"Manhattan Gold Mining and Milling Company certificate." Courtesy the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University Libraries, via the Mountain West Digital Library.

“Manhattan Gold Mining and Milling Company certificate.” Courtesy the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University Libraries, via the Mountain West Digital Library.

Last fall the library and information science (LIS) students in the Digital Libraries class participated in the pilot project launched by the Digital Public Library of America. The Digital Public Library of America (http://dp.la/) is a fairly new initiative aimed at creating a national digital library in the United States. The goal of the project was to provide Library and Information Science (LIS) students with the knowledge and practical experience to curate online exhibitions.  The Morgridge College of Education’s LIS program was among four programs from around the country participating in this pilot program; the School of Information and Library Science at Pratt Institute in New York, University of Washington, and the University of Oklahoma.

The exhibition was created by Heidi Buljung, Chelsea Condren, Rachel Garfield-Levine, Sarah Martinez, Liz Slaymaker-Miller, Chet Rebman, and Brittany Robinson, under the supervision of Professor Krystyna Matusiak. The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) selected the exhibit created by MCE’s LIS students, Staking Claims: The Gold Rush in Nineteenth-Century America for permanent presentation on the DPLA website.  The exhibit can be viewed at:  http://dp.la/exhibitions/exhibits/show/gold-rush

Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, P-1257.

Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, P-1257.

Artifacts showcased in the exhibit includes historical map of the gold regions of California, a magazine section from the San Francisco Sunday Call in 1910, journal entries, and certificates reflecting ownerships of stock in mining companies . These artifacts reflect the journey west to the gold regions and the romanticization of the gold rush. The exhibition further captured the implications of the gold rush such as marginalization and transformation of the United States. DU LIS student group also selected resources from the Colorado libraries, including images from the Denver Public Library Western History Digital Collections and Pikes Peak Library District Digital Collections. The participation in the DPLA pilot gave DU LIS students an opportunity to discuss the concepts of digital libraries in the real-life context and to apply their technical competencies and collaborative skills into a practical project. To view the online exhibitions at the Digital Public Library of America visit: http://dp.la/info/2014/03/05/new-exhibitions-launch-on-dpla/

Many Morgridge College of Education Library and Information Science (LIS) graduates are not only seeking imaginative, non-traditional roles in the field, but they’re finding them as well. From the variety displayed by recent graduates, the landscape of librarianship has clearly moved far beyond any antiquated stereotypes one may be holding onto.

LIS students often contribute to the traditional sites of public, school, academic, special library and archives settings, but many choose non-traditional roles working for corporations, science and medical companies, web design and content management firms, research firms, or non-traditional academic settings. These tend to be the jobs, that when discussed at a cocktail party, invite inquisitive looks and comments such as, “I didn’t even know that job existed.” But, they do exist, and based on our graduates’ success, it seems the options are boundless.

Some recent graduates shared their experiences in landing exciting, unique jobs as information professionals, and how the LIS program at Morgridge helped to shape the path they took.

A popular and important role for information professionals is digital librarianship and technology services. The graduates we spoke with interact with this role in different ways, but technology is certainly at the core of the work they’re doing.

“My official title is Digital Asset Management Specialist, though that doesn’t really explain what I do.” Grant Outerbridge, a recent LIS graduate, shared what his work involves.

“I am currently engaged in two major projects.  The first project is selecting and configuring a digital asset management (DAM) system for hundreds of thousand of digital photos and videos. This involves designing extensive customized metadata schemas for photos and videos”, Grant explains, “The second project is to help redesign DaVita’s intranet. Once word of my library training spread, I was recruited to help create taxonomies of content and business functions in order to assist the IT department in laying the organizational framework for the new intranet.”

Digital librarianship is an expanding segment of the field of information. Many prospective and current students may be seeking something similar to Grant. His advice?

“The classes I took in Web Content Management, Digital Objects & Collections, and Information Architecture were instrumental in providing me with the intellectual skill set and hands-on experience to be able to do what I do now. Information of Organization made my brain melt a little bit when I took it, but the introduction to taxonomies, folksonomies, and FRBR is what set me down my current path.”

Lindsay Roberts, a Reference Librarian at Arapahoe Community College, teaches information literacy classes, creates LibGuides for the college, catalogs new materials, assists with collection development, and provides reference service to students and faculty.

Lindsay discovered community college librarianship while completing her MLIS. When asked if there was anything in particular from her LIS education that prepared her for this role specifically, she shared a variety of classes and experiences that helped guide her.

LIS Career

“I took Cataloging and Library Instruction, which were both directly applicable to my current role and helped me get the job. I also did a Service Learning project at the Community Technology Center at Denver Public Library and worked as a Graduate Assistant at Auraria Library while in the program. Both of these experiences gave me valuable training in reference and instruction. Finally, Kim Dority’s Alternative Careers class and Jamie LaRue and Sharon Morris’ Leadership class helped me think broadly about information work and all the possibilities for careers. I highly recommend these if they are offered!”

Lindsay’s passion for the community college culture and student population is evident in her approach.

“I love building relationships with students and faculty: ACC staff and students with a wide range of backgrounds. We see many of the same folks in the Library regularly, so we get to know their names and their stories. Students will sometimes come back and say, “Hey, I got an A on that paper you helped me with!” and that’s a wonderful feeling. I think the work we do really matters, since the research skills used for a particular assignment can also help someone with other areas of their life and help them feel more confident about themselves.”

When asked “Why libraries?” many LIS students agree that public service, helping people to find the information they’re seeking, and working with a variety of resources are top of their list of reasons for going into the field of Library and Information Science. The LIS program introduces a variety of classes that shape each individual’s approach to these passions. The varied paths students take is evidence of the range of the field as well as the opportunities.

Katie Yashiro works at the National Park Service (NPS) as a government contractor for Cherokee National Technical Solutions.

“I work in the Technical Information Center (TIC) for NPS. Currently, I assist with the processing of construction, design, and planning documents that NPS produces. This includes organizing, cataloging, and accessioning these documents known as Project Information Files.”

When asked what best prepared her for her role she explained that having a basic fundamental knowledge of how to organize information so that it is findable has been the most beneficial.

Her advice to current or prospective LIS students is to look at job postings for positions they’re interested in. By doing this, you’re able to see what a prospective employer is looking for in terms of certifications, specializations, and classes. Katie claims this was some of the best advice she received while in the program. She also encourages LIS students to network as much as possible by joining different clubs, associations, and affiliations.

“I have learned [this] is a key to advancing your career in the library field. Being as connected as possible to the library community is one of the most beneficial things an LIS student can do.”

The notion of networking and being a part of professional associations is new to many students upon entering the program, but the opportunities to do so on a student level are numerous. And while involvement in the student associations and the coursework, as well as finding your way down this path, may seem overwhelming, a similar sentiment is shared among recent graduates: It’s all about the courses, the people, investigating the path you’re interested in, and utilizing the LIS offerings to get you there.

For the first time ever, the DU ASIS&T student chapter was selected as a recipient of the ASIS&T (Association of Information Science & Technology) Student Chapter of the Year award for 2013. This award is given to student chapters to recognize their participation and contributions to ASIS&T and the advancement of information science. The University of Denver’s Library and Information Science (LIS) program supports multiple student chapters that aim to build skills and grow together professionally. The DU ASIS&T group primarily focuses their attention on introducing and furthering knowledge of LIS technologies to students in the field.

According to the Chapter Assembly, Association for Information Science and Technology, DU was chosen because “for a chapter of its size, the student chapter at the University of Denver is extremely active. Among the particularly noteworthy activities of this chapter are the number and quality of local events, the frequency and constancy of communication with its membership, the oversight and concern for local chapter finances and the quality administration provided by the officers. The chapter offers many diverse and interesting activities and has attempted to work with other organizations. It has also shown creative use of social media as communication tools. They not only have a well-maintained organization, but also clearly articulated future plans.”

During the 2012-2013 school year, the group recruited professionals to present short 30-minute talks, called TechBytes, to students. Some of these presentations included Jamie LaRue on the Future of Ebooks in Libraries, Alex Martinez on the Information Architecture of DU’s VideoManager, and Megan Kinney on using Drupal in Libraries. In addition, they planned and executed a full-day Technology Bootcamp. In an attempt to collaborate with students in other programs at the Morgridge College of Education, the group asked COESA (College of Education Student Association) to co-sponsor the event and invited all students in the college to attend. The 37 students that attended the event attended 4 sessions from DU professors and DU ASIS&T Officers throughout the day with topics ranging from Digitization to Visual Programming Language to Creating Community with Social Media.

Finally, chapter members helped with two panel presentations, one on web services librarianship and one on getting hired as a professional librarian. In addition to DU LIS students, individuals from the local community were invited to attend. Both events were a huge success and provided great career information. In order to publish these events, the group needed a robust web platform; therefore, members created a new chapter website, documented policies and procedures, and started a video archive of the recorded TechBytes.

Officers for the 2012-2013 Board:

Christine Coughlan, Chair

Lindsay Roberts, Vice-Chair

Jules Robinson, Treasurer

Josh Davies, Co-Program Director and Secretary

Julia Havelick, Web Content Manager

Kathleen Carothers, Co-Program Director

Rebecca Bolger, Marketing Director

Julia Blase will be participating in the Library of Congress’ National Digital Stewardship Residency to continue learning InContext and gain experiences with some of Washington D.C.’s most renown archives and collections. Blase was selected to be one of the eight residents for the 2013-2014 NDSR program.

According to the National Digital Stewardship Residency’s website, the mission is “to build a dedicated community of professionals who will advance our nation’s capabilities in managing, preserving, and making accessible the digital record of human achievement. This will enable current and future generations to fully realize the potential of digital resources now and for years to come.”

To help carry out that mission, Julia will be at the National Security Archive working on digital stewardship, performing a diagnostic of and proposing improvements to the National Security Archive’s digital asset ingestion, management, and dissemination process. Blase will also complete an intensive two-week digital stewardship immersion workshop at the Library of Congress and, throughout the year, will attend a series of guest lectures and actively participate in the collaborative education community established by the residency program. At the conclusion of the program, she will present a summary of her project to a national audience at a professional conference.

Blase commented that MCE’s assistant professor, Dr. Krystyna Matusiak was instrumental in obtaining the residency.


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