Finally a Graduate!

17 Dec

December 15, 2012

That is the day that I walked across the stage to receive my degree!

Walking across the stage

Walking across the stage

I enrolled in my first three LIS courses in August of 2011 and went to school full-time for four semesters, while also working full-time. It was a LOT of work but well worth it. I can’t be more proud of myself and relieved that it is finally over.

I have met new friends and had a lot of fun networking, and I will never forget the people who kept me going when all I wanted to do was get more sleep! ūüôā

My amazing husband

My amazing husband

First, I want to thank my amazing husband. Without you supporting my idea to get my Master’s I don’t think I could have done it! Also, thank you for putting up with the long nights of studying and calming me during comps. You are the best friend, partner, and husband a woman could ever ask for. So thank you!

Good friends

Good friends

Thank you Sarah, Natasha, and Ariana for being awesome classmates. You all made class more interesting and bearable during long weeks of group projects and helped brainstorm paper ideas AND all of the proofreading and editing! You ladies are amazing and I would consider it an honor to continue to work and network with all of you!

A massive thank you to my friends who have put up with me cancelling plans and missing lunch dates because my paper “just isn’t right yet”. Megan, you have really been a phenomenal inspiration to me not only personally but professionally as well. There were days when I felt so overwhelmed that I thought I would burst and like the amazing friend you are you dropped everything to cheer me up and push me forward. Whitney! Holy cow, thank you for teaching me literally everything I know about conservation and preservation and for being an amazing listener and advice giver. Thank you for always being there to bounce ideas off of and for being a very patient teacher. You are amazing and my life has been greatly improved by having you in it. That goes for all of you really, I don’t think friends come any better than you ladies!

Thank you Mom and Dad for instilling in me from an early age the importance of reading and education. And thank you for giving me all the tools I would need to be successful. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without the two of you!

I want to thank all of my professors (especially Jim Schnur and Penney Beile) for continuously making the topics interesting and relevant to the current field. Without all of you I wouldn’t have known that the LIS field extends far beyond what I had ever imagined.

Lastly, thank you to the Librarians I have encountered throughout this entire process. From my grade school Media Center specialists who encouraged me to read far beyond my grade level and who introduced me to some of my favorite books and genres to the Librarians that I now have the honor of calling my colleagues. You have all been an inspiration and I hope that one day I will inspire young Librarians as well.

So thank you all! I feel blessed to have so many friends and people to share this momentous¬†achievement¬†with! But for now, it is time to sit back and relax and maybe go on vacation because now the real fun starts… Now I get to job hunt.

And now for a small slide show of my graduation pictures.

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Social Cataloging: Goodreads & Library Thing

12 Nov

As someone who has around 300 books in their personal collection, I find sites such as Goodreads and Library Thing to be very useful to say the least. I have been using Goodreads for around a year and a half now, and although I had a Library Thing account for just as long I am just now coming around to using it again. Why? Glad you asked!

Even before I started my MLIS degree I was looking for a way to organize my books as well as a way to keep track of what books I have read and what I thought of them. I came across Library Thing first and played with it but for some reason dropped it and found Goodreads instead. I am not sure why I did that at the time, but now that I have been playing with them both here is what I think of both of them.

Goodreads

To get straight to is, I like Goodreads (GR) for their social aspect. I have it linked with my Facebook account so whenever I update my status on GR it updates on Facebook as well. I also have it set up so that when my Facebook friends create an account on GR they are automatically added to my friends list. It makes finding and following friends much easier.

I created this account for the sole purpose of helping me remember what books I have read and to keep a running tally of books that I want to read. It has a great, easy to use interface that is very welcoming to the new user. I won’t waste a ton of time here discussing how to use the website because a quick trip over there and five minutes of playing and you will just about be a pro! Within a few minutes of playing around you can add all the books you remember reading as well as adjust the edition of the books so that it reflects the exact copy you read (admittedly this is a bit gimmicky but also very fun).

When you select your book’s edition and add it to your “Currently Reading” list you are able to update your reading progress so that you can track how much you have read and when. Then when you have marked the book as “Read” you can write a review and rate it (5 star rating system) so that your friends can read it, or even the public if you have your settings¬†programmed¬†that way.

I love GRs for tracking my reading progress, however I don’t find GR very good for cataloging my own library. This is where Library Thing shines.

Library Thing

When I first playing with Library Thing (LT) I didn’t care for it much. I didn’t like the layout and the HTML feel of the site nor did I see a way to do what Goodreads did which was updating reading progress. However, now that I have gone back and looked through what LT offers it meets different needs. Although I still don’t see a way to notate reading progress (which may be there, but I haven’t played enough to find it) but what I do see, is a way to catalog a personal library.

This may sound unexciting, but it was a problem I had been facing for a while. As I stated above I have around 300 books and no real why to keep track of them. I tried to create an Excel spreadsheet which worked OK for a while, but it was very time-consuming (especially because I had to look up the call number I wanted to use which took quite a while) and very annoying to update. But LT is quite easy, again I won’t go into all the details because it is easy enough to play and figure it out.

When you search for your book you can choose the edition and all the details, but the best part is that you can choose how and what details you want shown. You can choose to show the Title, Author, ISBN, LC Call number, reviews, etc. etc. It also links to various book sites like Worldcat.org, amazon.com, google books, and Audible.com. This doesn’t make for good social sharing but it does help a Bibliophile like myself organize what I have at home!

 

So basically, both sites are great! They help users document what they have read and interact with fellow readers.

 

The Magical World of Google

1 Nov

As many of you know, I am a huge Google fangirl (Yes I realize that I have a WordPress blog instead of blogger. That is because I prefer WordPress and I don’t like to choose something based on the name alone…).

With that being said, Google has some pretty awesome things going on. A fellow classmate of mine presented on Google Doc this past week and I thought I would share what I know, along with what I learned! I am narrowing this down to things that will help you do group work and whatnot. So I hope this is beneficial for you!

Google Drive (Formerly Google Docs)

Drive has some great features for students (really anyone who needs to do group work). For instance, if you don’t have Microsoft Word you can use Drive and create a ‘document’. It can be saved in .doc or .rtf ¬†formats (there may be others but I am not positive). You can also create presentations, spreadsheets, forms, and use a “Paint” like program. The best part of all of these things is that they are easily shared and edited by groups. Here is how:

  1. Create Document
  2. Input data
  3. Hit “File” then “Share”
  4. Then choose how you would like to share (Email, social media, etc)
  5. Change how the other users can use this document (e.g. Can they edit or just view?)
  6. Hit “Done”
  7. Now all the other users can view and edit the info!

 

Google Plus

HANGOUTS! Yes Hangouts! This feature is amazing! Oh yeah, the other stuff is good too but I am pretty sure you have tried playing with the typical G+ stuff like creating circles and posting info. I personally prefer G+ over Facebook but sadly all my friends are “used to using” Facebook and don’t want to make the switch. Which is fine because there are tons of “professionals” using it (Like Librarians and my super geeks!) so it isn’t too bad. I digress.

The hangouts are awesome for several reasons.

  1. It’s free
  2. You can live stream the info through YouTube (Google owns YouTube in case you were curious)
  3. You can use it on your phone (so for you Apple people, it is like Face Time if you have a forward facing camera on your phone)
  4. You can chat face to face with up to 9 group members

Here is an example of how Librarians are using Hangouts. American Libraries has created a Live event with 9 episodes planned over the next year on various topics ranging from “Landing your ideal library job” to “Digging into new databases”. Check it out! I looks quite promising!

But G+ isn’t just about Hangouts, it has other great features. There are too many to cover in one post so I may just slowly add them to the blog throughout the year. Maybe I will even make tutorials for you…who knows. ūüėČ

Google Calendar

I love the Calendar feature. Like all things Google they allow you to share your calendar with selected people. For instance I share a calendar with my husband so that we can both see what the other has planned for the day. This way his dental appointments or my volunteer hours don’t sneak up on each other.

It also allows you to set reminders via email or text for any event. I like to have a reminder sent via text 1 hour before any meeting I have so that even if I forgot about the meeting I can still make it no matter where I am in town. Or I set a 1 week notice for presentations I have to give and really the list can go on.

 

Do you have any Google features that you love? What are they and how do you use them? I would love to hear about it! Comment away!

Some Helpful Readings on Social Media

28 Oct

My course on Social Media is turning out to be way more informative than I originally thought it would be (not to mention I am actually learning about Research Methods in this course more so than other courses I have taken…including a¬†separate¬†course on Research Methods. But that is neither here nor there).

So I thought I would share some of the readings I have found most helpful so far:

Google Speaks: Secrets of the Worlds Greatest Billionaire Entrepreneurs, Sergey Brin and Larry Page

by Janet Lowe

I learned a lot more about Google than I thought I would ever know! ūüôā However this book did inspire me to try out some new things using Google. I am pretty sure I NEED to work at the¬†Googleplex (Preferably the Dublin, Ireland location! *Ahem* Google I can send you my CV!!!).
I tabbed a lot of the pages to come back to later and bookmarked webpages that I can use later on (like¬†www.bananaslug.com). However, because Google is so fluid in their side projects, several of the items mentioned in the book were already removed from Google Labs by the time I read the book (which was published in 2009). Otherwise, it was very interesting to see how our Gracious Overlord was born. ūüôā
It is definitely worth a read if you are in the information business. ūüôā

This Book is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All

by Marilyn Johnson

I have had this on my “to read” list for a while (if I am completely honest, it is because I love the title and the cover, CYBRARIANS! You really can’t do wrong with a Librarian with a cape and an e-reader flying off to save people…).

 

First let me say that this is a book written about Librarians by someone who is NOT a Librarian. So seeing the profession from someone¬†else’s¬†viewpoint was refreshing! I might, however be biased, as the author does love us! She also has great quotes like, “Are Librarians obsolete in the Age of Google? All I can say is, are you kidding? Librarians are more important than ever. Google and Yahoo! and Bing and WolframAlpha can help you find answers to your questions, sometimes brilliantly; but if you don’t know how to phrase those questions, no search engine can help provide answers.” (p. 20). I think that is brilliantly phrased!¬†Another favorite quote is, “And Librarians aren’t programmed to say, ‘We have no idea’ The words feel like chalk in their mouth” (p. 39).

I have learned a lot about the Alternative Librarians. And what I mean by that is, the Librarians who have created Libraries in places like Second Life, blogging Librarians, those promoting Radical Reference, those using various Social Medias, and the list can go on!

I am still reading it (I am about 70% through it) but I have learned so much about new ways Librarians are creating or using to “step out of the building” (p. 105) and creating a presence online. And let’s face it, that is where a bulk of our patrons will seek us out!

A great must read!!

The Facebook Effect

by David Kirkpatrick

This book highlights the birth and life of Facebook starting from the halls of Harvard through present (well 2010 at least). There really isn’t much to¬†say about this book. But it is worth reading if you would like to see how something as small as University’s paper facebook handouts can spark a multi million (billion?) dollar company. Check it out!

Articles

And lastly, here are links and citations for some of the articles I have read (most of which were assigned class readings) but are nevertheless very interesting and worth a quick read.

Networking through Social Media

18 Oct

In Libraries it is important to network, especially since most of us are looking for our first jobs. As most of you are aware, LinkedIn is a great resource for networking in a professional setting, but there are other sites that offer networking. Another thing to be aware of is your public image online. Here are some of the tricks I have learned and the sites that I have used.

LinkedIn

This site allows users to upload resumes as well as create personal profiles that employers can search through. That is LinkedIn at it’s very core, however the last few years have seen several additions to the site. One such addition is discussions which allows you to interact with professionals in the field on a variety of topics. I have joined several of these discussion boards and have it set up to send me emails once a week collating all of the unread posts. I have come across many interesting articles this way.

LinkedIn also added endorsements allowing you to ‘endorse’ friends, family, or coworkers. The endorsements are pre-selected, I think, and you just click on the bubble next to a contact’s name to endorse them. I know I am not explaining it very well, but go and check it out!.

Lastly, they have a newsfeed option that is very similar to Facebook. You can post status updates, comment, ¬†and ‘like’ friends’ posts. I personally don’t use this feature, but I do have this blog as well as my Twitter feed linked to it so that it posts all of my updates from these two sites to my LinkedIn wall (There is an option to link your Facebook account as well, but I like to keep that one site private, but it is an option).

Klout

I am fairly new to Klout, but I do find that I like it! It is easy to create an account just register using Facebook or Twitter. Once you have an account just update your profile with all the information you are comfortable with then link all of your social media accounts that you wish to link, sit back and wait for your score.

Your Klout score shows you how influential you are on the internet. (I am at 63! Which isn’t too shabby if I say so myself. I have some celebrity friends on here as well who are paid to be social media nerds and their scores are only about 5-10 points away from me…)¬†It tallies how frequently your Facebook posts are liked and shared, how many times your Tweets are retweeted or favorited, it basically tallies all the social media sites you subscribe to and lets you know how popular you are among your friends. It also shows your friends’ scores (assuming of course that they are on Klout as well). I am not sure exactly how this would get you a job, but there is definite networking potential here somewhere… I’ll find it eventually, probably when I have more free time!

BrandYourself

BrandYourself helps you to create your brand image online. This doesn’t sound very important until you think about how employers seek you out and how they try to find information about you. This site gives you the tools and holds your hand while you help bring your positive search results to the first page of Google and subsequently bury the negative or unrelated links.

Currently my score is a D- (this task is proving difficult as I have a very common name, and my fellow Amanda Richards’ are very visible. There is a singer, a¬†Transsexual, and a¬†smattering¬†of other individuals by the same name). I have however brought my BrandYourself page as well as my blog page to the first page of Google results which is very exciting!

When you log on you are greeted with little thought bubbles that guide you. They have made branding yourself practically effortless. They show you secrets like adding your full name to the metadata of all of your social media accounts, as well as advise you to use the same name and photo on all of your accounts for continuity. It is very easy and free to use the basic service. However if you want more options there is a pay-for option as well.

I think that is about it for now. Using these 3 tools together I have noticed my LinkedIn inquiry count jump from 1-2 views a week to 8-10. I haven’t had and job offers yet, but that is probably due to my lack of applying for positions because I have been very busy preparing and taking Comps (Which I just finished 2 days ago!!!) So now I am going to settle back, and work on the copious amounts of reading and writing I have to do for the remainder of the semester.

Let me know if you have tried these services and what you think of them. Do you have other networking or Branding sites that you use? Tell me about them in the comments!

…One Giant Leap!

16 Oct

First things first… New layout!! Woohoo! It was time for an upgrade ūüėČ

Secondly, sorry about the lack of postings, I JUST TOOK FREAKING COMPS! But I am not really able to talk about it until after they are graded (I am pretty sure that is how that works… who knows).

Anyway, I am off to pass out from exhaustion and give my poor hands a break from typing. lol JK!

Yeah I wish, I have more homework to complete ūüėČ

Web 2.0

4 Oct

I have been in Grad school for over a year now, and I keep hearing the term “Web 2.0” in regards to internet technologies. So I wanted to dig a bit deeper and figure out where the term came from and maybe even catch a glimpse of where we are going.

The concept and term Web 2.0 was coined in early 2000, supposedly between Tim O’Reilly and MediaLive International. But what is Web 2.0? In short it is a new way to visualize and use the internet. Prior to the dot com bubble burst in 2001, the internet wasn’t nearly as interactive as it is today. Things were still being figured out and people weren’t quite sure what the “World Wide Web” was capable of offering. Web 1.0 consisted of information that was only available through ‘standard’ means such as email, visiting a website, and similar activities that didn’t allow the user to alter or personalize much of anything (remember how exciting it was when AIM first allowed you to personalize your font and personal icon in the IM software?).

There were so many options becoming available during this time, that people were beginning to wonder if that was all the internet was good for, cheap tricks and mild entertainment. However, there was a shift in thinking that spawned a new era of services. The idea of a static web was replaced with the notion that web users wanted collaboration, and Web 2.0 was born. Sites such as Flickr, Napster, and Wikipedia began to surface where users were able to contribute information, and the internet we know today was shaped.

After using a collaborative internet for so long it is difficult to imagine it being any other way. We now have Facebook and Twitter; ThePirateBay and Wikipedia; and we upload an unbelievable amount of data to the internet daily (see infographic below). Which brings me to my next thought, is there a Web 3.0?

If Web 1.0 was considered a “platform” (O’Reilly, 2005), and Web 2.0 is the interactive web, then logically Web 3.0 should be … Who knows! HowStuffWorks thinks that it will be a glorified personal assistant, stating that you could type in complex statements into the browser and it will give you immediate results (Their example is you type in that you want to see a funny movie and then go out for Mexican food. The browser then sorts through all the possibilities and gives you a result that is best suited for you). Others, such as W3C, have stated that it will be a ‘semantic web’ allowing for further collaboration as well as greater amounts of data being process directly and indirectly by computers.

There isn’t really a good answer as to what Web 3.0 will bring. But it is certain that it will be exciting. So brace yourselves! The internet is about to get more interesting.

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