Category: Grad School Assignments

Grad School Reflection Paper for e-portfolio

Rebecca Kilbreath

E-Portfolio Reflection Paper

3 March 2012

At the dawn of my graduate school career I was considering a career change. After a decade in publishing I thought I might prefer a dramatic shift toward library science with, perhaps, an emphasis in archives.

That was my intention in my first semester. The early artifacts in my portfolio reflect that sincere interest in archives and preservation, particularly the paper I wrote, On the Society of American Archivists and the Future of Archiving; the pathfinder I compiled, View-Master Viewers and Reels (a hobby that I was interested in “practicing” my new archiving skills on); and my research on the archives at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio that resulted in a poster presentation and display.

My portfolio reflects the changing nature of my interests in information science.

While I still find archives an important and interesting field of study, my emphasis changed as my personal and professional life evolved. I was laid off from my publishing job in the middle of my graduate school journey and found myself at a crossroads—I could jump into library science or continue to look for publishing work. As luck would have it, I found a strange place in between.

I took LIS 770 and enjoyed it much more than I was expecting. It was the best of the core classes, in my opinion. I discovered a world beyond archiving and public libraries. I enjoyed thinking about the big picture in terms of organizations and information. I switched tracks and decided to pursue a knowledge management certificate. This was prompted in part by my success and interest in LIS 770 but also by the fact that I was picking up clients and starting my own freelance editing business. Clients were interested in technology, content management systems, web development, and big picture thinking. And, it turned out, so was I.

During LIS 770 I wrote Managing Green: Library Management, Environmentalism, and Economic Reality Collide in Public Libraries. It was a turning point in my education. It combined my background—writing about architecture and green building—with my interest in change management and the future of public spaces.

From there, I took what was for me the best class at Dominican: LIS/GSB 624, Organizational Analysis with Molly Burke. I learned a great deal about the way organizations work. Among the projects I completed for the class was a case study on Proctor and Gamble. I would never look at organizations and corporate culture from the same perspective again.

I also took LIS 880, Knowledge Management. We reviewed numerous case studies and relevant literature that culminated in a long “journal” totaling over 40 pages of analysis and reflection on knowledge management. Having nearly all of my thoughts on a given topic in a single file allowed me to consider all I’d learned and the ways in which those lessons might apply to my burgeoning freelance editing and consulting career.

During the time that my interest had turned to the business and theory end of library science, I was also immersed in learning new skills to add to my resume, including HTML, CSS, content management administration, and much more. I created two websites that are not beautiful but are functional and are stepping stones to greater technical skill and knowledge. Given the skills I brought to the table when I began this journey, they are singular accomplishments despite their seemingly rudimentary nature. I made a personal website for my business,, and then I made a more advanced website on the same topic:

I learned basic HTML, built on that with CSS, and learned a little PHP. From there, I learned about Drupal (a content management system) and content modules and website design and evaluation.

These skills contributed directly to advancements in my career as one of my clients has made me their web editor, responsible for utilizing knowledge management skills in maximizing their website content and traffic. I also inferface with Drupal’s main competitor—Joomla—on a daily basis. I use my content management system skills to improve the frequency of updates and therefore the freshness of my client’s website. I was part of a team that launched their new website, did troubleshooting for them, and continues to de-bug the site on an ongoing basis in addition to posting new content regularly. Because of my success in those areas, the company has also made me a project manager, spearheading webinars and other web-based activities.

The evolution of my interest in information science is evident in my portfolio, and reflects the real-world work opportunities I am encountering.

I hope to continue to employ the knowledge I have gained at Dominican with clients in the future. I would love to start a community of practice in a future position. The paper I wrote, Communities of Practice: A Knowledge Management Power Tool, provides an overview of what a community of practice is, sample case studies, and criticisms related to communities of practice. This is an area that is still ripe for development and I look forward to employing this tool in the future. It’s one of the strongest pieces in my portfolio, I believe.

During my time at Dominican, I have come to appreciate many aspects of library science and librarianship that I had not given much thought to previously. I am looking forward to graduating and pursuing a career track that is not exactly typical of library students but I will continue to support public libraries in any way I can, including volunteering my time and energy.

One of the ways I plan to extend information science in my personal realm is in advocacy and education. I educate my clients on how they can better communicate to their audience, either online or in print. I provide concise and clear social media representation, and I find the best way to provide access to information is via clear communication. It’s our job to create a bridge from information to individuals in our communities.

The first paper I wrote for graduate school was a response to the article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The concept of new technology providing access to information but not necessarily knowledge has been a theme throughout my graduate school education. The fact of the matter is that people are barraged with information on a daily basis and it’s our job as information science professionals to help weed out the noise, provide clear pathways to information, operate with informational integrity, and do it all with a strong sense of service and purpose.

That is what I will take from my time at Dominican.

The Seven Objectives–Grad School Porfolio

Below you will find artifacts from my graduate school experience and how it relates to one of the seven Dominican MLIS program objectives.

Articulating and applying a philosophy of service that incorporates an awareness of the legacy of libraries and information centers within our culture.

  • Marketing References Services. For this assignment, I worked in a group setting to explore an area of concern in reference services. We opted to explore ways that academic reference services could better market themselves and their services. The PowerPoint and attendant notes demonstrate how the service-based reference librarians found creative and unique ways to reach out to their community of users and beyond in order to improve their visibility and better serve the community.
  • On the Society of American Archivists and the Future of Archiving. In this paper, I consider the history and future of the Society of American Archivists. In particular I highlight two recent calls by archivists to push the boundaries of archiving to better serve current patrons as well as a call to consider the long-term ramifications of being an archivist and what that means for our collective society. 
  • Knowledge Management Cumulative Journal Assignment. In this 40-plus page journal, I review major literature throughout the history of Knowledge Management (KM) studies, carefully consider case studies in KM techniques, and weigh in with my opinions on which methodologies seem to be most effective and show the most promise for future implementation in information centers. 

Promoting the professional values of ethical responsibility, intellectual freedom, and universal access to information.

  • On the Society of American Archivists and the Future of Archiving. In this paper, I consider the importance of archivists, how they influence scholarship in the future and what that means for archivists ethically and professionally. 
  • A series of blog posts on Cloud Computing, Global Access Issues and Broadband, and Intellectual Property. For LIS 753, I kept a blog on technology issues related to librarianship and information access. In the posts I’ve linked here, I consider the complicated future of cloud computing (and what it means for access to information), concerns about access for rural and poor Americans (and how libraries can help create a bridge to modern technology for those people), and intellectual property and freedom of expression. 

Identifying and analyzing information needs and opportunities of individuals and organizations, both within the traditional information service areas and the broader information sector.

  • P&G Case Study. As part of LIS/GSB624, Organizational Analysis, I worked in a student group to review a case study related to Proctor & Gamble. We were tasked with coming up with a solution of what the organization should do about a particular business unit that did not fit within their corporate model. We analyzed the relevant readings and identified a solution to P&G’s problem. We wrote a paper on it (linked) and also did a presentation to the class on our findings. 
  • Special Libraries Pathfinder. As a new LIS student I was surprised at the lack of information in the program on alternative librarianship pathways. Most of the core classes seemed to focus on public and academic libraries so I took it upon myself to create a pathfinder on “Special Libraries” in order to identify those pathways and analyze and assess the materials available. 
  • Knowledge Management Cumulative Journal Assignment. In this 40-plus page journal, I reviewed numerous case studies and theoretical articles related to Knowledge Management practices. In the final journal entry on page 39 I utilize all of the theories and practices I learned during the course of the class to identify and analyze the information needs of one of my clients in order to create information solutions for them within a knowledge management framework. 

Developing creative solutions to information problems by integrating relevant models, theories, research, and practice.

  •  Marketing References Services. In this PowerPoint presentation (as well as in the notes I’ve included at the link) my group from LIS 704 explored creative solutions to marketing available reference services in both public and academic library settings. My examples included unusual marketing efforts and creative collaborations to improve the visibility of the reference desk. 
  • Communities of Practice: A Knowledge Management Power Tool. In this paper, I explored the knowledge management solution known as “communities of practice.” This solution to improve information and knowledge sharing involves setting up a formal way in which knowledge transfer can occur. The paper considers the history, case studies, detractors and current thinking on this methodology. 

Designing, implementing, and evaluating systems, technologies, services, and products that connect users with information.

  • Reference Desk Service Report. In this report for LIS 704, I visited a local reference desk to evaluate their systems and service. It was one of three reports we did that required us to closely consider service and implementation of systems to deliver said service during the semester. 
  • and Drupal Website Creation. Over the course of two classes I learned HTML, CSS, and content management system administration (among many other things). These two websites were the results of months of knowledge building. Ultimately, I designed and implemented the technology from the ground-up in order to better connect my clients with the services I offer. 
  • Collecting View-Master Viewers and Reels Pathfinder. This was the first pathfinder I created for LIS 701. I designed it and utilized research to create a topic-oriented pathfinder that would aid those interested in finding out more about any topic of my choice. I went with a topic I knew in order to focus on creating a thorough pathfinder that I knew would help connect users with the information they were seeking. A basic understanding of how to do that led me to create a Special Libraries Pathfinder the following semester.

Practicing a variety of management, communication, and organizational skills to facilitate appropriate change within libraries and communities.

  • Managing Green: Library Management, Environmentalism and Economic Reality Collide in Public Libraries. In this paper for LIS 770, I review the literature on change management as it applies to greening libraries. As a trade magazine writer I have written many stories about green building and sustainable building practices. I wondered how this applies to libraries and also how to implement changes in libraries from a management level that would improve the environment both within the library and for the community at large. 
  • Award-Winning Libraries. In this PowerPoint presentation, I worked with another student to research the qualities in common at award-winning libraries in North America. The award-winning libraries had similar goals for the end product and thus enjoyed some striking similarities (as well as differences). These case studies show how the libraries of the future should model themselves regardless of the budget–there are examples that all libraries can learn from.
  • The Frank Lloyd Wright Archives in Oak Park. In order to improve my visual communication skills, I worked to create a poster board presentation for LIS 775. As a writer and editor, I don’t often get called on to create visual, three-dimensional displays so I took my visit to the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio archives and combined it with research and appealing visuals in order to share the experience with my peers. 

Teaching others to identify, analyze, organize, and use information.

  • Chapter 11 Outline for Teaching the Class. I prepared and used this outline as a means to “teach” my classmates in 703. Each week, a different group had to lead the class and teach a chapter from the textbook. I created an outline of the chapter, reviewed the pertinent points, and rehearsed the important elements repeatedly before getting up in front of the class and guiding them through the content. 
  • Communities of Practice: A Knowledge Management Power Tool. In this paper, I give a thorough review of the knowledge management tool known as “communities of practice.” I provide a history, case studies, and criticism in order to provide a primer on the methodology. 
  • Google Is Making Us Smarter. In this short paper, I create a counterpoint to a popular essay, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” With research and clear language, I build a case for the opposite: access to information can create knowledge, and access to technology and social media make us all content creators, which exercises and expands our writing and reading abilities in profound ways.


Archives Visit

As part of LIS 775, I learned about the Frank Llloyd Wright archival materials in Oak Park. For the final class assignment I created a posted board presentation that served as an introduction to the archives for my classmates. It included photos of the home and studio, photos of the archive I found online, contextual information and quotes, an image of Frank Lloyd Wright himself, and images of archival documents available online and in person at the Oak Park Public Library. I also added a 3D card of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio to create a stronger graphical element.

Marketing References Services

For more information, please see my notes on my portion of the presentation:

This is a huge topic. But, what we want you to walk with is the idea that effective marketing is imperative to the future of libraries. And there are many reasons to learn to market your library—and librarians learning to be less resistant to the ideas.

One of the challenges faced in marketing is that research has shown that librarians are introverted and lack confidence. This sets expectations rather low. However, recent research has evolved to note that librarians are also social, investigative and enterprising. Yay!

Other early studies showed that librarians are resistant to undertaking marketing efforts but newer research shows that while there is resistance to change, administrators and other library employees were open to marketing if they had been exposed to the concepts via a class or seminar before.

So what does this mean to you, future librarians?

First of all you should try to take a class on marketing when it’s offered here and familiarize yourself with basic concepts. The most important concept in marketing today is branding. It’s the basis of most marketing plans and it’s another huge topic, worth of its own presentation.

Creating a public face for your organization requires cohesion and consistency. There are some resources in the handout to get you started.

What we’ll focus on are real world marketing efforts in Academic Libraries.

I came across a few unusual marketing efforts that I wanted to share to spark some creative thinking when it comes to marketing your library’s services.

The four examples I’ll be talking about are unusual ways to reach out to everyone within the academic community.

Montana State University’s COCKTAIL PARTY:

  • Traditional outreach to faculty includes flyers and brown bag luncheons. Montana State University upped the ante by throwing a cocktail reception directed at new faculty and department liaisons to the library.
  • The goal was to building relationships and create good will—and make the library a more welcoming space.
  • It was held in the library’s atrium and several solid decisions were made.
  • The librarians served the beverages themselves on a rotating, flexible schedule meant to encourage chitchat and make the event feel less formal.
  • They had music and centerpieces to make it festive but also provided three key areas for learning: they provided a table at the entrance to track the attendees and make them feel welcome, they had a demonstration area set up with short, pertinent demons  related to library services, and they had a table at the exit with flyers and more information on library services for guests to take.

MURDER IN THE LIBRARY at Christopher Newport University

  • The librarians held a murder mystery party for incoming freshman at Christopher Newport University’s library.
  • It’s purpose was to raise awareness of typical library needs of freshman, particularly: where the circulation and reserves and reference desks are, how to find a call # and locate a book, how to find a journal or periodical—and my personal favorite—where the copy machines were located!
  • Students had to solve the murder mystery with the help of the librarians and the services available at the library. The librarians had a lot of fun creating props and creating fun ways for students to find the five core pieces of information the librarians wanted to show them. While no surveys have been done to ensure that the students learned what they set out to learn, the murder mystery parties were popular.


Trinity University’s Coates Library was one of just 82 libraries to get the ALA’s traveling exhibit, “Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature”.

This was an unusual opportunity to work with other departments and create an event to raise the profile of the library on campus.

In this case, a direct tie-in to the curriculum existed and so the library, working with the school’s PR dept developed and promoted a program that included a costume party reception, several lectures, a film festival, a panel on cloning, a student art exhibit and a blood drive, among other efforts.

This was a great opportunity for the library to reach out to the university community and the local business community, form partnerships, raise awareness and get freebies! The efforts cemented bonds that continued after the Frankenfest was over.

Collaborate with Students at Ames Library

Since this was assigned, I don’t want to go into too much detail. Suffice to say, getting student input and creating an educational opportunity for students is a win/win all around. And, in short, the collaboration worked for both the library and the students. And that’s the whole point of working with students on marketing projects for the academic library.

Cloud Computing

Class Assignment:

It seems talk of cloud computing is everywhere. I attended an event at DU last week on records management and even they brought up the idea that you should at least be familiar with cloud computing when approaching the industry because there are many applications where it will be employed in the future.

I used to be an early adopter of technology. I no longer am. Not only is it often
prohibitively expensive, it is generally quickly outdated. I spent $350 on a 3 megapixel camera. It was state of the art at the time.

The confluence of technology trends and cloud computing in this module got me thinking about the obsolescence of cloud computing; that’s not to say that is obsolete but I have to wonder about it in the same way I wonder about all technology today. I told my husband I was going to start an Internet museum dedicated just to our own outdated technology, with detailed photographs of his Apple II and my Sony MiniDisc player taken with my 3 megapixel camera.
Cloud computing is an interesting area and I think it’s filled with opportunities to bring technology to new places and the number of free Internet-based applications and software is sure to level some of the digital divide (particularly since libraries are playing an important role—wouldn’t it be nice to have libraries provide programs letting the average library user know what kinds of freebies are available to them on the Internet? I’m sure this is already happening in places I don’t know about).

I think the popularity of wireless applications in the cellular world will continue to bridge that divide. For example, I read recently that Twitter is very popular with businesses, celebrities and lower income cellular phone users (those who don’t have access to computers regularly but have adopted text messaging capabilities.

However, as future librarians (and archivists and records managers) it’s important to remember how quickly trends come and go and to be mindful of our client’s future need to access information from outdated modes.

Web 3.0: The Semantic Web

Class Assignment:

I found the readings/videos in this module very exciting. I look forward to the day that we have a true Semantic web—I feel like I’ve been waiting for it forever! I’m also looking forward to not having to drive my car.

The Borland article was pretty fascinating—it was interesting to think about how the organizational methodology of librarianship could be applied to emerging technologies. I wish this were a bigger field of exploration in our MLIS studies generally.

I think one of the most interesting elements of the Semantic Web is the criticism of how complicated it is. (I like that it might employ some catalogers). But, really, what isn’t complicated in web infrastructure and coding? It’s not like everybody learned HTML and SEO in high school (perhaps in some areas these days, of course, but not most). Like so many businesses with a presence online, as the Semantic Web is rolled out, the top tier companies will take on the endeavor because they already understand that functionality means business—real business and real dollars. Why do companies spend so much on SEO? SEO can be pretty complicated and time-consuming but it can also make a fledgling business hit the tipping point.

I’m also not opposed to keeping it simple. In fact, it’s the only way to do it on a mass scale. Leave complicated Semantic Web linking to organizations that need them and would truly benefit from the interconnectivity.

And while I know we’re supposed to tie everything to libraries, I actually think the Semantic Web will result in more jobs for knowledge management professionals—and I think that’s good news. Libraries will benefit from the implementation of a more organized Internet but I’m not sure how they will help create it—at least in public libraries (OCLC and Zepheira aside). I can see how academic libraries could implement these things. And god knows that the databases libraries regularly employ need some better search functionality.
I saw this posting on Allan’s Library and I couldn’t help but think this is the problem with library discourse. There are lots of “ooh, this is connected to something about libraries…” And I see the parallels and how it’s connected? Lots of things are closely connected in concept but that doesn’t mean they truly intersect, create stability in funding for libraries, or create library jobs.

And what, exactly, are librarians bringing to the Web 3.0 table? I hope it’s organization but I’m not sure.