Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Impressions

Oh, Fall 2011. Here you are, and although I knew you were coming, I had also hoped you'd delay your appearance by a few days. The weather's finally nice, and now you request I stay indoors, chained to my computer, and reading legal case after article after legal case... And so begins the third semester of my MLIS degree.

I'm back to full-time student this semester... I decided it would be better for my sanity (perhaps??) if I didn't focus on finding a job right away and just settled into life here in Sedville at my own pace, which apparently means a super intense semester of grad work. Although the first day of classes isn't over (it never really is with this whole online deal...), I thought I'd give you some first impressions of my classes this semester.

First and foremost, I feel so dazed and confused simply because I do not know where to start. It seems all my classes want the readings finished and discussions started immediately, but I simply cannot do that for three classes at once. My Legal Issues class has our first online chat tomorrow already, and I feel he expects us to have a good portion of the cases and statutes read prior to our discussion. If so, I'm in trouble.... we'll see how that goes.

Reference: By far, this class is the most "traditional" library-based, and promises to be highly enjoyable this semester. The prof is balancing readings/theory with situational exercises, including discussions of best practices and recommended reference materials. Definitely a good class for librarians, and I anticipate it having worth for the archivists as well. There's really not much more I have to say about this class at the moment, except I'm loving how organized and logical the professor is. Readings, recorded lectures, and online discussions. Typical class structure, but for this topic, it appears highly effective. Some observations included, which should be interesting and informational.

Preservation: Naturally, I am interested in this class for its archival focus and merit. Although not a top choice at all when planning out my coursework in the program, the instructor is outstanding and really knows her stuff. She's incorporating Simmons' brand new Digital Curriculum Lab, which is perfect for an online course. I'm excited to explore this new feature, gain some hands-on knowledge, and practical experience all in one. Other than that, the format is typical for the instructor, and I really appreciate how she structures the class. We'll be covering all forms of information media, including my old friend digitization. I'm excited to explore digitization even more as a preservation method, considering I worked with it for a while, and wrote a paper on it last semester. Other topics we'll cover include disaster preparedness and recovery, security, environmental control, collections maintenance... the list goes on and on.

Legal Issues: Not to be cheesy, but this class just may give me issues. As seems to be the case, classes I am most excited about tend to hold my interest the least. And I was really looking forward to taking this class. I'm not saying I'm giving up on this course already, just that I know I've met my challenge. I had thought the class would be discussing legal issues as pertains to libraries and information managers without immersing ourselves in the technical language of court cases, statutes, etc. Of course, I expected to read these, just didn't think we'd be on our own to completely interpret/understand/comprehend them. Basically, the class requires about 8 times more work than I anticipated. Brings back the undergrad Political Science days for sure. Those days were reason enough not to apply to law school... In addition, I'm not entirely sure I understand how the professor wants us to proceed with the readings, casework, etc. I know I'll get out of the course the equivalent of what I put in effort-wise, but I also don't want to go completely insane with this legal stuff. Copyright. I'm here for the copyright. And it's at the beginning.... so looks like I'll be developing tangential interests along the way. Here's hoping this course will become a bit less confusing and a bit more friendly for us non-lawyer types.*

So there you have it. First impressions of the third semester. The race is on, and I'm focused on the finish line. Much to do before arriving there, but with husband, friend, and classmate support along the way, it'll totally happen. Hopefully without too much insanity... and a little bit of chocolate.**


*Speaking of lawyers, there are a surprising number of them in our MLIS program. I suppose I shouldn't really be surprised, as law libraries prefer to hire among their own...
** O.K.... who am I kidding?? It'll be a lot of chocolate, and probably some alcohol, too. And knitting. Perfecto.

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