Maybe you’re interested in the kinds of things a first term MLIS student does. This is a follow up post to my first months of school recap.
Assignment 2 for my Information technology course was a website/research paper kind of weird hybrid amalgam thing. I did mine on Transhumanism, and managed not to mention my buddy who wants to be a robot some day. Until now. The last assignment for that course was the Twitterbrary project here on the blog.
In my reference services class (is that what it was called?) we collected a pile of reference resources for use by SIGGRAPH Vancouver (that was a group project so I’ll wait till the writeup is complete and I have group member permission before posting it here). Also did a presentation in class that stuck pretty close to the allotted 10 minutes. Information Organizations sent us off to compare a library and game store (again, group work so I won’t post it without the others’ permission).
And then there was the Subject Headings assignment (PDF) for the classification class. In our final session we spent 45 minutes talking about the assignment and what was required and what wasn’t. It was painful, but my Headings are done and not too far off line from what he wanted so whatever.
So yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing.
In our classification class the other day we learned about faceted classification systems, which sounds amazingly exciting doesn’t it? I wouldn’t have thought so, except that our in-class activity was building one of these systems for organizing Lego. Which made it awesome.
I am a bit of a Lego nerd and loved the idea of building a system that would allow you to find things based on your needs at the time. If I may say so, we built a pretty good fucking scheme which, had we had more time, could have been extended to be much better than how Bricklink does it. I was really into the whole thing. As in, it was the kind of thing I’d have fun doing a lot of.
Which is interesting because I didn’t really come into the program thinking “I’m going to be a cataloguer” or anything like that. I’m not anal about keeping everything in its right place, which I’d had the impression was a requirement. But I’m kind of excited about the puzzles sorting Lego can provide. And creating these schemes is sort of a form of describing, right? Describing stuff is why I write, and this is describing with a very controlled vocabulary. Slotting things into their place in the world.
And here begins my bloggy notes on things I’m reading for school. If you’re following along, trying to get the equivalent of an MLIS degree without going to school, this is the stuff to read.
Monopoly vs Myst and other things about technologyby Nardi and O’Day
It is not necessary to jump on the digital bandwagon. It is dangerous, disempowering, and self-limiting to stick our heads in the sand and pretend it will all go away if we don’t look. We believe that much more discussion and analysis of technology and all its attendant issues are needed.
On Information Ecologies by Nardi and O’Day:
Diversity is necessary for the health of the ecology itself, to permit the system to survive continual and perhaps chaotic change. Monoculture – a fake, brittle ecology – gives sensational results for a short time, then completely fails. Information ecologies should be teeming with different kinds of people and ideas and technologies. It is captivating to wander through a rain forest and stultifying to be stuck in a hundred acres of soybeans. A diverse information ecology is a lively, human, intensely social place, even if it incorporates very advanced technologies. It has many different resources and materials and allows for individual proclivities and interests.
There was also an interesting bit in there about how they advocate constructing good info ecologies instead of resisting harmful ones.
What else? The first chapter of Reference and Information Services in the 21st Century by Kay Ann Cassell and Uma Hiremath. That one had some ethical considerations for librarians which were not unreasonable, and some good stuff about Reader’s Advisory work.
For another course we had to read a big heavy philosophical piece on Information As Thing. Evidently this is very similar to what Plato says about art as well. The biggest weirdness I had with that article wasn’t Information as a thing, but information as a process. I don’t think of information being the same as education, but the article kind of took that as a given and then went into all sorts of details about how information is stuff. That went really well with module 2 from LIBR500
Speaking of LIBR500: Russell Ackoff, a major systems theorist, wrote that the content of the human mind can be classified into five categories:
1.Data: symbols 2.Information: data that are processed to be useful; provides answers to “who”, “what”, “where”, and “when” questions 3.Knowledge: application of data and information; answers “how” questions 4.Understanding: appreciation of “why” 5.Wisdom: evaluated understanding.
And then there’s another thing I read that argued with that categorical system, because the idea of people being involved in Wisdom Management seemed unbearably pretentious.
And at this point I think I’m at the point of being whelmed with information. Not underwhelmed anymore. I’ve got a whole ‘nother day off tomorrow to read more supplemental stuff if I feel like it. I missed school.