The Newsletter of the Association of Library and Information Science Students

The Silverfish Logo

[Formerly the Sojourner]
September/October 1997



  • Beginning of Quarter Party October 10
  • Colloquium October 7
  • Book Sale (end of October)

GSLIS: The Unauthorized Biography
Ken Thompson, ALISS President

New students:

Welcome to the UW Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Since you have no doubt been bombarded with official papers and booklets and brochures from multiple departments across the University and from GSLIS, we thought it'd be nice to give you the inside scoop on the department you now find yourselves a part of.

Let us begin by saying that you have entered GSLIS at a very interesting time (here the use of the word "interesting" is in the fashion of the Japanese saying, "May you be cursed to live in interesting times.") Most everything seems to be in flux.

Several major changes have occurred in the past few years. One is the addition of the evening degree program. Now in its second year, the program has around 30 students in it. This new addition to the school brought many resources with it, including the Computer Lab, and 3 faculty positions (we have the computers but not the faculty -- more on that later). There have also been more than a few changes in the Directorship of the School recently. Dr. Van Orten left GSLIS in the summer of 1997. Dr. Bassett was brought over from the School of Communications to run the school for one year, but retired from the UW this summer. Dr. Betty Bengston (also Dir. of the UW Library System) is the now the Acting Director, while the search for a new (and hopefully permanent) Director for the school goes on. Interviews of candidates for the position will be happening this quarter. We encourage you to get involved in choosing the Director of the School -- she could have a great impact on your education over the next two years.

Once a new Director is hired, several new faculty members can be hired (three? four? I've lost track...). These new hires have been put off for several years awaiting the Futures Committee Report, which finally came out this January (the search for a new director was also held up waiting for this report). The FCR outlines a new future for GSLIS, turning it into much more of a research-oriented program, among other important changes. I encourage you all to at least look at the summary of this long document, as it will be used to shape many policies in the future, including hiring decisions. [Editor's Note: The FCR can be read on the web at]

Also in the works at the moment is the re-accreditation of GSLIS. Every eight years all Masters granting programs must be recertified by the American Library Association, and we're up again. There will be a year's worth of discussion of the effectiveness and merits of the GSLIS program, and there will be plenty of room for student input. Along with this effort, and hopefully lead by a new Director, will be a curriculum revision effort, which students have been clamoring for for several years now (and was, you guessed it, held up waiting for the FCR).

There's a lot on the plate, and a lot of change coming up in the next year or so: new Director, dramatic expansion of faculty, reaccreditation, and curriculum revision. ALISS hopes that you'll take the time to express your opinions on these matters to your elected officers, maybe even think of running for an ALISS office.

So, enjoy your first quarter, settle in to the place, and please don't hesitate to stop me (or any ALISSer) in the hall and pick our brains on any issue. That's what we're here for.

Return to Contents

Notes from the Newsletter Editor
Kathleen Bennett, ALISS Vice-President

Welcome, one and all, to the final issue of the Silverfish that will be edited by me. Since it was put together in a ridiculously brief amount of time, I apologize in advance for any errors you find herein.

This newsletter, which comes out at least once a quarter, is your main source of information for behind-the-scenes news of a lengthy or expository nature. Hopefully you will turn to the school Usenet newsgroup, uwash.gslis, for moment-to-moment updates and discussion. This newsgroup, along with the student lounge, is one of the main mechanisms for promoting connection and community among the many and varied students in the program. The faculty and the office staff also post important notices there, so it is crucial to stay up with this resource if you want to be in the loop.

You have probably noticed that there are not many print copies of the Silverfish newsletter around, and most of those say "DO NOT REMOVE" on them. This is because it is intended to be a Web-based newsletter, hyperlinked and available from wherever you are; you can print out your own copy if you really want to. There are many other resources on the ALISS web page, including current announcements, the ALISS bylaws (woo-hoo!), contact names and email addresses, and lots of links to interesting stuff both within and beyond the library school.

You will be hearing more about ALISS in the next few weeks, as elections are upcoming. We've all had a great time steering the helm, but are ready to give up our jobs. Don't be afraid if you are a first-year and think you don't know anything - there is actually no better way to get involved and have an impact on the school where you will be spending your next two years.

Here are brief descriptions of the positions you can run for. (More information is available in the ALISS bylaws at

Executive Officers
President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, GPSS Senators

The President organizes ALISS meetings and generally makes sure that all other officers and reps are doing their jobs. The President also meets with the School's Director and attends faculty meetings to make sure student views are represented.

The Vice President organizes and delegates responsibility for social events, edits the newsletter, and maintains the ALISS Web page.

The Secretary takes meeting minutes and maintains the recordkeeping in the ALISS office, keeps the calendar and bulletin board outside the lounge, and is in charge of the annual Book Sale held during Autumn Quarter.

The Treasurer is responsible for paying ALISS bills, maintaining and balancing the checkbook and bank accounts, reimbursing other officers for ALISS expenses, purchasing, transporting, and stocking supplies for the lounge snack area, collecting change from the lounge, and making bank deposits as needed. The Treasurer will also attend ALISS meetings and may be required to prepare an annual budget.

The GPSS Senators serve as liaison between library school students and the UW at large, representing our concerns and needs to the GPSS, seeking funding for various functions, and assisting GPSS in recruiting and placing qualified graduate students as representatives to university committees.

Committee Representatives

Elected Committee and Representatives will be as follows: Admissions Committee, Curriculum Committee, Research and Colloquium Committee, Alumni Association, and Student of Color/International Student Liaison.

The Admissions Committee Representative evalutes new GSLIS applicants, attends and votes at committee meetings, with a vote equal in weight to the faculty members on the Committee.

The Curriculum Committee Representative represents the students' voice in curriculum matters at curriculum committee meetings and other forums, and keeps in touch with the students regularly to determine those needs.

The Colloquium Committee Member is responsible for organizing special colloquia sponsored by ALISS, and representing student needs and desires to faculty committee members who organize GSLIS colloquia.

The Alumni Association Representative attends board meetings as a member of the Board of Directors of the GSLIS Alumni Association and serves as Chair of the Convocation Committee, which organizes the final graduation event for the library school.

The Student of Color/International Student Liaison acts as a vehicle by which minority and international students may communicate their needs and concerns to each other as well as to the faculty and administration, and advocates for cultural awareness and sensitivity and for appropriate tools to accommodate students.

Return to Contents

Update on Search for New GSLIS Director
Meg Rheingold

[Editor's Note: Please see the May/June 97 issue of the Silverfish for background information on the Director Search.]

In its initial solicitation of applications, 15 people applied for the position of director of the GSLIS. The committee decided that 7 were qualified, and the search continues with job notices appearing in well-known information science journals and newsgroups. On the funding front, the Provost approved a healthy funding package for the library school including money for the new director, a new faculty position, and four pre-existing faculty positions. No word yet about whether the proposed internship coordinator position will be funded.

Return to Contents

Student ALA Chapter Information
Bonnie Parks, SALA Chair

It's that time of year again! Your 1997 SALA officers are planning a number of activities for fall quarter.

For those of you who don't know, SALA is the UW's Student chapter of the American Library Association. SALA is about community service, professional networking and having fun. Throughout the school year we complete a number of service projects in the community. We also organize events aimed at linking students with others in the library profession and sponsor a number of social gatherings.

Here's your chance to get involved with SALA. Here's what's on our slate so far (more to follow):

Northwest Bookfest
SALA is organizing a group of volunteers to help at the third annual Northwest Bookfest on October 25 and 26. Proceeds from this event, held at Pier 48 in Seattle, benefit literacy organizations. Many volunteer positions are available, but there is special need in the kids' areas.

To participate, simply fill out a volunteer form (found on the SALA bulletin board in the Suzzallo classroom) and return it to the envelope on the bulletin board by Thursday, October 2nd. All volunteers must participate in an orientation on Thursday, October 23. You will be contacted with the timeslot and area you will be working. If you have questions, please contact Ginny Allemann at or 329-9736.

Happy Hour
Coming soon to a pub near you.

Just a reminder, if you haven't purchased a "Top 10 Reasons to go to Library School" T-shirt, they're still available for $12. Email for size availability. Proceeds go to SALA.

We'll have a general meeting at the end of October. Everyone is invited to participate. Details will be posted on the bulletin board in room 127.

Questions? Suggestions for activities? Email For more information, consult the SALA web page at

Return to Contents

ASIS Notes and Other Useful Items
Darlene Weber

The American Society for Information Science

The UW student chapter of The American Society for Information Science welcomes new and returning students. This is an exciting time. It can also be overwhelming. There is so much to do and so much to remember.

As you make your to-do list and fill in you calendar, we invite you to pencil in time to learn more about ASIS. Watch the board at the back of Suzallo 127 for upcoming events. The UW-ASIS activities provide the opportunity to meet and interact with other information professionals while learning more about information technologies.

We look forward to getting to know everyone on a personal level. Library students have such varied backgrounds which allows everyone to contribute unique experiences, skills and ideas. Please do not hesitate to contact any of the UW-ASIS officers and/or the advisor if you have any questions or comments regarding ASIS or any other issue.

PresidentDarlene Weber
Vice PresidentStephanie
For more information on ASIS, see the homepage at which links to our UW ASIS page (

Come join us. Participation as a member of UW ASIS is not mandatory. It is, however, fun.

Return to Contents

GPSS - Your Student Senate
Jon McConnel and Britt Fagerheim, GPSS Senators

GPSS Senators - The Most Exclusive Club in the World

Some say the money makes the world go round, some say it is the root of all evil. Some say both, but whatever the case, getting some of it into our bank account is a primary responsibility of the GPSS Senators. This is a highly technical operation, demanding the mathematical skills of Einstein, the financial wiles of a Wall Street banker, the political acumen of Robert Rubin, and the organizational abilities of Dolores Potter. Other than that, the process is a piece of cake.

As if the weight of this responsibility weren't enough, the Senators serve as liasons between the Graduate Student Senate and the library school. This involves such things as forwarding notices to the newsgroup (such hot button issues as notices of updates concerning Financial Aid, TA/RA salary increases, Graduate Student Appreciation Week events, and many, many more examples too numerous to mention). The Senators, in addition, can take questions, concerns, and requests from the students to the Senate. This is your chance to put in your 2 cents without actually having to cut class to attend the GPSS meeting.

In addition, the GPSS Senators assist their ALISS colleagues with planning and assisting with events throughout the year, beginning with the student orientation. On this occasion, the GPSS Senators, along with the rest of the ALISS entourage, have the honor of escorting the new students to the GSLIS computer lab in Kane Hall. A compass would come in handy to negotiate the labyrinthine path to the inter sanctum of technology, but there are often extras in the office. The importance of the lab is immediately recogizable when classes begin. Outside of the general University lab in Suzzallo, a line of computer-hungry students stretches as far as the eye can see.

One of the more exciting responsibilities of the Senators and the other ALISS offices is the "end of the quarter" party. News of the Autumn quarter jamboree, scheduled around the middle of December, has just been released on the AP newswire. The exact date depends on when Demi and Bruce will be back from Cannes, when Bill and Hillary can make it out from the Beltway, and of course, when Professors Nelson and Hiatt schedule the 500 final. This soiree traditionally starts off the West Coast social season. For the unlucky souls who do not manage to get their hands on the red-hot admission tickets, the raucous event repeats itself at the end of winter and spring quarters as well.

And . . . an exposition on the UW Graduate Senate:

GPSS Senators on Power Trip: Boldly Allocate Funds, Debate Resolutions

Representing the interests of grad students is all part of a day's work for those plucky Senators of the Graduate and Professional School Senate. Whether it's sitting through hundreds of committee meetings, addressing the Board of Trustees, or lobbying legislators in Olympia, everywhere decisions are made concerning graduate students, there youll find GPSS leaders saving the day!

Led by a squad of 4 officers elected by the senate, the GPSS actively pursues the interests of graduate students in general and UW grad students in particular. They conduct information campaigns to spread the word about issues affecting grad students, especially tuition and financial aid. In recent years the Senate has had a fairly progressive bent, advocating for the rights of groups of students who have in the past been denied their full complement. Issues to be acted upon are decided by the Senate through the debate and passage of seemingly endless resolutions. The hours of debate and testimony are worth it when the Senate can then proclaim a united voice and press their issues with confidence to those who have real legislative and administrative power.

The Senate doesn't just deal with sexy issues like student finances and rights for all, though. They're also in charge of allocating a large chunk of money to various student groups. From newsletters to convocations, if graduate student groups need cash, GPSS is the place to turn! Even nice demure constituencies such as the library school have been known to get their fist in the pot o' dollars, and why not! It's there to be spent!

And how much are these student senators paid for their hours of toil in the interests of their fellow students? Except for the officers, they get nothing. Nothing, that is, except the glow of satisfaction that comes from protecting the interests of their friends. And of course, the praise, adulation, and hero worship that their electing constituencies generously bestow upon them. For the humbled senators, all of the toil is just part of the job, and the praise merely icing on their cake.

Return to Contents

Survey of Recent GSLIS Graduates
Victoria Ertelt, Curriculum Committee Representative

Over the summer a survey of recent graduates concerning the GSLIS curriculum was conducted. It was meant to complement the curriculum survey completed by current GSLIS students in the spring of 1997. It turned out that almost all of the complaints, concerns, and suggestions that current students expressed were also expressed by recent graduates.

Surveys were sent to the 254 students who graduated within the last three years - 1994 through 1996. Sixty-one completed surveys were returned. Thirty-eight had postmarks from the Puget Sound area, while four others had Washington postmarks from other areas. Four surveys had California postmarks, while there were two each from Oregon, New Mexico, Indiana, and "unknown". There was one survey bearing postmarks from each of the following states: Nebraska, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, New York, and Alaska.

The first question the survey posed was: "What is your current job title?" As expected, GSLIS graduates have a wide variety of job titles. "Reference Librarian" was listed by 18 respondents, while some variant on "Children's Librarian" was given by seven respondents. "Librarian I" was given by five respondents, and 4 listed "School Librarian". All other job titles were given only once, and varied wildly. Some examples: Web Developer, Outreach Librarian, Information Management Librarian, Systems Analyst, Cook, Independent Contractor, Media Specialist, Information Aide, Rancher, Engineering Librarian, and Substitute Librarian.

The second question concerned "professional setting." Respondents were given six choices, and answered as follows:

Academic Library


Special Library


School Library


Information Services


Public Library




The third question asked, "How does your current job compare to the professional expectations you had while in library school?" The responses fell into three broad categories:

Comparable to what I expected


Better than I expected


Worse than I expected


The fourth question was, "Which classes that you took in library school have proven to be particularly valuable in your professional setting?" The numbers below refer to the percentage of respondents who mentioned a particular class (only the top ten are included).







Reference (540,541, etc)


Any taught by Carol Doll












When answering question 5, "Which classes that you took in library school have proven to be of little value?", the following responses were most often given:

















Reference (540,541, etc.)




The final question read, "Please describe what types of classes either were not offered by the LIS program, or that you chose not to take while completing your program, that you believe would be of greatest value to you in your current work." Many different responses were given, but the most overriding concern can be expressed by quoting one respondent's answer: "Computers! Computers! Computers!" The great majority of respondents expressed concern about the lack of classes in such areas as Web development, network management, programming, PC troubleshooting, basic computer skills (Excel, DOS, MS-Word, etc.), HTML, and database construction. Some of these areas are now being covered in classes taught by Dr. Oh, and there are two new Web/networking type courses scheduled for the spring of 1998. It does seem, however, that the curriculum could benefit from even more courses in this area.

Many respondents also mentioned the importance of financial management, funding, and grant writing skills. Interpersonal communication and human resource management were also cited frequently. Several respondents expressed concern that there weren't enough opportunities to take the User Education (560) class. Another concern expressed was the lack of "usefulness" of the reference courses.

Many graduates expressed their overall satisfaction with the GSLIS program while pointing out what they considered its deficiencies. However, there were a few respondents who felt that they had made "an expensive mistake." This survey was done in attempt to determine how the program could be improved, and to give some guidance to current students so they don't make the same mistake. If you are interested in reading the survey results in full, they are in a binder in the Study Room.

Return to Contents


Beginning-of-Quarter Party

Help us ring in a new GSLIS tradition with a great beginning-of-quarter PARTY on October 10. The time will be 8:00 p.m., the location to be announced. Mark your calendars! Watch for abundant signage!

Colloquium - October 7, 2:30-4:00
Darla Linville

Discussion of recent cutbacks in publishing industry, that they don't want to publish any authors who will not be bestsellers, essentially. Also, there is a move by publishers to stop selling to bookstores that do not purchase more than $10,000 worth of books annually, so virtually all independent booksellers would have to buy through distributors (e.g., Baker and Taylor). This is seen as a threat to intellectual freedom, as a segment of the ideas out there will no longer be published because they are not considered sellable. Scheduled to speak is Karen Maeda Allman from Red & Black Books, hopefully we can also get Michael Mossberg from Elliott Bay Book Company and maybe someone else.

Annual Library School Book Sale

The annual book sale is always a big event around GSLIS. Massive donations will be sold at rock-bottom prices like $1. This year's sale is scheduled for the end of October in the lunchroom at By George (underneath Odegaard Undergraduate Library). We will need many volunteers! Stay tuned for details.

Return to Contents

Edited by Kathleen E. Bennett (last updated 9/26/97)
Border background from Pambytes