The Silverfish is published quarterly by the students
of the Information School at the University of Washington.
A Note from ALISS
Welcome back folks to another rainy Winter quarter at the iSchool. We had a great Autumn quarter (including a fabulously fun end-of-quarter party). Your ALISS officers are busily scheduling the next meetings, which will most likely be on Wednesdays (early afternoons) - more information to follow when we have a firm date. This quarter promises to be full of opportunities for ALISS. The booksale is coming up, as well as ALISS elections (so be thinking of potential nominees!).
Directed Fieldwork is a popular choice
for MLIS students. It provides an opportunity
to gain experience in a chosen career path. The choices available are
nearly endless. The real life experience of Leslie St. Pierre, Patricia
Naylor and Bonnie Bradford provide only a small sampling of available
sites. For more information, view the iSchool page on Directed
I have always had a slight leaning towards journalism and wanted to get a taste for what a library in that situation would feel like. I signed on with the KING 5 television news library under the auspices of Linda Schmidt. King 5 is known in the Seattle media community for having the largest and most extensive news video archive. I was anxious to see if the lingo I'd learned in this program would actually translate into a real-life, special library situation. IT REALLY DID. Sure there was a completely foreign technology I had to grapple with- video editing bays, SP, SX and Beta formats - but I can't describe to you just how encouraging and inspiring it was to see my education work for me. Librarianship is librarianship and Not only did what I learned translate, it helped me prosper.
I dare quote Linda in saying that my background in library and information science spoke more clearly to the environment of her library than the background of any other intern she had sponsored. Communications majors don't understand the crucial effect logical cataloging and storage can have on a library's collection. And journalism majors don't know the ins and outs of pertinent information retrieval systems.
It didn't take long before Linda and I came to the conclusion that the learning objectives we had outlined together when I began were already old hat, and that I could comfortably go on to learn more about her library.
I moved from working in basic cataloging to helping in building a special archive. I started aiding not only in file footage searches, but in entire research projects for the station's affiliates - I researched footage that will be part of an A&E documentary that will earn the library about $3,000. I can't say that it isn’t thrilling to see the product of my work broadcast on daily news and cable television. And I've been lucky enough to work in an ever-changing environment where in the performance of my duties I could interact with photographers and reporters, technicians and editors, producers and writers all on a daily basis.
-Leslie St. Pierre
Hello all, I wanted to share with you the fieldwork experience I had with Highline Community College. The reference librarian I worked with, Jack Harton, allowed me to learn in a professional setting a variety of interesting projects: development of the library's collection, creating webpages for the library's Weblinks, answering all reference questions on shift, teaching bibliographic instruction, compiling websites for Weblinks, and creating pathfinder documents for the library. Jack educated me every step of the way, making sure I understood library policy in answering reference questions and what the purpose of every project was. There was a lot of freedom in what I did, because I chose which projects I wanted to do. I worked closely with the secretary of the library and was allowed to evaluate the library's art gallery. It was most rewarding because I recieved experience on a professional level, rather than just a student librarian position. If you are looking for a good site to do your fieldwork, I would highly recommend this one.
Completing a quarter of Directed Fieldwork has been useful for me. I am interested in working in the reference in public libraries. So I worked at the Broadview branch of Seattle Public Library performing reference. My first task was to learn the system and how to search it. I had never worked at SPL before, nor did I have any experience with the catalog. I also had to learn the reference holdings for this branch. Experience with "real-life" questions and the vagaries of "real-life" public has helped me immeasurably. I have learned how essential it is to perform a reference interview, and to not assume that you know exactly what the patron wants. I have also learned that patrons and their needs are not the same, even if they ask the exact same question. Some people want to be taught, others just want the answers, still others are not really interested in the answer, but in just talking with someone.
I believe that my fieldwork experiences have truly helped to prepare me for a future in reference. The hardest part of the experience was working at an 8-hour stretch on the desk, but I know that will be different at my future job. I would recommend fieldwork to anyone in need of experience.
Facets of Digital Reference,” the 2nd Annual Virtual Reference Desk Conference was held October 16-17 in Seattle. The focus of the conference was to help library and information professional keep pace with digital reference innovations. The conference offered a number of different tracks, allowing individuals to attend sessions that were most relevant to his or her work situation. The tracks varied from real-time reference, managing digital reference, resources for digital reference, and issues and research in digital reference service.
The VRD conference presented a unique opportunity for iSchool students to volunteer and get involved in a dynamic and critical part of information service. Student volunteers acted as guides and helped to introduce keynote speakers. The conference provided an opportunity for students to meet and network with library and information professionals from around the country.
The University of Washington's iSchool was well represented at the conference. Mike Eisenberg gave the opening keynote address: “Digital Reference Librarians: Who Needs ‘Em?” Professors Joe Janes and Stuart Sutton also presented. Current iSchool students Chrystie Hill and Alex Rolfe had the opportunity to describe their research and analysis of ask-an-expert services to determine the quality of responses from Internet reference services.
The VRD conference presented different
perspectives on the changing role of the virtual reference desk. Attendees
were given the opportunity to learn how they could incorporate the virtual
reference desk into their libraries and how to keep current on issues
in the field. These issues will be discussed further at upcoming conferences.
For more information, visit the Virtual
Reference Desk's website.
But we won't dwell on the past, there's good stuff coming up for winter quarter too:
Our first brown bag is on Tuesday, January 9th with Dan Trefethen introducing us to the world of conferences.
We have a special presentation planned for Friday, January 19th from 4:30-6 (in the computer classroom) when Stephanie Rawlins (an SLA professional member) will talk about her experience in South Africa this past summer with World Library Partnership.
Friday, February 2nd is the annual 'Student Night' event sponsored by SLA/ASIA/LLOPS/MLA when we can get feedback on our resumes from a variety of professionals-something that I know my own resume could really use. There will also be a panel discussion on meeting the diverse information needs of our constituents.
A tour of the Experience Music Project's collection is in the works too. Watch our web site and your email for more about that.
For a complete list of events (including all the brown bags for the rest of the year), officers, membership info, and a cool list of KM and publishing headlines, visit our site at http://students.washington.edu/slauw. Please feel free to contact any of the officers at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or questions.
The senate has had 4 meetings so far this year and done a variety of business, including approving a strategic plan, approving agendas for lobbying in Olympia and DC, passed resolutions to support more child care services on campus, to support the TA/RA strike, and to support ongoing discussion with the UW police about the purchase of new weapons.
GPSS facilitates the shared governance process, which means students get a seat on various campus committees to be a voice for grad students. There have been openings on the Library Fines committee as well as the committee that deals with intellectual property management that several iSchool students expressed interest in. Those positions are decided by GPSS executive officers and those of you that applied should be hearing back from one of them (probably Ashley) in the near future. You can find more committee openings by going to the GPSS Web site listed below and clicking on 'apply to be a committee rep'.
The GPSS is encouraging students to participate in a Day of Service on Martin Luther King Day, January 22. While I had hoped to arrange for a special iSchool focused service project, I will not be able to pull it together in time and the UW actually already has a plan for the day. If you'd like to participate visit http://depts.washington.edu/gpss/servpledge.html
For more about GPSS in general you can visit http://depts.washington.edu/gpss or feel free to contact Jill or Pam.
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 Kristin Dermody
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