As this semester draws to an end it is time to reflect on my perceptions and attitudes at this point in my education topics have stood out to me this semester: ethics in librarianship and trends in library technology. Self improvement has been another major theme of this semester as I learned more about the strengths and weaknesses in my education and skills.
Between my two classes I think I have learned more about ethics this semester than any other period in my education. I think this is for good reason. The code of ethics that librarians follow seems simple, but the details are complicated when applying them to the workplace. Censorship and confidentiality issues often reside in the grey area and leave librarians facing difficult decisions. I learned a great deal from my classmates during by reading their ethics scenario presentations. Many of my classmates saw the situations in a different light than I did and were able to think of answers to ethical issues that I had not considered.
Through discussion board activities such as the Think Tank exercises I have learned about the latest trends in library technology. It has been more reassuring than anything to know that librarians/ libraries are still sustaining as we progress further into the digital age. Ebooks need not be the end of libraries, but the beginning of a new and exciting way to deliver information to patrons.
During this semester I interviewed for a position that I could have described as my dream job in the job analysis journal activity. The position was awarded to another candidate. Assessing my skills and qualifications in the job analysis activity helped me take my focus away from the loss of the position to focusing on self improvement. I hope to continue to self improve as I move further into my education and become a more polished LIS professional.
Blogging has become an efficient and well received way for information professionals to discuss news and trends in field. The first blog that I examined is a particular favorite of mine. I have been following Kate Theimer’s blog, ArchivesNext ever since I began my professional work out of my first graduate program. The other blog, Attempting Elegance by Jenica P. Rogers is a relatively new blog to me.
Theimer has been writing posts for ArchivesNext since 2007. She is a published author and is a freelance acquisitions editor for Neal-Schuman Publishers. Theimer has a M.S.I. from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in Art History and Archeology from the University of Maryland. ArchivesNext has discussed countless topics relating to the archival profession such as professional identity, professional organizations, and archives news (Theimer, 2012). Topics that have been discussed largely in the last few months include Hurricane Sandy and Disaster Recovery, the closing of the Georgia State Archives financial crisis and the Society of American Archivists, which is a common topic in this blog. A blog titled, “The SAA Annual Meeting is unwelcoming.” Yes, it can be. Here’s what we can do about it.was posted on November 28, 2012. This blog post discusses how lonely some archivists feel when attending large conferences such as the conference hosted by SAA. Theimer is sympathetic to the situation, but also offers tips for meeting people at the SAA conference. Theimer suggests joining a roundtable discussion to meet new people or socialize with people you already know depending on the situation (Theimer, 2012.) Not only did I find this post relateble, but Theimer’s advice is a strategy that I had not previously considered.
Jenica Rogers is the Director of Libraries at the State University of New York at Potsdam. She has an M.L.I.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Rogers background is in cataloging, collection development, and staff training. She has been writing Attempting Elegance since 2008 (Rogers, 2008). Rogers often details her daily activities as a library director in her blog, but much of the most recent blogs are about collection development-her decision to discontinue her library’s subscription to the American Chemistry Society’s publication in particular. The blogs that were the most appealing to me were those that discussed hiring from management’s point of view. Maybe the most valuable post I read on the entire blog was Rogers’ piece, Questions to ask your interviewers. In this blog Rogers suggests several questions that candidates can ask search committees during interviews. Rogers suggests asking questions such as, “What skills would I need to build up if hired?” and “What is the most innovative thing you’ve done in the past year?” LIS graduates who are preparing for job interviews should make this blog post a part of their pre-interview education (Rogers, 2012).
Moving forward I will still be a follower of ArchivesNext and will likely read Attempting Elegance occasionally. I relate less professionally to Rogers’ blog, but her insights into hiring and staffing situations are invaluable.
Rogers, Jenica P. Attempting Elegance. (2008). More about me and this blog. Retrieved from http://www.attemptingelegance.com/?page_id=138
Rogers, Jenica P. Attempting Elegance. (2008). Questions to Ask Your Interviewer. Retrieved from http://www.attemptingelegance.com/?p=1823
Theimer, Kate. ArchivesNext. (2012).About Me. Retrieved from http://www.archivesnext.com/?page_id=1810
Theimer, Kate. ArchivesNext. (2012). “The SAA Annual Meeting is unwelcoming.” Yes, it can be. Here’s what we can do about it. Retrieved from http://www.archivesnext.com/?p=3100
As I conclude with my Introduction to the Profession class this semester it is time to revisit my original Assumption about LIS as a profession. I had some previous knowledge of how the profession is evolving before entering this program, but the Introduction to the profession course helped to better refine what I know about the work of librarians and other information professionals. I would say that I am more aware of the rights that we all have in America under the First Amendment to receive information and the subtle things that people do to try to limit that right.
I am certain that when any of my colleagues in this program told their family and friends that they were going to graduate school to study library and information science that they were met with at least one of two general questions:
1. I didn’t know that a Master’s degree was needed to be a librarian.
2. Isn’t librarianship a dying profession?
I think these are fair reactions since many patrons only see the public service part of what librarians do. It would also be fair to say that some patrons make the assumption that any adult working behind the reference or circulation desk is a librarian. So from that perspective it would be easy to make the assumption that with the increase in the use of databases and e-books that libraries as holders of print collections are going to the wayside. As a student in this course my perception of what LIS professionals do has been broadened. I have learned more about other careers that librarians may take such as taxonomists and web developers. I have also learned more about the advances that have been made in e-book lending. From this perspective it appears that possibilities for a career in LIS are broader than ever.
While I still don’t think that as an information profession I will be fighting social injustices every day I could admit to learning more about the subtle ways that people try to block others from information. Not all forms of censorship are as apparent as book burning. Actions done for the sake of protecting the innocent minds of children can lead to censorship. Denying a patron access to a book because they might use the information to harm themselves is censorship. This tendency to want to protect others in this way seems innocent enough, but the definition of censorship does not change because of one’s perception of the “goodness” of the material denied. Knowing more about the ways that censorship presents itself has made me more vocal about educating others on the subject.
As part of my journey to learn more about the LIS profession I have analyzed two professional journals about two very different career paths. The Indexer: the International Journal of Indexing is a a peer reviewed journal compiled by the Society of Indexers. American Archivist is also a peer reviewed journal, which is published by the Society of American Archivists.
I chose to read The Indexer because I find the career path somewhat intriguing, but would probably not pursue it myself as a profession. The Indexer was first published in 1958, a year after the founding of the Society of Indexers. Its primary audience is indexers. It is published four times a year in print and online. It accepts articles on subjects relating to indexing and related matters. As mentioned above The Indexer does peer review its full length articles. the articles are submitted to reviewers anonymously, which appears to be a common practice in peer review. Contributors to the Indexer are expected to obtain permissions for any third-party copyright material (The Indexer, 2012).
The Indexer contains primarily full length articles, however, the feature, “Indexes Reviewed” appears in each issue. “Indexes Reviewed” contains brief reviews of electronic and print indexes. The reviews are usually short and concise, which gives the feature the look of an annotated bibliography. The journals in 2012 were very focused on e-books and readers,especially e-book indexes. Other topics that were widely discussed were web resources for indexers and XML indexing. There were also articles that pleasantly surprised me including an article about indexing wine and another article about indexing quilt patterns.
The second journal that I examined was The American Archivist, which is published by the Society of American Archivists semi-annually. The intended audience of this journal is archivists, librarians, records managers, and curators to some extent. The American Archivist does not solely focus on technological issues as seems to be more of the case of The Indexer. It covers archival theory and developments in the profession.Like The Indexer, The American Archivist’s articles are anonymously peer reviewed. The authors are expected to use the Chicago Manual of Style for their articles, which is interesting to me since as of right now my papers in the Wayne State SLIS must be written using the APA Style Guide. It accepts research articles, case studies, perspectives, International Scenes, professional resources, and reviews of books and other products by archivists such as finding aids, websites, and exhibits (The American Archivist, 2012).
The articles that I read for the year of 2008 in The American Archivist were very diverse in nature. Topics that came up often were DACS, EAD implementation, and institutional repositories. A feature that was enjoyable in this journal were the reviews-especially those of finding aids. The Fall-Winter 2008 journal included a fascinating inventory guide to the Vatican Archives.
The American Archivist and The Indexer share few commonalities. They are both peer reviewed. While The American Archivist features a large proportion of technology based articles it is still not as technology driven as The Indexer. The American Archivist still includes a fair amount of articles that cover archival theory. The large number of articles about developments in technology in both journals demonstrates how technology driven LIS careers are right now. Following trends in technology and theory in LIS journals can help those who are new to the LIS profession make intelligent decisions about continuing education.
The Indexer. Notes for Contributors. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.theindexer.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5&Itemid=6.
The American Archivist. Editorial Policy. (2012.) Retrieved from www2.archivists.org/american-archivist/editorial policy
Two professional association that I have considered joining as of recently is the American Library association and the ARMA, International. I have been a member of the Society of American Archivists, the Midwest Archives Association, and the Michigan Archival Association. I have always had an interest in joining ARMA because of my ambitions to become a records manager and I am interested in the opportunities that I could gain as a member of the American Library Association.
ARMA, International, first known as the Association of Records Managers and Administrators was formed in 1955. It currently has 10,000 members in the United States, Canada, and thirty other countries. The career paths found in the ARMA membership includes corporate librarians, archivists, and IT managers as well as records managers. ARMA publishes Information Management Magazine, which members receive a subscription as a part of their benefits. ARMA actively participates in the development of records management standards including ISO-15489, the international records management standard (ARMA, 2012).
ARMA members have access to networking through local chapters and the ARMA social media sites such as facebook. They also receive discounts on publications sold at ARMA’s online bookstore. ARMA members receive discounted access to ARMA’s continuing education courses and annual conference. In addition members can access ARMA’s Career Search, post jobs, and take courses on resume building. ARMA’s website is very thorough and has a bit of a corporate feel to it. It does well answering questions about ARMA and records and information management in general. I plan on exploring the professional development module on the website extensively before begging my records management coursework at Wayne State. As a future member of the profession I am pleased that ARMA offers both web seminars and online coursework on its website.
ARMA members are encouraged to sit for the Certified Records Manager exam that is offered through the Institute of Certified Records Managers. Many records management positions require the CRM certification for employment (ARMA, 2012).
The American Library Association is a much older organization than ARMA. It was founded on October 6, 1876 during the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The ALA’s mission is to “provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all (American Library Association, 2012).” Its major publication is American Libraries, which can also be read with limited access online.
Like ARMA, ALA members receive free and discounted publications through the association’s bookstore. The ALA had also arranged for member to have discounts to various other goods and services such as car rental and homeowners’ insurance. Finally, ALA members have free access to Joblist.org and discounted professional development opportunities. ALA’s website is almost overwhelming in the amount of information that it holds. Browsing the website I located educational opportunities, grant opportunities, and information on how members can contact their member of Congress. As someone new to the profession the ALA’s website will become a major source of where I obtain information about the trends and developments in the field (American Library Association, 2012).
After looking further into both organizations I feel that I could benefit from joining both organizations. As a student the time is right to join (not just because of the membership discounts.) Networking, volunteer opportunities, and access to job postings are all essential in starting careers in the LIS profession. As new members of the profession we also owe it to ourselves to try out different professional organizations to find out, which ones are the best fit for our career paths.
American Library Association. Membership Guide. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/ALAadmin/ala-member-benefits-guide
American Library Association. Mission and History. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aboutala/missionhistory
ARMA. ARMA.org Help. (2012). Retrieved from www.arma.org/help/index.cfm
ARMA. Mission. (2012). Retrieved from www.arma.org/about/overview/index.cfm
ARMA. Why Join ARMA? (2012). Retrieved from www.arma.org/join/benefits.cfm.
In part one of my job analysis I explored two position descriptions of my dream jobs: Archivist for NARA and Assistant Archivist and Records Manager for Bowling Green State University. Looking at the positions closely I have assessed how my skills and competencies match (or don’t match) those required by the jobs.
I have taken extensive coursework in archives management and preservation at Wright State University. What I lack is experience in records management and I have nearly three years professional experience outside of graduate school as an archivist. Although neither of these positions require the candidates to be a Certified Archivist, this credential is often preferred for similar positions. I have taken an entry level records and information management course at Wright State University, but I need additional training to meet that education requirement. I will be filling that education requirement shortly once I begin my records and information management coursework at Wayne State University. The position at Bowling Green requires the candidate to be a Certified Records Manager and to have at least three years running a records management program (Higher Education Jobs, 2012.)I will need to start gaining records management experience soon in the next year. Options for gaining experience in records management include practicums, internships, and temporary and part time positions. An internship or practicum may not be easy to add to my already full schedule. The most logical way for me to get experience in records management would be to find an entry level records management position. After I gain the required experience I will apply to sit for the Certified Records Manager exam.
The position at NARA merely requires a Bachelor of Arts in archives administration, history, political science, or a similar field. Candidates should also have project management experience, which I have from my project archivist position at Northern Michigan University and my current position at Michigan Technological University. The NARA position also requires candidates to have experience arranging and describing archival collections. I am currently one of two project archivists who are processing ninety-two archival collections and creating EAD finding aids that will be available on the archives’ new website. Additionally, I have processed and created finding aids according to DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard) in my internships at the University of Dayton and the Beavercreek Historical Society. Finally, the position requires candidates to have experience providing reference to patrons (USAJOBS, 2012.) I have experience providing reference to patrons in nearly all of my positions as an archivist.
The experience and expertise that I lack for the NARA position is working applied knowledge of federal agencies and experience managing the records cycle. Again, this is a case where an internship in records management, preferably in a government agency would be ideal.
Higher Education Jobs. Records Manager/Assistant University Archivist. Retrieved from http://www.higheredjobs.com/search/details.cfm?JobCode=175682821
USAJOBS. Archivist, Perris, California Job Description. Retrieved from https://my.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/332013300#qualifications