Monthly Archives: January 2015

Hello, new term!

The spring term starts on Monday and I cannot wait. My note-taking pencil is sharpened, books have been taken out from the library, and I have created a new folder for each module on my computer. The excitement is palpable.

I am massively excited about the new term not just because I still love being a student again, but also because I will get to study Cataloguing & Classification alongside Knowledge Organisation. Some of my favourite things! I did  the Coursera Metadata MOOC run by Jeffery Pomerantz from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last summer and ever since, I have been hooked. Although the MOOC was mainly about metadata (the name is a giveaway…), we touched upon related topics a lot: Library of Congress Subject Headings, Dewey Decimal Classification, ontologies and thesauri… I cannot wait to learn more about to all of this.

And I cannot wait to read these babies:

cataloguing and classification books

Librarians, Lady Gaga, antelopes and information literacy

I go back to watching this little gem of a video of librarians “doing Gaga”, featuring students and faculty from the University of Washington’s Information School, every few months to remind me of how much I love librarians:

Now that I have finished my first semester of my MSc, the video is not just amusing, but I get (at least some of) the references! Much of the content reminds me of the curriculum at my own university: last term was all about searching catalogues and databases.

And there are other things that are more familar now. For example, the Big 6 information literacy model, although admittedly I know more about the SCONUL Seven Pillars.

The antelope prints must refer to the somewhat famous question: Is an antelope a document? We did not discuss this directly as part of the MSc, but still I have come across Michael Buckland’s much-referenced paper several times by now. If the question does intrigue you, I suggest you read his paper:

BUCKLAND, M.K., 1991. Information as thing. Journal of the American Society for Information Science. 42(5), pp. 351-60.

First and foremost though, do enjoy the video!

Video source: “Librarians Do Gaga” by Sarah Wachter is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Help! I’m a new LIS student – what should I read?

A good nine months ago, I found myself with a letter of acceptance to study for an MSc in Information & Library Studies. Hooray! I had already been keeping up-to-date with the field by reading blogs and the like, but was keen to read some introductory textbooks before the course started. Here are some recommendations to my past self and, more usefully, to anybody who is thinking about embarking on a LIS degree.

CHOWDHURY, G.G. et al, 2008. Librarianship. An introduction. London: Facet Publishing

In a nutshell, this is a great overview of libraries, librarians and librarianship. The chapters are concise and, I felt, give you the most important information about each topic without going into too much detail. In the first draft of the post, I gave a list of just some of the topics, but although I picked the ones that I found most interesting, it soon got far too long. LIS just is a fascinating and wide field!

Still, if you want the very basics, this book has them covered: what different types of libraries are there, and what services do they provide? If you want to read an overview of how information is organised and accessed, this book is your best friend. An introduction to the most important library technologies? Search no more. The book also has several chapters devoted to mangement and marketing in libraries as well as education and research in librarianship. Each chapter has a short list of recommended reading, which I found very handy.

As I said above, a great introduction to a very broad field, and perhaps the first book I would pick up if I was a new student.

BAWDEN, D. and ROBINSON, L., 2012. Introduction to Information Science. London: Facet Publishing

Out of the three books I present here, this is probably my favourite. It is more detailed than Chowdhury et al (2008) and I found myself referring to a lot it during my first semester. The authors are great at explaining difficult concepts and presenting them in clear, simple language. For example, the whole field of philosophy of information science was completely new to me, but this book really helped me to understand what  it’s all about.

Topics I found particularly useful and/or interesting include: the said chapter on philosophy and paradigms of information science, information organisation and informetrics.

BROPHY, P., 2005. The academic library. 2nd ed. London: Facet Publishing

This is a lovely introduction to academic libraries – users, HR, collection management, buildings, and so on… My only comment would be that some parts are slightly outdated, e.g. when  the author talks about technology and, especially, the higher education environment which seems to change at an increasingly rapid pace. Still, if you are interested in academic libraries, read this book! I also picked up some general library background knowledge from this book, e.g. different theoretical concepts of libraries and the SCONUL Seven Pillars of Information Literacy – random, I know!