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

Lessons from LIS 488 – Technology for Information Professionals

I recently started updating my final project for LIS 488, commonly referred to as “Info Tech” here at SLIS, and got to thinking about how funny it is that my favorite class at Simmons has been the one that I was most afraid of!

Out of the three required foundational classes in the SLIS curriculum, LIS 488-Technology for Information Professionals tends to be the class that most SLIS students are afraid of. On the surface SLIS is a community of wonderfully nerdy people, each of us with our own niche interests and skills that bring unique perspectives to every class we take, but not all of us are confident with a computer or have encountered these technologies before. Comfort with technology is also increasingly becoming a job requirement for librarians and information professionals, so it can feel like a big hurdle to jump over that arrives early in your time at SLIS.

As someone coming into SLIS with a masters’ degree in ethnomusicology, my work has
never involved writing code. I’ve conducted my own fieldwork projects, interviewed artists and
music fans about anything and everything, and have taught as a teaching/graduate assistant
since I was an undergraduate, but the Info Tech curriculum felt way out of my comfort zone. I
forced myself to step outside of that comfort zone and power through LIS-488 last fall, and with
the guidance of an excellent professor and teaching assistant (as well as the support of my
equally confused peers!) I had a surprising amount of fun. I learned the foundational skills for
writing HTML, CSS, Python, and a little bit of JavaScript, constructed my own website through
HTML and CSS, and even physically took apart a computer and put it back together again. I
know these skills are going to come in handy, and LIS-488 has already both diversified my
interests and set me up for success in future positions. I’ve spent the past few weeks brushing
up on my HTML and CSS in order to develop my final website project into a living portfolio of my graduate work for prospective employers, and look forward to maintaining that over time to retain my newfound expertise!