The Newsleter of the Association of Library & Information Science Students (ALISS)

The Silverfish is published monthly by the students of the Information School at the University of Washington.

The Logo of the University of Washington Information School

About The Silverfish
Current Issue
Editorial Board
Information for Authors

Book seal.

Navigating the iSchool's website
By Michael Harkovitch
October 5, 2002

What is the iSchool website, and why should you bookmark it? Good question! When I started grad school last year, I scrambled to bookmark everything I would need to get organized and be successful in the program. Not until my third quarter at the iSchool did I realize that almost everything I needed was already bookmarked for me. As a grad student, I am always looking for ways to make my life easier. I could have kicked myself for not figuring this out earlier.

Around the same time, Grace Whiteaker sent out an email soliciting development and implementation of curriculum for the 2002 Technology Bootcamp. I saw an opportunity to give others a valuable heads-up, so I emailed Grace my idea about creating a new bootcamp section highlighting the iSchool's website, fearing that maybe I was just stating the obvious. I also floated the idea around to several of my classmates. The consensus: "Good idea!"

The information in this article is similar to what I presented in the both the summer and fall bootcamps. I am expanding upon it here to reach a wider audience, as those attending the bootcamps found it helpful. Take some time to explore the iSchool's website:

Start by bookmarking the iSchool website and referring back to it often. You'll be surprised at how often you refer to it and how helpful it is to you! I even went one step further and made it my browser's default page. Not only is the site a source of news and events about the iSchool and the university, but the global navigation menus along the top of the site link to practically every resource you will need during your academic career. Here is a brief overview:

  • News & events keeps you up to date with current iSchool happenings, and includes a nifty news archive and occasional calls to action.
  • Programs gives detailed descriptions of the different degree and other programs offered in the iSchool.
  • Courses contains links to all kinds of handy iSchool course and general UW academic information. This section is discussed in more detail below.
  • People is your source of information about fellow students, faculty and staff, and various student and alumni organizations that throughout the year will encourage your involvement.
  • Services links you to valuable campus-wide resource information, such as financial aid, advising, career options, and independent study options you will have as a student at the iSchool.
  • Research is any university's bread and butter. Find out more about the projects that your instructors and fellow students are pursuing, things in which you might have the opportunity to become involved.
  • Technology provides answers to frequently asked questions about the iSchool's computer labs, software, networks, and related resources. One of the most commonly asked questions is how to get access to files on your H drive from home. Take a look under "Help and FAQs" for the answer to this and other common questions.
  • Links connects you to sites you will use often as a student: Webpine, MyUW, WebCT, UW Computing Information, University of Washington Main Homepage, and of course the UW Library Information Gateway. I personally use this section most often, having bookmarked most of these links individually before I wised up.

The Courses section deserves a closer look. This section is your friend. Here you will find iSchool course schedules for the current and upcoming quarters, course descriptions for most iSchool offerings, and the current UW Academic Calendar. But at least two other areas in this section will be vital to your survival as an iSchooler.

The first is "Request a Course Entry Code." Course entry codes are like tickets to register for a class. After your first quarter, you will need them to register for classes. Each class contains a limited number of slots, thus a limited number of entry codes. These are offered prior to registration. Keep an eye on your email for announcements about entry code periods. Requesting and returning entry codes is easy, but they go fast when entry code periods open, so be prepared! This section also allows you to monitor in real time the status of all LIS classes.

While holding an entry code guarantees you a slot in a particular class, you must register for your classes in a timely fashion after your registration period opens. Entry codes are required in addition to - not instead of - registration. As an iSchool student, you must do both to get into a class. Keep an eye on your email for announcements about registration.

The second section under Courses that is vital to you as an iSchooler is "Course Websites." Course information, syllabi, instructor contact information and office hours, PowerPoint lecture slides, and in some cases links to readings are among the valuable information you'll find on a course website. BEWARE of the ever-changing course website! Check back often for updates and amendments.

If your instructors post handy PowerPoint lecture slides on their course websites, print them out and review them before class. You'll be ahead of the game and gain the admiration of your instructors and the envy of all your peers. Don't print them out too far in advance or they'll be out of date! Please note, you can print out three, four, or six slides per page by going into the print menu and selecting "handouts" rather than "slides." This will save you money and save the iSchool resources.

I hope these tips and hints are helpful to you. Welcome to the iSchool and best of luck in your academic pursuits!

PDF files of my Technology Bootcamp materials are available for download at the following URLS:

Submissions Requested

Are you interested in sharing your knowledge with the rest of the student body? Have you attended any conferences or taken an interesting or worthwhile class outside of the department? Would you care to review nearby bars for us? Send your Silverfish submissions to

Edited by Michael Harkovitch

Silverfish Web Design by John W.N. Buell