Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Tongue-Twisting Terminology

When I tell people that I’m in school to become a librarian, they are immediately curious and ask what my classes are like.  I usually give the same response: “Classes are awesome!  But there’s a lot of…terminology.”  I know ellipses are overused nowadays, but I can’t think of another way to represent the long, slightly awkward pause in which I scrunch up my face, look off into space and try to find the best way to describe my classes. 

It’s difficult because my classes are very broad.  Both LIS 415: Information Organization, and LIS 488: Technology for Information Professionals are required classes, and they are meant to introduce students to concepts and standards that will be used later on in our classes and careers.  They’re not meant to make us experts in any one area, but to be a starting point on our journey.  So, we go through a lot of topics in a relatively short period of time. 

There are different types of information in each class.  For Info Organization, it’s all about the acronyms.  Everything from cataloging methods, standardizing organizations and processes has its own abbreviation.  For example, we recently had to read chapter 7 of our textbook.  The chapter was on resource description, and the glossary at the end of the chapter included thirty-seven different acronyms, including AACR2, CDWA, DCMES, DCMI, ISAD(G), LC-PCC PS, RDF, VRA, and XML.  

For Tech for Info Professionals, there’s a lot of coding, which we’ve used so far to create simple HTML pages.  The coding itself is not the problem, it’s the fact that you have to code every single thing, and there are so many variables.  To center a paragraph, you have to define the margins, padding, and borders.  Each of these can include top, right, center, and left properties, as well as codes to fix their positions.  There’s also text size, text font, text color, background color, background image, image alignment, etc.  It goes on and on.   

I’ll be honest.  It’s overwhelming, and sometimes I wish I had a second brain to process all the information.  I don’t always fully absorb one week’s topic before the next week starts, and it’s frustrating.  Thankfully, our assignments are practical and hands on, and we get to use these concepts instead of simply reading about them.  That helps a lot.  And in spite of this seemingly endless glut of information, I really do love my classes.  I’m learning a lot, and I know that I will go over these topics more thoroughly in the future.  I’m confident that by the time I graduate, I’ll be able to rattle off acronyms and programming codes with the best of them.  Until then, I need to take it one term at a time.