The San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science: A Retrospective
Looking back on my time at SLIS the first things that comes to mind are two things: the speed at which I finished the program and the tools and technologies that I now know how to use.
When I entered the SLIS program I had not involved myself with a library for some years. This circumstance is dissimilar to the majority of SLIS students, the majority of which are working professionals in a field related to library science and enter the program to advance their careers. Fresh out of undergraduate studies and only 22 years of age when I entered the SLIS program, I was a unique fixture, and seem to have finished the program at a lightning tempo when compared to my peers. That being said, I entered SLIS with only a theoretical understanding of the library and an indifference to the general collection library. Now on my exit from SLIS, I have a new world of information that I have mastered and now seem to be the odd one out amongst my friends and family, who themselves are now as I once was. Little do they realize, as I once was similarly naive, that the library is a central institution in our information world, although the old forms and stereotypes are all but moribund. While I master the library science field now, it is still a new horizon for me, unlike my other academic qualifications, which I had been interested in since my greener years. That being said, I always enjoyed my trips to the library while younger, and although not particularly interested in the idea of becoming a librarian, was always drawn to the collections and the idea of archives. Two years from my state of ignorance and I will soon have my MLIS. I believe the SLIS program has prepared me well, although its a great deal of information to process in so short a time. In this sense the e-portfolio process has been a crystallizing and effective culminating experience: it has allowed me to place my understanding on display, which has served as an aid to ordering my own understanding of the domain.
I also recall fondly all the technologies, specific methodology and knowledge which I gained from SLIS. Before SLIS I had only done a nominal amount of work with Google Docs, Skype and other collaborative systems. Post-SLIS I feel extremely comfortable using a variety of collaborative software and processes in conjunction with library work. I know all the jargon I was once dazzle eyed over. I know how to create metadata for digital records and to handle rare materials. I know how to read medieval manuscripts and preserve our most important cultural heritage relics. I know how to catalog and build collections, and to write grants and strategy. I know a lot of specific stuff I had no idea about before I started studying at SLIS. I believe there is a great deal more to learn, I do not believe SLIS was complete in coverage, but this is not a fault of the school but of the profession: library degrees only cover two years of study and there is only so much one might absorb in that limited time. Regardless of this fact I am eager to establish a career with modesty and fill in the gaps of knowledge as I walk. And I know some of my favorite professor’s words will continue to stick out in my mind as I move forward, guiding me along.
As I move forward I am also aware of my strengths. While I find in the field many who complain that something is not possible due to the red tape, I have an open contempt for that sort of backward thinking. I have a passion and drive to push through projects for the sake of information which is rare in this climate of economic woes and political disillusionment. While many throw up their hands and say “it can’t be done” – I make things happen because I take advantage of open source resources, Web 2.0 technology, decentralization and user collaboration; I recognize the pillars I invoke through my philosophy. As a polymath I do not have to depend on the often “just good enough” skills of support personnel (IT people come to mind) to see my endeavors actualized. Anything is possible, and we don’t have to pay “experts” to aid us, we just need to educate ourselves and work cooperatively. The Internet teaches us that if community resources are properly marshaled, incredible projects can be accomplished with volunteers and donations (See: Wikipedia). Another strength of mine is my character. I feel confident in my ability to make the right choice, make tough calls, handle crisis and maintain my integrity. My natural ability to lead others by example and my unwillingness to sell principles short for my own self-enrichment have always been a comfort to rely upon in the wilderness. Lastly I thank the universe for my intelligence, which has always keenly steered me safe away from the shoals and gifted me the propensity to see arguments and issues laid bare.
My professional growth plan involves a quest to locate a career in archives and special collections. I hope to work overseas in Europe or perhaps the United Arab Emirates, the former land of which I am considering emigrating to. I have recently prepared a passport and begun the quest. I am sure fate will land me where I should be, as she always does, and I shall approach the labor modestly and humbly like an Ishmael. I would love to work in an archive relating to classical studies, history or national heritage, and would happily work for a meager wage. I also am interested, although less passionately, in collection development and general research. I have no pretensions of greatness, or of wealth, or of entering the corporate world to ruthlessly pursue a career. I would just like to find a stable job in academia and contribute regularly to the well being of society and the advancement of information. Wherever I end up is well with me.
All introductory, reflective, and evidentiary work submitted is mine alone (except where indicated as a group or team project), and has been prepared solely by me.
I have respected the privacy of others by removing mention in this e-Portfolio of information that could lead to the disclosure of the identity of students or employers, and I have made good effort to obtain permission from all group members for group projects submitted as evidence.
I am protecting the privacy of the contents of my e-Portfolio by password protecting it or by sharing the URL only with my e-portfolio advisor.
- Chris Krause