Thursday, March 31, 2011

Effects, seeing

One of the great aspects of my job as a student worker in a medical academic library are the opportunities to gain some pretty amazing experiences- experiences I wouldn't necessarily get in the MLIS classroom.

One project that I have started working on is for our Digital Resources Library, specifically the Campus Collection. The library has been gifted a large collection of digital photographs of the University's campus - which feels like a citadel overlooking Portland. The Cataloging and Metadata Librarian has been working with a number of individuals on sorting through the images, coming up with naming conventions, and cataloging them for the collection.

I am one of those lucky individuals.

There has been a lot of conversation in some of the library blogs about the future of MLIS programs. Hack Library School just had a great post about the importance of practical experience in the library school curriculum. While my program does have an optional practicum component, it is projects like these where I don't feel like I need one. For example, I haven't taken a cataloging class, and now that I am working on this project, I feel like I don't even need one. The librarian who is supervising this project has been an excellent teacher. She doesn't just explain the bare minimum to complete this project, but includes conversations with me on the bigger picture issues. She is providing an excellent, be it quick, hands-on cataloging education.

Working the circulation desk is rewarding in its own way - you can help people face to face- but seeing an image you cataloged added to a live collection offers such a wonderful sense of self accomplishment (click here to see an example of one).


  1. I feel the same way T.

    I am taking cataloging right now (I am a student in UNT's Greater Los Angeles cohort through CSU Northridge) but working with the Pasadena Digital History Collaboration as part of my job as a Library Technician at Pasadena City College. I also work in circulation and get a heck of a lot of experience with the F2F aspect, but the digitization project has really given me the experience I need in the working world of cataloging/metadata. I was able to get my practicum waived by way of this. Perhaps you can too.

    You know what though? I'm glad I'm taking cataloging because it provides so much insight into why things are the way they are. I've come to appreciate cataloging so much more. I'm writing my research paper on the history of map cataloging and it is fascinating.

    Take it easy!

  2. Thanks for sharing, Jared!

    There are definitely going to be some drawbacks to not taking the class. Thankfully the librarian I work with shares some of those insights with me, so I feel like I am not missing out, too much. I am also more of a hands-on learner, and wonder if there would be hands-on learning opportunities in a traditional class?

    Glad that you are also enjoying working in a library as you get your degree - I couldn't imagine any other way of doing it!