A wiki that is imposed upon people is bound to fail. I very much appreciate the fact that two people were willing to participate. A big thank you to them!

The Wiki Choice

(Process took place between September 1st and 5th)
After doing some general research on wikis, I then started doing more in depth research about specific wiki hosting sites where I could have my wiki hosted. First, I compiled a list of my requirments:

  • I want a service that will host a wiki. I do not have the capabilities to use software that I download and install on a server.
  • I want to be able to create specific accounts for classmates to use. I do not want the general public to be able to edit the pages that I create. I need 20 user accounts. I don't mind that the wiki be a public space, I simply want to control who can edit it.
  • I want the ability to create private pages.
  • I want the solution to be low to no cost.
  • I would like a system that seems easy to use in order to encourage participation among my classmates.
  • I want an advertisement free wiki.

With these needs in mind, I looked at several different wiki hosting services - including Socialtext, Wikispaces, Jotspot, Seed Wiki, Atlassian and EditMe.

  1. Socialtext - This software is a collaborative tool aimed at businesses. There is 30 day trial that is free. However, 30 days is not enough. An account costs $30.00 per month - a price that is too steep for a class project. It has some nice features like being able to email new pages to the wiki. This service would not be appropriate for a class project.
  2. Wikispaces - This wiki farm seems to aimed at the general public. It is a free service, but has advertisements on the pages. There is no way to set up page security or create individual accounts. This would not meet my needs.
  3. Jotspot - This service has a free hosting service. However, there can only be 5 named users and 20 pages. I'm not sure the 20 pages would be a problem, but 5 users isn't enough to create accounts for the entire class. The free package does allow the administrator to create public and/or private pages. The editor is WYSIWYG. For $9.00 a month, one can have 20 users and 250 pages. This option would suffice for the project. Jotspot is a possibility.
  4. Seed Wiki - This service has free wiki hosting service. One can invite as many members as needed. However, no wiki can be restricted to members nor can member collaboration be tracked. This service has a traditional wiki look and feel with categories. For $9.95 a month, one can password any wikis for private use. However, in order to track user participation, one has to buy the $19.99 a month package. This is another good possibility for my wiki project.
  5. Atlassian - This wiki farm has options aimed at peronsal wikis. However, to use this software, one downloads it and installs the program on a local computer. Additionally, access is only for two registered users. This is not really appropriate for my project.
  6. Editme - This wiki farm is a hosted service. There is no free service. For $4.95 a month, one gets 25MB of storage (more than enough), as many users as needed, 10 days of backup and tracking of user changes. There are some other nice features - a variety of css templates, rss feeds, any person can comments on pages. I like the look and feel of this system - although it doens't necessarily look like traditional wikis.

I very quickly decided upon Editme for my wiki. I figured $4.95 was a small price to pay for the features that I wanted. The setup procedure was quite painless - and within a few seconds I had my very own wiki.

Refworks Account

This week I activated my Refworks account to try and keep track of all of my citations from my class. What an awesome tool!! I used it to create a bibliography for my wiki project which can be seen in my previous post. I've used both Procite and Endnote, but given that I don't own either program on my personal computer, I didn't find them particularly useful. Some of the import functions from different databases can be a bit difficult to get working correctly. However, they have a huge list of databases from which citations can be imported. With a little effort, I have been able to get all of the citations that I have marked or saved imported into Refworks. It is necessary to go through the bibliography that is created. I have noticed some formatting and spelling errors along with some extraneous characters in the data that Refworks generates. However, it is much easier to start with this data than type in citations by hand.

I also created accounts in both and Blinklist to organize and maintain my URLs. A big thanks to Rebecca Hedreen for pointing out these bookmarking services in her Frequently Answered Questions blog (which I think may be a SCSU distance education student's best friend). Her Using Bookmarking Services for Organizing Citations blog post is a great resource.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Wiki Project Annotated

One of the assignments for ILS501 - Introduction to Information Science and Technology was a menu project where we were able to choose from several different menu options. As I have mentioned before, I decided to do a wiki project. I decided to try to create a wiki for classmates to post results of their web search exercise. With that decision made - and an ok from the professor, my next step was to research different wiki software.

Reading about Wikis

Web Sites

Using a Wiki for Documentation and Collaborative Authoring - - by Michael Angeles

Wiki: What is a Wiki? - - a brief description of the wiki with some links detailing the Wiki’s history

What is a Wiki? - - another site defining wikis with some questions and answers

Should Wikis be a part of your KM Inititative? - - an interesting article about wikis from the excited utterances blog -


Chang May. I've gathered a basket of COMMUNICATION and COLLABORATION TOOLS. (cover story). Computers in Libraries. 2004; 24(8):6-64.

Clyde LA. Wikis. Teacher Librarian : The Journal for School Library Professionals. 2005; 32(4):54-56.

Frumkin, Jeremy. The wiki and the digital library. OCLC Systems & Services; OCLC Systems & Services. 2005; 21(1):18(5).

Gorman, G.E. Editorial: Is the Wiki Concept Really so Wonderful? Onine Information Review. 2005; 29(3); 25-226.

Hammond T, Hannay T, Lund B, Scott J. Social bookmarking tools (I). D-Lib Magazine. 2005; 11(4):1-1.

Ishizuka, Kathy. Library success a best practices wiki: of the month). School Library Journal; School Library Journal. 2005; 51(10):26(1).
Jones P. Strategies and technologies of sharing in contributor-run archives. Library Trends. 2005; 53(4):651-662.

Lamb, Brian. Wide Open Spaces: Wikis, Ready or Not. Educause Review. September/October 2004; 39(5); - - accessed 11/9/05.

Lipczynska, Sonya. Power to the People: the Case for Wikipedia. Reference Reviews. 2005; 19(2); 6-7.

Mattison D. Quickiwiki, swiki, twiki, zwiki and the plone wars. Searcher. 2003; 11(4):32.

McKiernan, Gerry. Wikimedia Worlds Part I: Wikipedia. Library Hi Tech News. 2005; 8; 46-54.

Rubenking, Neil J. Wiki Tools, PC Magazine. 12/30/2005 –,1759,1401071,00.asp - access 11/9/05.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Wiki project nears an end

The wiki project that I have been working on Sunday - November 13th. All in all, it has been a great project - one that I have enjoyed working on tremendously. Of course, I have only been able to get two (out of 19) of my classmates to participate. When I started the project, I was fairly certain that the most difficult part of the project would be attracting users - and this has turned out to be true. Ultimately, a wiki can only be successful if people use it to collaborate on something - otherwise it is simply a web page. A wiki really needs to come from a collaborative idea that several people want to work on together.

It's Official!!

I finally received my letter of acceptance to Southern Connecticut State University's MLS program on Friday afternoon. Yahooooo!!!! I didn't realize how nervous I was about being accepted until I got the letter. I had read on the school's web site that their admissions decisions were mailed out on (or around) November 1st. So of course, I was expecting the letter on Wednesday . . . then on Thursday . . . and by Friday I was a wreck. Fortunately, all worked out well. Now, I have to complete my intended program of study which is a bit overwhelming. Do I really want to go back to school???????? (The answer is still yes).

So, I am officially back in school. I'm definitely excited - and only a little bit nervous. Now that I have been accepted, I have to get back to work on my class. Our menu option exercise is due next weekend. The class will be over by November 23 - so I also have to get ready for the final exam. Yikes!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

New OCLC products

At work this week, I have been immersed in working with some of OCLC's new (relatively new) products for searching WorldCat through Internet Explorer and Firefox. The Yahoo! toolbar and the plug-ins for Firefox are really cool. You can search for material in WorldCat directly from the toolbars - and then check availability at local libraries. You can order your results by zip code, state, province or country. The software then retains the choice you made. The records link directly to local library catalogs. This seems to be a very useful tool. I hope to be able to sit down with our reference librarians to show them. I can't wait to play around with the project to display WorldCat holdings using Google Maps. This integration has some great possibilities.

I think these are some exciting trends in the evolution of bibliographic records. There are definitely some issues. I discovered that when searching by ISBN for a title that I knew was in our library catalog, a link to our catalog wasn't displayed in the Libraries tab. After a great deal of frustration, I discovered that there were several editions listed in the Editions tab. I had to go back to my library's OPAC to figure out which edition we had. When I clicked on the correct edition, the link to my libraries copy in our OPAC did show up. This was very confusing. An average user probably would not have looked beyond the libraries tab. However, I think these OCLC projects have some exciting possibilities.

The wiki project continues . . .

With the web search exercise completed, I am now back to work on my class wiki project. One of my classmates, posted information from her web assignment right after she finished working on it. A huge thanks to her for her help!!!! I think that having some examples of information will help the other students. Tonight, I sent out another email to everyone asking for their input. Here is hoping that people are willing to help!!!! I am a bit concerned about the best way to make people feel comfortable with the wiki. However, I will wait and see what the response from everyone is.

More on class

About a week and a half ago, my second assignment for class was due - a web search exercise where we had to do searches on non-unitary subjects in three search engines and one meta-search engine. Once we completed our searches we had to compare and contrast our search results. I found this to be a very difficult exercise - mostly I think because I have been using search engines for quite a while without any critical thought involved. Additionally, since I work in a library, I have access to other tools to search for material when need be. I have a tendency not to use web search engines except for topical information. I can't say that the exercise changed my opinion much.

More importantly, now that I finally have a couple of assignments completed for my class, I am feeling much more comfortable with the online format. I was very nervous about my first two assignments - I was kind of finding it difficult to judge what the professor expected without any face-to-face contact. However, the professor emails very detailed comments about the assignments with excellent feedback. I think I may actually survive my first online class!!!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Favorite Library Blogs

In response to a classmate's email, I am posting a list of my favorite library blogs.

There are a bunch of MLS student bloggers that are really informative. Joy Weese Moll has a listing of blogs by current students and recent graduates on her site Wanderings of a student librarian. Some technology centered blogs - LITA Blog, the Shifted Librarian, TechnoBiblio, LibraryTechnology NOW,, and Information Wants to Be Free. Other blogs I read regularly are the Creative Librarian, the Convivial Librarian, Librarian on the edge, Walt at Random, Phil Bradley's Blog, Peter Scott's Library Blog, Mike's Musings, and the Kept-up Academic Librarian.

Karen G. Schnieder has a blog with a listing of library blogs that is worth wading through for ones that may peak your interest. This is where I found most of the blogs that I currently have in my aggregator (and right now I have about 90).

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Completed first assignment for class

YEAH!! I finished my first paper for my class this morning. It was a bibliographic essay on managing technology in libraries. Given that this is a distance education class, I worked with a woman from Hawaii on the paper. That was a different experience - and I think we were both a bit apprehensive about how it would work. Fortunately, I think that we worked well together - and we each left ourselves enough time that the time difference was not a problem. I'm not entirely sure that our paper blends too well. We both picked two sub topics about managing library technology, wrote our own pieces and then meshed them together. I'm not sure if the paper seemed a bit choppy to me because I was more familiar with half of it - or if it really was. I guess I will have to wait for the grade to get a sense of that.

However, all in all, I am happy with my first effort. I enjoyed the experience of collaborating with someone online and learned quite a bit in the process. Now, I need to focus all of my attention on our web search exercise that is due next weekend.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Invited users to the class wiki

After some time spent working to create user accounts for my class wiki, I finally sent out emails to everyone in my ILS501 class inviting them to participate. I also sent out a separate email to everyone giving them their specific username and password to edit the wiki. I chose to go with a site that only registered users could edit to help protect content . Of course, the trade off is that more usernames and passwords can be cumbersome - and it is much more work for me to maintain. However, I like the site I chose to host my wiki. I find it easy to use and fairly intuitive. The true test will be to find out the opinions of class mates once they have tried it.

I'm hoping to use the wiki as a collaborative tool for students in the class to use to publish results of the web search exercise. My plan is to create individual pages for each search engine that someone evaluates. Hopefully, my collegeaues will be willing to post their summations of each search engine evaulated. I thought it would be interesting to do a compilation of everyone's results to see what types of trends and opinions the class has developed about search engines. Additionally, I would like to get student opinions of the wiki to find out what they might have liked/not liked/found easy to use/found difficult to use.

As I run across different wikis of interest or web sites dedicated to web search engines, I am trying to post the links to the wiki. I'm going with the theory that students may be more apt to use the wiki if they can find information of interest to them.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Library school wiki

The University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign has a wiki for their Graduate School of Library and Information Science. It is a very information site and might be of interest to students in other MLS programs. I think this is a great way to develop a community spirit among a group and may be a great way of developing such a community for participants in distance education MLS classes.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Blogs in libraryland

I've only been reading different blogs for several months. One of the reference librarians at the library where I work had a question about RSS feeds and XML which led me the world of blogs. In the course of answering a simple question, I discovered a fascinating new world. At this point, I may even be a bit addicted to blogs - seriously. Some mornings I can't wait to log into my computer and see what new posts are waiting for me in my aggregator. The majority of blogs in my reader are library-related ones. The information that people post is incredible. This has definitely become one of my favorite ways of keeping up with trends in libraries.

Of course, there are so many posts that keeping up with them can be overwhelming. This is one of the reasons that I really enjoy the Carnival of Infosciences which is essentially a roundup of the best, most interesting posts from library bloggers from a set period of time. For more information, see this post at Open Stacks where the Carnival of Infosciences originated. To date, there have been seven Carnivals hosted by various bloggers. To check them out, see Carnival of Infosciences #1 (hosted by Open Stacks), Carnival of Infosciences #2 (hosted by Open Stacks), Carnival of Infosciences #3 (hosted by Wanderings of a Student Librarian), Carnival of Infosciences #4 (hosted by lis.dom), Carnival of Infosciences #5 (hosted by Christina's LIS Rant), Carnival of Infosciences #6 (hosted by . . . the thoughts are broken . . .), and the current Carnival of Infosciences #7 (hosted by Mike's Musings). The things that librarians and library professionals come up amaze me some time!!

More on the class wiki

I spent most of the weekend thinking about my class wiki project and how best to get classmates to join in and collaborate. At this point, I think my plan is to create (or have others create) individual pages for each of the search engines and ask students to post comments about each of the search engines that they surveyed. It seems as if this would allow for more collaboration - which I think is essential for a successful wiki project. I'm hoping to get emails out this week to everyone in class asking for their help with the project.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Debate about distance education

Recently there has been a rash of emails on the Newlib-l listserv about distance education classes in MLS programs. In a recent post on the Wanderings of a Student Librarian blog, Joy Weese Moll discusses how the debates are primarily about the perceived lack of jobs for those with MLS degrees and beliefs that distance education will attract even more students to a profession where there is already a shortage of jobs. Fortunately according to a report published by the ALA entitled Library Retirements - What Can We Expect, an expected wave of librarian retirements is expected to take place starting in 2015. An entry in an blog suggests that by 2027, there will be a good market for librarians.

On a more personal note, I am currently taking an entirely online library science class. I am hoping to be admitted to a MLS distance education program - one that is entirely online - meaning that I will never have to set foot on campus or take an actual face-to-face class. I admit to having some reservations about distance education, but given my physical location, the high cost of the closest MLS program and my work schedule, I cannot actually attend a traditional class. As such, my choice was clear.

I am now two weeks into my first online class and I have been pleasantly surprised by the experience. The major means of communication is through threaded discussions and email. Despite the fact that I do miss the personal interaction (I find it difficult to judge what the professor is looking for or what his expectations are), the discussions are quite lively, well thought out and often allow the personalities of the students to shine through. The difficulty level of the class seems to be appropriate - I think the assignments are challenging without being overbearing. Of course, I have to keep in mind that I haven't actually done most of them yet. It is obviously quite early in the semester, but each day I get a bit more comfortable with the format - and I think my typing skills are improving. So far, I think I am getting money's worth and am being intellectually challenged.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Wiki Project Continues . . .

Well, I made it through another crazy week during which I wasn't able to spend too much time on work for my class. After successfully hosting a pot-luck lunch at work in honor of the last day of work for the woman who worked for me, leading the first class of a first-year student seminar as a mentor (for which I spent the better part of the week preparing) and hosting a party on Saturday for several of my first cousins, I think that my life may return to relative normality.

In honor of this, I spent most of today messing around with the wiki for my class. I created accounts for all of my colleagues in class to use - including a second account for me. I have been having fun editing pages logged in as two users. I think that I may have the concept down - and an idea of what the experience may be like for my classmates. I have created a new page on which I have put links to many of the websites that I have used while doing my wiki research. I'm hoping that this will serve as a testing ground as well as another area of documentation.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Information on web searching

I discovered a useful web site on search engines by Phil Bradley. It looks like an excellent resource for the web search engine project that is due next month!! Phil currently links to 138 general search engines. He breaks the search engines down into several categories including free text, index/directory, meta/multi, natural language and pay for placement search engines.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Libraries as Learning Commons

Not only are librarians debating about what they should call themselves, they are also debating about what they should call the buildings in which they work, especially in academia. Some libraries are dropping the library from their name and replacing it with "Information Commons" or "Learning Commons." Many others are keeping the name library, but adding commons spaces - generally at the expense of stacks, but in response to student needs. I think that this trend is having a great impact on our notions of what information actually is and what libraries need in order to disseminate information.

Today, I saw a news piece about the fact that Georgia State University is currently transforming its libraries. To learn more go to The library has a web site devoted to the transformation at There is also an INFOCOMMONS web site and listserv - details can be found at There isn't much traffic on the listserv as of yet, but I have learned some interesting information from it.I suspect that academic libraries 20 years hence will look quite a bit different than they do today - probably a bit more like Borders bookstores!!!

The Wiki project has begun

Yesterday, I finally decided to use EditMe for my class wiki. After much debate, I chose this service because for a small montly fee I could have unlimited users edit and collaborate on the wiki and could restrict access in a number of ways. Many of the other services that I looked at had limitations with the number of users and restrictions on administrator privileges.

Currently, there isn't anything to see on the wiki - I think that will be my next step in the project.

Who would have thought . . .

I'm not entirely sure that I have anything of interest to say to the world at large.

I have created this blog as an annotation tool to use for a class project on wikis. I have no clue where it will take me, but I guess I'm along for the ride.