Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Research Journal: 5 questions, and another one.

Sitting in the first class, I began brainstorming as we discussed the assignment. I've been thinking about doing this project for a while. In order to come up with a better idea for what I wanted to do I asked myself the five big questions: Who, What, Where, When, and Why?

Who: NPDA debaters
What: Information/decision processes
When: Recent past/ contemporary
Were: United Sates
Why: Debaters model leaders(?)

After I asked my self those questions I asked my self why for each one.

Who: NPDA debate has a extemporaneous nature and time/evidence constraints that reward using materials found on the fly as much as adequately preparing for a debate.
What: Structural constraints, attitudes towards research, and extemporaneous nature make this a good test environment.
When As I've mentioned the emergence of technology has impacted the event at a meta level. While the shapes of the rounds have stayed the same, the tools used outside are getting better. Looking at debaters in this environment mirrors the same sort of emerging paradigms we see in industry and government as technology becomes more embraced.
Where: It's familiar to me. I have resources and contacts that I wouldn't have if I examined Canada's debate teams.
why: If you want to get a good job, you have to do interesting meaningful research.

I found that asking myself these questions and expanding them out was a helpful foundation for moving forwards with my research. As I mentioned before my interest in debate is more focused on how debaters use information. However, I've realized that what makes that research valuable is laying a ground work that shows the value of information to that particular community. My next step was brainstorming possible questions. As I progressed in my brainstorming I found that some of those possible questions or research ideas wouldn't work. Coming back to these questions has been helpful in staying focused on workable approaches, and keeping my research focused.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Research Journal: The subject

I came to librarianship through a strange path. I was a collegiate debater. I know people who were debaters in high school who are librarians, but it's not the same. The level of competition just isn't there in the high school form of the activity. Nor is the same level of abstraction, discourse, argumentation, scholarship, and chicanery. It's like the difference between playing football in high school, and playing college football.

Friday, August 12, 2011

End of Year 1/Start of year 2

I haven't really talked about my experience in library school recently, so I' thought I would take a moment and write a bit about my experience and my plans for the coming year. The last year was a pretty busy one for me. I took some great classes, met a bunch of cool people, and went to/started to plan a conference. I know I wrote a write up about my first term here is what's happened since then.

Spring Semester 2011:

This spring I took 3 classes:
  • 768 - Problems in library and information agency administration
  • 748 - Business information sources and services
  • 707 - Introduction to information organization and retrieval
All of the classes required a fairly substantial time commitment for the assignments and they were all back loaded at the end of the quarter. The result was a stress free start, and a stressful end. By the end of the quarter I was sleeping 12 hours over 4 days. If you've never done this before I recommend not doing it. As a result of stress and lack of sleep I forgot my external hard drive in one of the labs and it vanished. Doing things ahead of time, and not stressing out is worth it intrinsically. But if that's not enough to help you beat your procrastination streak, just imagine how much it sucked to loose 5 years of your intellectual life.

Problems in library administration was definitely a great class. It was worth if for the discussion of budgets alone. We also discussed library advocacy in depth, and how to deal with restructuring as a result of budget cuts. While the Business reference had a really weird vibe the term I took it, it was a great class and gave me a lot of experience looking for and using business information to create reports and analysis. It will definitely be a knowledge base I will use in the future. 707 was a solid intro class. It had its own thing going on, but the course work was really fun. The tests though, were very hard.