Newsletter of the Association of Library and Information Science Students (ALISS)




 title of the newsletter: The Silverfish


February 2004

Vol VIII Issue II

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Information School
University of Washington
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Student Profiles
Sally Howard and Daisy Chen, Future Information Managers

By Blythe Summers, MLIS Day
Often, it seems, information has a life of its own. Emails are choking inboxes everywhere. Documents play hide-and-seek in our computers, while piles of paper blatantly clutter our desks.

The world needs people to manage information of all kinds and this is what Sally Howard and Daisy Chen have come to the iSchool to learn how to do. They are both current students of the MSIM program. When asked why they chose the iSchool, both Howard and Chen mentioned the iSchool’s philosophy to provide both a practical and theoretical approach to information.

Chen is in her second year of the program and plans to graduate in the spring. She especially enjoyed IMT 582 Strategic Planning and Evaluation, the course in content management taught by Bob Boiko, and IMT 589 with Mike Crandall a special topics class on metadata. Howard is new to the program this last fall and reports that already classes have “stretched both my mind and imagination far beyond my expectations.”

The curriculum, says Chen, provides a great knowledge base for any information professional in management and she believes it will deepen the knowledge of IM issues for those who are already serving that role. Howard observes, based on her class work, that “everyone is an information manager in some fashion, professional or not.”

The MSIM program, according to Chen, helps represent the private-industry side of information science in the iSchool. It also provides a unique approach to information that you can’t always find in other degrees like an MIT or MBA. There is a “big picture” provided by the program that Chen sees helping her in any information position.

Howard and Chen both enjoy their ability to learn from their fellow students, exposure to “leaders in the field” and professors who are “on the cutting edge in the field.” Howard says the challenge of the program is not balancing the workload but in taking advantage of all there is to learn from peers and teachers.

Both Howard and Chen identify information overload and changing technology as current challenges in the field of information management.

Chen’s interest in information management began when she worked in an IT support role. She began to ask questions about the “broader issues” such as how can we help people navigate through information and what about people who don’t have convenient access to technology? And perhaps the most important question, “Does more information mean a better society?” She hopes to use her skills in information management to benefit the public good.

Howard, who works in finance, sees her organization produce huge amounts of information. Her goal as an MSIM student is to learn techniques and tools that will help her workplace cope with the information. She explained that her organization recognizes the problem of too much information, but they do not have an understanding of the problem that allows them to solve it and make use of the information. When Howard graduates she foresees being able to use her learning to add value to any organization.