Spring Issue 2001
     The Newsleter of the Association of Library & Information Science Students (ALISS)

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

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The Silverfish

Directed Fieldwork and Work Experiences
Conference Report
Cheap or Free Things To Do
Alumni Profile
Request for Submissions


Directed Fieldwork & Work Study Experiences

We want to hear from you!

Are you currently engaged in a directed fieldwork experience or have recently completed one? If so, we would like to hear from you! Because so much of our program is theoretical in nature, we would like to hear about your experiences in the real world; how much your skills form the ISchool are being utilized, what lessons are to be learned. If you are interested in contributing, please contact the editors, Ariel Johnson or John Buell.

Conference Report

Washington Library Association 2001 Annual Conference - April 4-7 Spokane, WA

One of the more exciting and worthwhile events that I took part in this quarter was the Washington Library Association 2001 Conference, Convergence, which was held in Spokane in early April. Four other students (Darcy Brixey, Sara Holohan, Tamara Pesik, Brenna Shanks) and I went together to perform books for the CAYAS (Children's and Young Adult Services) Division. For our participation we got Friday's registration fee waived.

Though we spent some of our time rehearsing for our session, I was able to include time for such sessions as: "Collection Development for a Patchwork of Cultures", offered by Susan Veltfort and a Storytelling session by Cathy Spagnoli. There were many other sessions of interest too in such topics as marketing, acquisitions and information literacy. On Friday's last session, it was our turn to speak in the annual "Booktalking the Best". Each of us chose 5-8 current children's or YA titles to share. The audience was very supportive. I encourage any students interested in youth services to participate next year. It's a great way to meet your future coworkers.

Of course, while we were there we met librarians from across the state and got a chance to see ISchool faculty and alumni. If any of you get a chance to go next year, it's a great experience!

Kristin Dermody
MLIS Student

Cheap or Free Things to do Around Seattle Outside of the U-District

Henry James once called "summer afternoon" the two most beautiful words in the English language. Here are some suggestions for this glorious time of the year in Seattle.

Downtown Walking Tour

There are many free-of-charge things to see downtown on foot. A few blocks east of Pike Place Market is Westlake Park, a great spot to watch people and pigeons. Across Pine Street at Fourth Avenue is Westlake Center, a multilevel shopping mall with specialty stores and food vendors. Nearby Westlake Center holds Nordstrom, Eddie Bauer, and The Bon Marche. While you're in the vicinity, be sure to check out Pacific Place on Pine between Sixth and Seventh avenues. Stores range from Tiffany's, Coach, and Ann Taylor to Barnes and Noble, Restoration Hardware, and J. Crew. Even if you don't buy a thing, it's always fun to look! Then, meander over to City Centre, bounded by Pike and Union Streets and Fifth and Sixth avenues to see a fine display of world-renowned Pilchuck glass. Finish your tour with a leisurely stroll to Freeway Park, on the east side of Sixth Avenue between University and Spring streets. Although this pocket park overlooks the Interstate 5 freeway, its flowers and trees will convince you that summer has finally arrived.

University Village

True to its name, this outdoor shopping mall is on the edge of the UW campus at 2673 NE University Village - (206) 523-0622. Although some of the upscale shops can be pricey, it's possible to spend time here without ruining your budget. For instance, spend the day at Barnes and Noble reading magazines and books or browsing for CDs, and while you're at it, buy a cup of Joe for a few dollars in the Starbuck's café upstairs. It's a great place to sit and relax. Walk outside in the flower-filled outdoor courtyards, people watch, and listen to the occasional informal free concerts and other performances. Contact the University Village office for a schedule. Browse the array of shops - Pottery Barn, Banana Republic, The Gap, Restoration Hardware, Williams-Sonoma, Molbak's, Ann Taylor, and Sephora are some of the big names, but check out the smaller shops too. University Village also offers restaurants, cafes, and little eateries in several levels of formality. Sit down and be served at Atlas Foods, Piatti, or Zao or sit down and wait for your order to be called at World Wrapps or Pallino Pastaria. Alternately, get takeout at Pasta & Co. or go to the new Burrito Loco joint for a sit-down meal or takeout. Cafes such as the Starbucks inside Barnes and Noble or the bigger Starbucks with outdoor seating area are great for coffee and snacks. Or munch on a sandwich or pastry from the popular À La Francais Bakery or cool down with a confection from Ben & Jerry's. Parking at University Village is free and looks plentiful, but it fills up quickly during peak hours. At this time of year, you can't beat the garden-like ambience at University Village.

Ballard Locks and Fish Ladder

About 15 minutes northwest of downtown Seattle at Northwest 54th Street and 32nd Avenue Northwest, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, otherwise known as the Ballard Locks, link salty Puget Sound with the higher, connected fresh waters of Salmon Bay, Lake Union, Portage Bay and Lake Washington. Go there to see the parade of sailboats, motorboats, tugs, barges and yachts as they wait their turn to go through, or through the underwater viewing gallery watch salmon and steelhead go up the fish ladder on their way to their spawning grounds. The fish ladder, locks, and grounds, including Carl S. English Jr. Gardens, are open free to the public every day from 7am-9pm. Call (206) 783-7059 for more information.

Washington Park Arboretum

This 230-acre treasure trove of plants and trees, a 10-minute drive east of downtown, is not far from the UW campus. Native Pacific Northwest plants grow along with many exotic species. Take a drive on the road that runs through the park or walk the trails that crisscross the arboretum. It will take you 15 minutes to walk a marshy waterfront trail to secluded Foster Island on the arboretum's north side. Explore on your own using the free arboretum maps available in the Graham Visitors Center's gift shop (open daily from 10am-4pm) at the north end of the arboretum. Alternatively, take the free guided walk through the arboretum. It departs from the visitor's center at 1pm on weekends. For a reasonable admission fee of $1.50 for college students (compared to the regular $2.50) view the enchanting Japanese Garden and its traditional teahouse on the arboretum's western side. From May 27 to early September, it is open daily from 10am-8pm. Call (206) 684-4725 for details. Additional information on the Washington Park Arboretum is available at (206) 543-8800 or at www.depts.washington.edu/wpa/.

Discovery Park

Escape the city scene for a while in this 520-acre retreat located in the Magnolia neighborhood. Discovery Park's woodlands, beaches, and abundant wildlife offer the perfect backdrop for a leisurely stroll. On weekends, there are free nature walks. Located on the grounds is the Daybreak Star Arts and Cultural Center, headquarters of United Indians of All Tribes - open from 10am-5pm Monday through Saturday and noon-5pm Sundays. The center's gallery sells Indian arts and crafts. The annual powwow, Seafair Indian days, will be at Daybreak Star on July 20-22. Call (206) 285-4425 for more information.

Green Lake

Seattle's most popular neighborhood for outdoor recreation is about 15 minutes north of downtown Seattle, west of Interstate 5 at about Northeast 65th Street. Use the three-mile-long inner and outer paths lining Green Lake to jog, bicycle, roller skate, or walk. Or have an impromptu picnic. Food is available at restaurants or stores across the street from the northeastern shore of the lake. If you want to get in or on the water, the guarded beaches designated for swimming are at the northeast and southwest corners. Rental boats are available at the northeast corner.

Scenic Drives

Try these routes for spectacular unobstructed views of Seattle's lakes and nearby mountain ranges:

  • Start at the south end of the Montlake Bridge and follow Lake Washington Boulevard through the Arboretum and along Lake Washington to Seward Park
  • Drive Harbor Avenue Southwest, just off the West Seattle bridge, past Alki Beach and the spot where the first white pioneers landed at Alki Point.
  • Drive up Queen Anne Hill along steep Queen Anne Avenue North to Highland Drive, turn left and follow it to Kerry Park, at Highland and Second Avenue West, for a postcard-like view of the city and Mount Rainier on a clear day. Proceed west on Highland to Parsons Gardens, a mini park with a spectacular view of Puget Sound and the Olympics to the west.

Sunrises and Sunsets

Catch the perfect sunrise at Hamilton View Park in West Seattle and the Mount Baker neighborhood along Lake Washington's western shore.

For the perfect sunset, go to Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill, Myrtle Edwards Park on the waterfront north of Pier 70 and in front of the P-I building, Golden Gardens Park north of the Shilshole Bay Marina, Carkeek Park also north of Shilshole, and Discovery Park on Magnolia Bluff.

For sunrises and sunsets, try Alki Beach in West Seattle and Gas Works Park between the Fremont neighborhood and the University District.

Maritime Sites

Lake and water fans will enjoy the restaurant-packed south end of Lake Union. Look for the Center for Wooden Boats, a hands-on museum that has exhibits on the water as well as inside. It is open daily except Tuesday from noon-7pm through Labor Day. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. Call (206) 382-2628 or visit the website at www.cwb.org. To view the many floating homes on the northwest side of Lake Union, rent a rowboat at the Center for Wooden Boats. Perhaps you'll spot the home made famous in "Sleepless in Seattle."

Nearby, the Puget Sound Maritime Museum (Chandler's Cove, 901 Fairview Ave. N. - (206) 624-3028) displays ship models, paintings, artifacts, and photos. It is open Monday through Saturday from 11am-7pm and Sunday from noon-5pm. Admission is free.
Also, see the area's salmon and halibut fleets just south of the Ballard Bridge (off 15th Avenue West). Fishermen's Terminal at Salmon Bay is home to hundreds of fishing boats.

Free Museums

Henry Art Gallery (on the UW campus at 15th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 41st Street) is free for all students with ID. This newly renovated and expanded museum is a mecca for contemporary art in Seattle. Look for "Volume: Bed of Sound," a sound art exhibit open from July 14-September 30. And of course, the museum has a permanent collection of more than 20,500 objects, including late-19th- and 20th-century paintings, the Monsen Collection of Photography, and a textile and costume collection, along with cutting-edge works in new media. Hours are from 11am-5pm Tuesday-Sunday, and from 11am-8pm Thursday. For more information, call (206) 543-2280 or visit www.henryart.org.

Frye Art Museum (1704 Terry Ave., Seattle) has free admission and free parking. The museum exhibits past and present artists with an emphasis on 19th- and 20th-century European and American paintings, and the work of artists from the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Besides the permanent collections, current and upcoming exhibits include "Scenes of American Life: Treasures from the Smithsonian's American Art Museum" (June 16-September 9) and "Hollywood Celebrity: Edward Steichen's Vanity Fair Portraits" (July 27-September 16), among other exhibits. The museum's hours are 10am-5pm Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-9pm Thursday, and noon-5pm Sunday. For more information, call (206) 622-9250 or visit http://fryeart.org.

Ariel Johnson
MLIS student

Alumni Profile

Our New Series

With this issue of the Silverfish we are introducing a new series devoted, in the words of a famous local industry figure, to the road ahead. As we get closer to finishing our Masters in Library and Information Science, we begin to wonder what kinds of jobs are out there and what experiences await us. This series will explore these issues by profiling one of our greatest resources, the graduates of our own program. Each issue we will profile a new graduate, focusing on those questions dearest to our hearts; how our graduates got where they are, what parts of the ISchool experience they felt were the most valuable, and whether they have any tips for those of us waiting in the wings. Each issue will bring a new profile and will include graduates working in public libraries, special libraries, and in some cases graduates not working in a library setting at all.

In this issue it is our pleasure to introduce the series with recent MLIS graduate
Traci Timmons, who is currently an Information Architect and Site Content Manager employed by ClaimsDesk.com.

After graduating, what were your job hunting experiences?

About four months before I graduated in June of 1999, I went to the UW Career Center and started working with a career counselor. She helped me think about what kinds of work I was interested in and which companies might provide those kinds of opportunities. I was really interested in working in the private sector with technology companies. Using the Puget Sound Business Journal's "Book of Lists" and other resources, we identified ten companies to pursue.

Before beginning this process, my counselor helped me prepare my resume and set up information interviews with other non-list companies. This was an excellent opportunity to find out more about other companies and network. It was also a great opportunity to get my feet wet in the interviewing process.

I also participated in several job fairs - Northwest High Tech Job Fair and two others on the UW campus. My counselor helped me prepare for them and I had a careful plan when I got there. Interestingly, someone I met at one of the UW job fairs ended up being the connection to the job I later got.

What jobs have you held since graduating?

After graduation, I worked for Visio, a software company, as an Intranet Development Intern. During my internship I conducted in-depth user studies and assessed information needs company-wide; developed a taxonomy, classification scheme, thesauri and information architecture for corporate intranet.

Next, I worked for another software company, eProject.com, as an Enterprise Knowledge Manager. I created and maintained the corporate intranet. I, interviewed internal customers to assess internal company needs, worked with departmental representatives to create the initial information architecture and gather pertinent corporate and original content. I also managed company-wide knowledge through various tools including an electronic and print library and weekly information trade shows. Part of my job also involved continually interviewing internal customers to assess and satisfy a variety of additional information needs.

Finally, I landed my current position at ClaimsDesk.com, also in software. I am an Information Architect/Site Content Manager. I work with the Product Management and Engineering groups in my company to develop information structures for insurance-related software products. I also develop navigation and search systems and usability standards that ensure a "positive user experience." I am responsible for content/site management for all of the company's products including selecting, describing and cataloging original content and other resources, ensuring consistency and accessibility across the entire product, creating and responding to user needs and organizing complex sets of information around users' information-seeking behaviors.

What are the things you enjoy about your job and what are the challenges?

I really love organizing information and making it accessible to the target audience. I also love solving very complex information problems and working as part of a team to get them solved.

I have faced a lot of challenges in the name of users. It is often very difficult to convince engineers and executives that we need to invest time and money in user studies and develop our products to user needs (you'd be surprised).

Did any of these positions require your MLIS?

It wasn't listed on any of the job descriptions, but I couldn't imagine doing any of these jobs without it.

The job I got right after school had requested a BS in Computer Science, but the job described the skills learned in the MLIS degree perfectly - they just didn't know!

Did you find that your MLIS prepared you for these positions, or did they depend on skills you had before your MLIS or acquired after your MLIS?

Yes, absolutely! I do find that the MLIS prepared me for the skill parts of my jobs. In fact, in a number of cases, I was the one educating my co-workers on things like usability, user studies and classification.

Out of all of the courses you took for your MLIS, which ones did you find most valuable for your current position?

All of the cataloging courses (Allyson Carlyle), Introduction to Information Science (Raya Fidel) and Business Reference (Gordon Amott).

If you had to do it all over again, would you do it all the same?

I would definitely get the MLIS degree again. Additionally, I would probably take more courses in Information Science - abstracting and indexing, information retrieval, etc. I would also make sure and take courses in Technical Communications (usability) and the Business School (general business courses).

Any advice for students just starting their MLIS in the ISchool?

It's hard, but start thinking now about what you really want to do. Go out and look at those types of environments as soon as you can: internships, fieldwork, part-time jobs, volunteering, Project Network - get involved as early as time will allow.

Any advice for graduating students?

Don't be dissuaded by requirements for degrees other than the MLIS in job descriptions. Many companies are still in the dark about the MLIS. However, once you start talking to them about what you know and what you can do, you find they say things like "Oh, I didn't realize that's what you learned in that program."

Once you start talking to people about what you've learned in the MLIS program, they'll really perk up and start to listen. You're coming out of a well-respected program which is quickly gaining a great reputation in this area (and nationwide). Feel proud of what you've learned and share that pride in your interviews.

Remember... don't get hung up on job titles or requirements. If you read the job description and know you can do the job - apply for it! You'll be surprised.

Traci Timmons
Class of 1999

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 Ariel Johnson or John Buell.

Edited by Ariel Johnson and John W.N. Buell

Silverfish Web Design by John W.N. Buell