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“To be a librarian is not to be neutral, or passive, or waiting for a question.

It is to be a

radical positive change agent in your community.”

R. David Lankes

If a librarian or archivist appears in a movie or television show they are often portrayed

based on a stereotype of a single, bitter spinster who shushes anyone who breathes or the Indiana

Jones/Flynn Carsen adventurer. When I enter library school, I only knew the profession in the

frame of the research I had done, but I never experienced it for myself. Through my year and a

half at Dominican I have interacted with many professionals who have taught about my future

profession as professors, mentors, supervisors and peers. Through my experience in my course

and my interactions I realized the above quote by R. David Lankes, while sounding idealistic is

the standard for the profession. While we are there to serve the patrons, we are also there to

uphold the ideals and values of the profession even when the people disagree with them.

What SOIS experiences were the most significant learning experiences for you?

Picking what experience is most significant for me poses the same problem choosing

artifacts the artifacts because each experience and artifact served a purpose in my education even

if I didn’t like it at the time. One of the most frustrating classes for me was LIS 882: Metadata

for Digital Libraries and it has been my only B. I took it online during my spring semester. I

believe I would have done better if I had taken the course in person, because of my personal

learning style. Even though I struggled I believe the course helped me prepare for situations

where help is not immediately available and I need to apply problem solving and the resources I

have to find a solution. Dr. Snow was available if there was a question that one couldn’t solve,

but because I couldn’t walk up to her in class, I worked through any issues I had by reevaluating

the information I was given and applying problem solving skills. I am aware that some archive
positions are know as the “lone arranger” so there could be times that I will not know how to

perform a task or use a piece of software but I am more confident I will be able to use the skills I

learned from working through metadata exercises I can work out the problem.

I consider my time working as a Graduate Reference Assistant for the Rebecca Crown

Library one of my experience that allowed me to put the theories, values, and research I gained

from class into practice. I gained valuable experience by answering reference questions over the

chat feature of LibApps. I often only get simple questions such as does the library have this

book or what are the library hours, but I have also gotten more in-depth research questions. I

included one such question as one of my artifacts. If you compare the chat to my work from LIS

704 there is quite an improvement, because the chat has force me to be precise and to the point. I

also have to be quick because when someone is waiting for an answer on chat it can be very

frustrating if the chats take a long time. I have gotten better at recognizing what questions will

take longer and let the patron know an approximate time. My Reference Interview analysis

made me realize what a reference interview is from the user’s perspective. Working at the lower

level reference desk has further highlighted that my background working retail and at an

answering service is very useful when working as a liaison to information. I have been able to

experiment with my reference interviews and try out methods I learn in class. Working reference

allows me to explore the various databases available to us as well at the physical reference

collection. This gives me more knowledge to better answer the questions from Dominican

students and it gives me experience with the databases.

While I didn’t include any artifacts from LIS 711: Early Books and Manuscripts because

I didn’t have photos or writes ups about our class trips; I still consider the class trips to be highly

influential. Dr. Foy Scalf set up trips to coincide with the type of books or manuscripts we were
studying so they would not just be words on a page we were reading about. He also ensured we

were able to speak with the librarians and archivist regarding their experience in the profession

and how they ended up in their positions. I realized there was such a variety of backgrounds and

it also helped me to realize that my background in music wasn’t a hinderance to being successful

in the profession. Being able to have a behind the scenes look at the Oriental Institute and the

UIC Special Collections library highlighted the different environments archivist could work in.

It also provided a base for some of the discussions we had in LIS 713: Introduction to

Preservation and Conservation, when we discussed the different affects buildings could have on

the materials.

I was very appreciative whenever I was given the chance to work with archival materials

and tools. My first experience was the processing project in LIS 775: Intro to Archival

Principles, Practices, and Services, while the Chicago Archery Club was not the most exciting

group to archive for the hands-on experience helped to cement what we learned in class. My

practicum allowed me to gain hands on experience as well and was extremely varied. I would

work with modern papers from the current projects of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak

Park one day and then inventory periodicals dating back to the early 1900s. One of the

experiences I feel will be extremely useful to me was the opportunity to work with Archon,

ArchivesSpace and Omeka in LIS 881: Advanced Archival Principles, Practices and Services

and LIS 885: Cultural Heritage Resources and Services. Being able to test out the software that

is used in archival practice means I won’t be struggling when I need to use it in the future.

Which artifacts in your e-Portfolio do you consider to be your best?

My Reference Interview Analysis Presentation is one of the artifacts I am most proud of

because I feel it displays my understanding of a reference interview. I also had an enjoyable


time creating it and felt it really helped to cement my love of reference. I was able to more fully

appreciate the skills required to run a successful reference interview. It is useful to be able to see

the interview from the users’ point of view and the poor experiences I had when creating that

ensure I don’t treat the patrons coming to me for assistance that way. Due to one of the

librarians I posed a question to making me feel like I was wasting her time by asking me why I

didn’t just Googled it has stuck with me and I have never asked a patron that.

My Oxygen XML records I created using Dublin Core, both simple and qualified are one

of my most successful assignments from LIS 882: Metadata for Digital Libraries. I struggled

with some of the other metadata schemas but the simplicity of Dublin Core allowed me to show I

knew how to operate Oxygen XML software. It displays my grasp of Dublin Core itself which is

one of the most common schemas used. Due to its simplicity many institutions use it and it

allows data to be more readily shared between institutions.

The third item I believe to be one of my best artifacts is my research paper on

Community Archives and Participatory Heritage. It helped me to define the problems that

existed in the archive community and ensured I kept my idealistic side in check. When doing the

research for the paper it peaked my interest in community archives and also made me aware of

my own preconceived notions I would be bringing to my archival process. It ensured I will try to

be aware of different cultures identities and voices and the voices of those who don’t feel

represented. The research also exposed me to the supporters of community archives and

participatory heritage so I can be sure to stay up-to-date on their work and publications.

What does the ePortfolio reflect about you as a library/information science professional?

I came to Dominican University for the Archives and Cultural Heritage Certificate and

because of the numerous classes and certificates pertaining to technology. My e-portfolio


reflects my passion for archives and the passion I developed for reference, but I feel it doesn’t

display my technical knowledge as well as it could have. I would have included my usability

study that I am currently working on in LIS 753: Internet Fundamentals and Designs for

Outcome 3c. Evaluate resources or tools that facilitate access to and manage information. Due to

the later due date for the project it is not yet suitably completed to be included as an artifact.

I believe my e-portfolio displays my ability to think outside the box and be creative with

solutions. One of my artifacts shows my willingness to adjust to the situation and make

decisions off of the information I have at my disposal. My chat example I included from my

work as a Reference Assistant displays my capacity for customer service as well ensuring I have

multiple solutions or suggestions for the situation.

How has your perspective of libraries/information centers changed during your coursework in

the program?

I have a broader definition of what an information center can be, when I entered, I viewed

libraries as three distinct groups: academic, public, and archives. Due to my research I was

aware that archives could be housed in both academic and public libraries, but was unaware of

how much overlap between them there was. LIS 701: Introduction to Library and Information

Science was eye opening. I was exposed to the large variety between libraries and that my initial

three categories were insufficient to describe the variety of the information profession.

Libraries and information centers are also always changing and trying to improve. They

need to reflect the needs of their community and collections, so they adjust to better serve their

host community. My discovery of the existence of community archives and participatory

heritage made me realize that while libraries and archives still have tradition and high ideals we

do react to the needs and changes we see. I am very excited to be entering the field at this time,
while there are those who don’t believe we are useful or necessary I look forward to preserving

our history for future generations and watching the development of archives celebrating the

underrepresent communities.

What directions to you see your career taking at this point in time?

When I entered the program from the research, I had done I knew I wanted to be an

archivist and while that is still my goal, I have clarified what kind of archivist I would like to be.

After taking LIS 707: Reference and Online Service and working as a Graduate Reference

Assistant in Rebecca Crown Library made it very clear to me how much I enjoy reference and

research. With that information my goal is to combine my love of reference and archive work in

whatever job I get. I also view outreach as an important factor and would love to be able to

create programming for the archive to promote the ideals of the profession as well as engage the

current patrons and potential new users. After serving as the LISSA Co-President I also want to

take a more active role in the professional organization I belong to.

While my goal is to find a job in the archives field, I realize that I may have to take a few

steps to find the perfect fit. While my specialization is in the field of archives, my education at

Dominican was well rounded and I have a base and a degree to allow me to work in the very

diverse field of information professionals. In addition to my well-rounded education, I have an

innate desire to learn and find I grow bored if I am not challenged. Thankfully I am in a field

that encourages learning and asking questions, which will allow me to grow with the profession

and challenge myself often. I know I will return to school during my career whether it will be

continuing education workshop, auditing classes from Dominican a second master’s degree, or a

PhD and with it I will bring the knowledge and ideals I gained from my time here at Dominican

University