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One blog is enough… for jennimi February 12, 2007

Posted by jennimi in About me, Blogging, Library Related, Web 2.0.
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I have decided that maintaining multiple blogs, for example one with a professional slant and one as my “personal” blog, is counterproductive. Afterall, I am a librarian when I wake up, a librarian all day, and a librarian when I go to sleep. I am also a sister, friend, coworker, and many other things, but all of them mesh to create me: jennimi, Jennifer E. Graham. From now on I will be posting solely from my web site at jennimi.com. As I believe there is a lot of great info here, most especially archiving the first 6 months of discussion around the University at Buffalo’s decision to dissolve its School of Informatics, I will be leaving this site, and most of its content, intact. But please do visit my home page for current discussions. As always thank you for visiting.

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tags: dissolution, jennimi, library, librarian

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Students’ spaces October 27, 2006

Posted by jennimi in Academic Librarianship, library 2.0, social software, Web 2.0.
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This afternoon I did something I do every once in awhile: I ate my lunch at the student union on the campus where I am a librarian. I sat at the strewn tables in the loud lunchroom eating the expensive and not so savory food that many students eat out of necessity. I thought about how much my sandwich would ultimately cost if I had bought it using student loan money. Quietly I observed the hectic goings on around me. In the short time I was there in students’ space I observed fraternity pledges “forced” to chant loudly a hearty bit about their greatness. I wondered if in ten years they’ll be just as excited about their greekness. Good thing for their sakes the revelry won’t be etched permanently in the ether that is the Internet. Unless of course it was recorded and put on Youtube. I thought, what a strange word to use for the Internet: “ether”. It falsely implies impermanence.

And between moments of awe at the fact that I was once that young, I noticed several arguments, outbursts, and bully moments. I heard a young woman demand that her friend give her one of her shirts to wear to class tonight, and another wiped her sparkly eye shadow off quickly as she was critiqued by a whole table of other girls. One young man demanded another’s homework from him. It’s not that I had special radio frequency recording equipment. These conversations occured all around me as openly and accessibly as a MySpace profile. Even more so, since I didn’t really search. I just sat down. I realize these were just a few of the happenings in the room. The loudest are the most noticeable…

And before I dared entertain the idea that this generation is any different than mine I remembered a loud and heated conversation I and another student had in a campus cafe in 1991. We disagreed about how to deal with Kosovo. I had a young brother, she didn’t. Thinking back, everyone in the building probably heard our “discussion”, but we didn’t care. Or, it’s perhaps not that we didn’t care, but that the question didn’t really concern us. The cafe was our space. The campus was our space. School wasn’t just about classes, it was about passion, ideas, ego development, and the safe space to be loud and even to make mistakes.

I accomplished some great things as a college student but I also made some mistakes. Sometimes I wonder how my life would be different, or if it would be different, if there had been MySpace or Facebook or a blog in which to document all these things for posterity. Would I be declined an interview by someone who disagreed with my political stance in 1991, even if it may have tempered or changed over the years? Or would potential employers keep in mind that they were young once too, that they found there own spaces in which to grow, and that some adult somewhere may have heard everything – but resisted the urge to intervene?

Lots of discussion these days about how students forge their online personas, much of which admonishing folks to “watch it”. The IT folks at Cornell have posted a really good piece, called “Thoughts on Facebook” (http://www.cit.cornell.edu/policy/memos/facebook.html), that delves into these issues accessibly without talking down to the students. It’s a must-read for anyone working with students involved in web 2.0.

But as I sat in the student union today, realizing I participate in all manner of social software products (likely soon to drop MySpace as all the wonderful free music cannot, for me, trump the increasingly invasive corporateness of its new owner, Rupert Murdoch), agreeing with the push to teach students how to be careful, and cringing at some of the things I heard around me, I secretly applauded the students’ willingness to be themselves. To learn to be themselves. It’s their space. I’m not advocating a free for all, and I certainly want any student I have the honor of meeting to understand what it means to communicate on the web or in-person. And I want the campus library to be a comfortable place to learn these things and more. But we all need space to grow. In a student union or online. Everyone is a work-in-progress.

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Protected: Best Practices September 12, 2006

Posted by jennimi in Academic Librarianship, Blogging, Web 2.0.
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Students (and a few alums) speak out about School of Informatics dissolution June 30, 2006

Posted by jennimi in Informatics, Library School, Web 2.0.
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Just got back from a podcast session hosted by Jim Milles about UB’s decision to dismantle the School of Informatics. 19 current students and recent alums were present (an excellent turnout for summer session!). While the majority represented the MLS program (which is slated to be placed under the auspices of the Graduate School of Education) Communication and Informatics students were also present. COM apparently will go back into College of Arts and Sciences while the fate of Informatics degrees (MA, and the newly announced BA) remains to be seen.

After minor edits the podcast will hopefully air airs tonight at Check This Out! Link is here, episode 33, check it out! Anyone who could not make it today but who’d like to contribute may leave a message on Jim’s skype “jmilles” or comment line at (716) 989-4422. Jim will be putting together a supplemental podcast. I’ll put a direct link here when it goes online.

Several other folks have been blogging about this and to recap:

I’ll be sure to update this post as I find more, but first a few quick personal observations, questions and thoughts:

  • After a brief recap of the mainstream press on this affair (UB Reporter article, Buffalo News) we discussed how we’d heard the news. Shocking that many of us read it in the paper or heard from a friend or coworker at UB. A recurring theme today: the dissemination of information to students has been poor. I’ll let you listen to the podcast for details.
  • Concerns: ALA Accreditation for DLIS? Where will Informatics go and what will diplomas say? Job prospects… sure our degrees are all accredited, but what will future employers think when they google our school? And what is UB doing to make sure we are not punished as individuals for things out of our control?
  • Communication, communication, communication.
  • Will new faculty come? Will other faculty stay? What are their fates? And what do the faculty have to say about all this?
  • IS this a done deal? There are still many decisions to be made, including passing faculty council. How will students and faculty be included in the process? Or better yet, students are stating unequivocally that they wish to be included in the discussion.
  • Another missed opportunity for Buffalo? We could be leading the way in educating the information professionals of the future. Cutting edge programs = cutting edge faculty = cutting edge students = cutting edge partnerships (eg, Firebrary)… (or any other order of the above)? Is UB dropping the ball here?
  • Bioinformatics. It’s the new buzzword – got LOTS of money from Homeland Security and Big Pharmaceutical Companies (among others) and opened up a Center of Excellence downtown. Did we step on their branding and confuse things from the President’s perspective? Our philosophy is bigger, in my view, but our pocket books are smaller. Should we have been “School of Information” rather than “Informatics”? Bad timing?
  • The best part of the meeting, for me, was toward the end when someone suggested discussing the positives of the programs – which are numerous. This is the part where people got most passionate and articulate. Informatics, Communications, Library Science. We LOVE what we do.

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Library Stuff still Collecting Librar* Blogs… June 20, 2006

Posted by jennimi in About me, About this Blog, Academic Librarianship, Blogging, library 2.0, marketing yourself, Web 2.0.
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Steven is still trying to gather up all those library blogs out there, old and new. Three of my colleagues from the LIS program started them just recently! Get those URLs to Steven! Glad to see folks catching on! La-La Librarian looks at fostering creativity in libraries… a research interest of your humble author, and colleague Shannon Kealey.

And your humble blog, Library Matters, was included in this week’s list. And yes, it DID lead to more traffic. Thank you Library Stuff for including this effort by a recent LIS grad to inform her community on the importance of blogging in librarianship… . 🙂