As the end of the fall semester, my first term of library school, approaches, it’s time for some reflections on the beginning of this program, and on this course specifically.
I feel as though this course has been a useful introduction primarily to the methods, materials, and some introductory theories of this specific discipline. As someone whose undergraduate training was in anthropology, is interesting to see the overlap with the methods of cultural anthropology and ethnography. However, the research methods are also way more qualitative than I’m used to. (My undergraduate specialization and my graduate thesis for my M.S. degree were in archaeology, not cultural anthropology, and I utilized a lot of statistical tests.)
I think that regardless of what information communities I wind up working with (my fellow archaeologists and anthropologists at my current position, possibly undergraduates, graduate students, and university faculty at some point in the future), this course gave me a toolkit for doing some quick-and-dirty research regarding the information needs and behavior of these communities, and thinking about ways to apply this information to the materials and services provided to these communities.
Most institutions will obviously serve more than one information community, and information communities will intersect with each other in a variety of ways. I feel that one shortfall of grouping individuals into “information communities” is that individuals’ behavior may be informed by their membership in these multiple, intersecting communities. Are they behaving as American Indians? GLBTIQQ individuals? Undergraduate students? As some intersection of these? Is it dependent on the situation? Probably both of the latter.
As far as this semester generally goes, I feel as though I’ve learned several things which will help me both in the organization of information and in aiding my colleagues in acquiring that information, in my sort of unofficial position as reference librarian, as well as provide foundations as I move throughout the program.
All in all, it’s been a good semester, and I’m happy to have survived mostly intact!