E-Portfolio: Drawing Connections
I see so many connections across what I gained here in the iSchool, and they all center around Competency I, what I see as my most important competency in relation to my career pathway of Information Intermediation and Instruction. “Connecting people with information is at the heart of information professionals’ work” (Simmons, 2105, p. 130), something that I have worked for in my undergraduate years even before I realized LIS was an academic discipline and a profession. This desire to meet people’s information needs, particularly their academic research needs, is something that I gained as I discovered my own love for research, as seen in my work described in Competency L. The process of discovery and connecting concepts together is something that I hope to keep doing as a lifelong career, and in the process, I want to be able to help others to do the same in their own research processes, as I discussed in Competencies E and J. In the process, I saw how information professionals engaged in different work under the LIS umbrella, as I experienced in discussing Competencies F and K, even viewing my own prior work experiences using an LIS lens, as described in Competencies C and G. I came up with numerous proposals and presentations that delved into the managerial aspects of information organizations, marketing services using emerging technologies and discussing assessment strategies, which I discussed in Competencies D, H, and N. I was involved in very memorable experiences in collaborating in group projects and working as a content editor for SRJ, as I described in Competencies B and M. Yet all of this is only possible with “fast, fair, and open” Internet access, as I argued in Competency A, which also has ramifications on how such issues play on a global scale, as I illustrated in Competency O. From their definitions, discussion of evidentiary items, and further discussion in the future directions that I could take based what I gained through these competencies, all of my experiences relating to these competencies are connected by concepts of information literacy, intermediation, and instruction.
Coursework Pivotal Moments
Many of my favorite moments across my courses involved some form of integration of psychology from my undergraduate experiences into my work. I discussed the information community of psychology faculty at liberal arts colleges and universities and their information seeking behaviors in INFO 200, using Ellis’s information seeking behavior model and Garvey’s scientific communication model as the backbone to my discussions. INFO 254 was my core theoretical course which influenced how I approached the rest of my courses, as I discussed information literacy in theory and in practice. In the spirit of merging perspectives across disciplines, I came up with this model for myself that balances Kuhlthau’s (2017) information seeking model, describing the emotional component of the search process, with Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey narrative pattern (“Hero’s Journey,” n.d.), all in this side-by-side chart.
These comparisons remind me of the nature of adventure that can come with the research process, as well as the motivation required at all steps in the process to keep moving forward with one’s ideas; this will be something that can help direct my work and motivation in being where users are in their search processes and helping them resolve their information needs so they can do so on their own. In regards to technological applications, INFO 246 gave me a means to discuss the impact of social media on information, especially social media from a psychological perspective in terms of well-being and actionable marketing strategies for library programming. INFO 240 and INFO 287 gave me opportunities to learn how to code and use that in effective presentation and implementation in developing instructional content. INFO 204 was the class I underestimated the most out of the courses that I have taken; I honestly did not expect to gain much from it, but it surprised me as a formative experience, especially in terms of leadership experience and thinking ahead to the future in how I could market my newfound knowledge as transferable skills across contexts. My time with SRJ and INFO 250 provided me the template and motivation to build, propose and implement a webinar for SRJ talking about best practices in developing one’s academic writing voice. From my time as a SRJ content editor, I developed my writing skills and critical thinking about how to write strong literature reviews, which validated my works that I helped co-author and published in open access journals. And through it all, from the screencasts, proposals, videos, games, and other deliverables I generated, the focus on information literacy remained the same. “The essence of science is communication” (Garvey, 1979), and I see that communication happening alongside the emergence of a future of education and information literacy instruction that harnesses technology and the Internet, through screencasts and other online, digital learning objects.
Exploration of LIS Options: Embedded Librarianship
In many of my discussions about future directions based on what I gained from working towards each competency, I discuss being able to see myself as a social sciences library liaison engaging in information literacy instruction if my psychology PhD aspirations do not follow through. Taking the liaison position further, I can see my potential in engaging in embedded librarianship (EL) by embedding in a psychology department (though I am open to working with any discipline), positioned to provide ongoing support to students and faculty where they are in their courses. I explored these ideas through my semester-long INFO 220 WordPress blog, imagining how I can use my research experience and my desire to help in their research needs by leveraging various information communication technologies (ICTs) that can help facilitate information seeking and learning. I imagine being able to interact with various psychology faculty members and students, addressing their information retrieval needs, and collaborating with them on aspects of their various research projects. I would be a point person that assists in literature searches and offers information organization strategies, while pursuing my own research questions at the same time. I would be essentially part of the psychological researcher community that I am serving, acting as both a researcher and information professional. Another variation of this dream would be doing all this level of embedment and interaction online, as an information professional embedded into a course and as a course instructor. EL speaks to me and my research aspirations. Though I came to this program with little library experience, I pushed through because of my desire for conducting research and building up my research skillset. EL can also arguably meld well with open access initiatives, as a librarian can work with a faculty member to manage institutional repositories and educate publishing faculty to opt for green open access at a minimum.
Exploration of Research Questions
The initial reason why I entered the MLIS program was to gain another perspective to add to my interdisciplinary angles in my potential future research. I believe that it is not enough to want something; wanting something does not mean that one gets it. I know I am taking a super unconventional approach to my research goals, aiming for breadth and cross-disciplinary diversity instead of sticking with one path. What drew me to LIS was the research process itself and the desire to diversify my perspective of research skills beyond what I was taught in psychology, and my inclination to teach and help others regarding best research practices. I had to work beyond what I knew to gain a new academic perspective, and I did just that through this program, gaining so much more in the process with new research interests that built upon my previous ones. In relation to theology and religious studies, I have research questions such as “how do you define “sacred” to someone who has no religious background?” And what are the information seeking paradigms that can go into that, as described in LIS? In relation to psychology, I have been playing around with the idea of libraries as a “positive institution,” using the framework of positive psychology defined as “the scientific study of what goes right in life,” and in particular positive experiences, positive traits, and positive institutions (Peterson, 2006). There are arguably less studies on positive institutions compared to the growing body of work on positive traits and positive experiences for individuals and groups. Yet the framework for positive psychology promotes the discussion of positive institutions being positive forces with purpose, as enabling institutions that bring the best from the work on positive traits and experiences in encouraging the psychological good life (Peterson, 2006). How then, with their various services and outreach, are libraries enabling institutions? I see that if positive psychology can discuss the aspects of purpose, safety, fairness, humanity, and dignity of a positive institution for families, schools, workplaces, and societies, then I would argue libraries would fit in the mix, in between workplaces and societies (how I would operationalize this and investigate this, I am still unsure, but I do feel that it is a worthy, abstract concept to try and operationalize). In relation to LIS, I have interests in open access and information literacy. In particular, if I had the opportunity to build upon the work from the Webology article I co-authored for INFO 285, I would like to investigate how OA publishing plays a role in either conforming to or speeding up the lengthy publishing and peer review process, and what its results and consequences are, especially now that many journals are moving towards an online/electronic format and OA journals typically begin and/or stay online. I would like to interview OA journal and subscription journal administrators, asking semi-structured questions relating to respondents’ knowledge of OA and their perceptions of the current state of the scientific journal publishing process. I would also compare their responses to those from authors who have recently published articles (or have articles published online first before print) and publishers both from traditional publishing systems and OA journals. In short, I have a wide variety of interests and ways to potentially explore them, due largely in part with my growing LIS perspective mapped onto my prior experiences. [For more, see About Me.]
Final Thoughts: Lifelong Learning
This is Emmanuel Edward Te. I am aspiring information professional. Thank you for taking this journey with me. Best wishes to you, dear reader, and to your future endeavors.