I have always loved books and libraries. As a child, I could hardly wait for the bookmobile to arrive in my neighborhood every other week. After lengthy careers in government and business, two years ago I decided to pursue my passion for books by embarking upon a career as a librarian. After I closed my business during the nation’s economic collapse, I took a job as a library assistant at an academic library in Richmond, VA. However, after conducting some extensive research, I discovered libraries have changed dramatically since I was a child enthralled with the bookmobile. Libraries are now information centers that have print books and vast holdings of non-print resources as well. So, I envisioned the following goals through obtaining a Masters of Science degree in Information Sciences:
- Acquire the high-tech information science knowledge and competences needed in all information environments.
- Enhance my competences using various information technology platforms.
- Gain a thorough understanding about the theories, concepts, and practices of the information profession.
- Develop and enhance my ability to apply information science to the concepts of public policy and strategic planning.
With my goals set, I began to see other career opportunities that an advanced degree in information sciences might present to me. The SIS Program at Tennessee offered several required courses in the necessary competences needed for librarianship: information access and retrieval, information organization and representation, and information environment. However, I realized that I had to take courses that aligned with my career goals. Thus, I decided what courses I needed to take prior to enrolling in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s School of Information Sciences (SIS) Program.
Outcomes and Achievements
To achieve these goals I structured my curriculum in the SIS Program by taking courses in geographic information technologies (GIS), information architecture, special information environments, and digital scholarship. For instance, the course I took in GIS helped me develop competences in the use of geospatial applications such as ArcGIS. The course gave me a solid understanding of how GIS is changing the way libraries and other information environments operate; it explored the creation, distribution, growth, and use and misuse of geospatial data.
The course in information architecture refined my competences in this complex discipline that includes “1. The structural design of shared information environments; 2. The synthesis of organization, labeling, search, and navigation systems within digital, physical and cross-channel ecosystems; 3. The art and science of shaping information products and experiences to support usability, findability, and understanding; and 4. An emerging discipline and community of practice focused on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape” (Rosenfeld, Morville, and Arango, 2015, p. 24).
Moreover, the courses I took in digital scholarship and special information environments helped me enhance my competence to apply the digital multi-media applications in information environments that are different from the milieu of the traditional library. This digital scholarship course introduced me to the wide-ranging forms of new and emerging digital scholarship applications that I now use in my professional practice. The course in special information environments enhanced my skills as an information professional by illuminating my understanding of how information science principles apply to knowledge management and strategic planning. Through these courses, and the knowledge and competences gained from them, I acquired a position as an analyst with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in Washington, D.C. All I have learned in the SIS Program I now use in the day-to-day requirements of overseeing and managing complex projects that are critical to the nation’s transportation infrastructure.
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Rosenfeld, L., Morville, P., & Arango, J. (2015). Information Architecture: For the Web and Beyond, fourth edition. (A. Rufino, Ed.) Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media, Inc.