Category Archives: LIS Education in the 21st Century

ALISE Presentation Slides: “Beyond the Walled Garden”

walledI was honored to present at ALISE 2013 with Kyle Jones. Here’s a link to our presentation:

Session Abstract:

Beautiful Connections: Questions in Distance Education

Distance Education SIG
Convener: Nora Bird, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

The session will explore new research by three presenters on the connection opportunities that extend beyond the virtual classroom. Presenters will explore walled gardens, communities of practice, and ego- centric analysis of connectedness.

Presenters: Michael Stephens, San Jose State University; Kyle Jones, University of Wisconsin at Madison; Jennifer Branch, Joanne de Groot, and Kandise Salerno, University of Alberta; and Fatih Oguz and Nancy Poole, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Learning Everywhere: OPLN – The ‘must-have’ tool for new librarians — A TTW Guest Post by Tracy Maniapoto

Over the past few weeks I’ve been reflecting on the connections I make in a digital world.  The main purpose for the reflection was to fulfil a MIS assessment on Online Personal Learning Networks [OPLN] in Dr. Michael Stephens Fall 2012 Transformative Learning & Technology Literacies class. I think that Richardson and Mancabelli’s description of an OPLN as a unique learning environment where ‘we learn what we want or need to learn using the vast resources and people online’ is fitting (2011, p.3).  This method of informal learning complements traditional learning and helps us to function better in all aspects of our daily life: at home with family and at work.

What excited me most about creating an OPLN was that I had to figure out what information I needed and where this was going to come from.  This was a personal journey that only I could take; I set the direction and the path to follow.  I also had to think about how I would curate what I found.  Organising the information into one space or place had its benefits: ease of curation, portability and accessibility spring to mind immediately.  The end result is more than simply an assessment; it is a practical tool that I can use throughout my career as an academic librarian.

Getting started

Diving head first into the ocean of information that is ‘the internet’ works for some folk, though I needed something more structured or defined to begin with.  As my OPLN was unique to me, I asked myself two questions:

  1. What are my current information needs both professionally and with my studies?
  2. With whom, what or where do I need to connect to help me address these needs?

I used the first question to form my goals statement highlighting my main information needs for both groups as below:

Professionally, in my role as a teaching librarian at a New Zealand University, it was important for me to keep informed about:

  1. Teaching methods/styles that promote information literacy
  2. Changes affecting the NZ University and academic library environment
  3. The use of social media tools within the academic library environment
  4. Professional development opportunities for librarians/information professionals
  5. Mentors and role models within the library or information  profession environment
  6. Maori information resources and Maori world view

With my studies, and particularly in relation to my research project, it was important for me to keep informed about:

  1. Trends in digital and emerging technologies both globally and within New Zealand
  2. Trends in educational learning methods and styles

In categorising my main information needs, the scope of my resources falls broadly into the following four areas:

  • Pedagogy (21st century learning, participatory learning)
  • Technologies (mobile and emerging)
  • Relationships (social media, professional development, mentorship, NZ University and library environments)
  • Themes (information literacy, M?ori-focused resources)

Having defined my resources, the next step was to start collecting relevant information.  I needed a discovery tool and, though I hadn’t quite realised at the time, I had been using one religiously for the past few months.

My discovery tool of choice: Twitter

It still amuses me, even now, that the majority of information resources that appear on my OPLN were sourced from one tool: Twitter.  Yes, Twitter.  This would be my answer to the ‘who, what, and where’ question I raised earlier.

I had created a Twitter account in 2009 and my activity between then and mid-2012 consisted of a whopping 40-ish tweets. In hindsight, my use of Twitter and my knowledge of its capabilities were pretty, well, pitiful.  In the early stages of the LIBR 281-14 programme, each student was encouraged to create a Twitter account (if they didn’t already have one) and use it as part of the class engagement. We were encouraged to share links to relevant or interesting articles, webpages, and anything else we could find.  Within two months of starting the programme, I had tweeted more times than in the previous 3 years!  I am thankful we were encouraged to use Twitter as an information discovery tool.  It wasn’t until I began putting my OPLN together that I truly understood its value in my personal learning.

What I love most about Twitter is its ability to filter information*.  On the suggestion of a work colleague I monitored twitter feeds using first, Tweetdeck, and then secondly, Hootsuite (I actually preferred the first as the interface was more to my liking even though they look similar). Once I found people to follow, and by people I mean librarians, fellow MIS students and educators, I started to get a ‘feel’ for how information is best dispersed through this platform.  For me, Twitter is like an index to the internet and is a simple way to conduct an environmental scan on a topic of interest with, dare I say it, minimal effort on my part.  Naturally, I had to read any tweets and click through links for myself to see if the information suited my needs.  The hard part though, finding the information in the first place, was done by those I followed: brilliant individuals passionate about their interests and wanting to share them with the world.

Interestingly, since using Twitter I’ve noticed it is used in more and more places.  I used it myself as an engagement tool within my presentation slides at the LIANZA 2012 Conference.  This morning I followed live ‘tweets’ from attendees at the Ascilite2012 Conference in Wellington, New Zealand (about 190km away) using the hashtag search: #ascilite2012.  When my classmates post useful links I can find these by searching #transtech.  Just moments ago I received this tweet as I was writing:

The link took me to another Ascilite2012 attendee’s collection of notes on ‘Web 2.0 Pedagogy: Mobile Social Media’ and included a number of links to related websites and educator blogs – wow!  While it would be great to attend this conference in person, Twitter is definitely my ‘next best thing’.

Going back to the point at hand – I now have my information sources.  The next step was to find a tool for curation.

My curation tool of choice: Netvibes

I tossed around the idea of two curation tools: Symbaloo and Netvibes.

I learned about Symbaloo from a classmate’s blog and I was really impressed with the look and feel it had.  I experimented with the design online and whilst the interface looked great, I already had an idea of how I wanted my OPLN to look.  In my mind it would look similar in format to Tweetdeck but would need to encapsulate all types of information, preferably as live feeds.  As luck would have it, Netvibes was mentioned in another classmate’s blog so I gave that a try.  I haven’t looked back since.

There are many of wonderful features in Netvibes.  First of all, it’s free.  Second, it provides enough functionality (for me at least) to successfully curate the types of information sources I wanted to share: websites, blogs, twitter feeds and follows (no surprises there!), videos and links to journal and newspaper articles.

Netvibes allows you to curate your own private and public dashboards and I expect my public OPLN will continually evolve around my topics of interest at any given time.  For the new librarian or information professional, the power of connected learning through the development and curation of your own OPLN is empowering.  You won’t know what you don’t know until you come across it and an OPLN can help you find things you didn’t even realise you were interested in.

In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, I am thankful to Dr. Michael Stephens, to my LIBR 281-14 classmates, and to the many individuals who have participated in my online personal learning network.

*IMHO educators and librarians are the best at collecting, filtering and disseminating valuable information in 140 characters or less.


Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). Personal learning networks: Using the power of connections to transform education. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press

 Tracy Maniapoto is an Information Services Librarian at Massey University Library in Palmerston North, New Zealand and a distance student studying towards her MIS at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.  Tracy’s interests include mobile technologies, academic libraries and utilising Twitter to grow her PLN!  You can follow her on Twitter @libr4ry_girl


Hello, CIRI – Introducing SJSU SLIS Center for Information Research and Innovation (CIRI)

The Center for Information Research and Innovation (CIRI) at the San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science fosters research in our field, aimed at generating exemplary new practices and innovative products to benefit a global audience. We invite you to explore CIRI and learn more about our projects and our partners. If you are interested in joining us on our research journey, we’d like to hear from you.

Please check out the various pages – Current Projects for sure! –  and don’t miss our blog. Faculty will be sharing information and insights about research and teaching in LIS with the greater community. I just contributed my first post on Learning 2.0:



That Human Voice & Connection

Today, I’m enjoying reading the above post from the good folks at Darien Library. This is one of many posts that shares what everyone is reading in the Reader’s Advisors group. The human voice that comes through is pleasant and conversational. This may be something to roll into my courses – practical experience being the human voice of the library!

All About SJSU SLIS Student Research Journal

SLIS Student Research Journal is a peer-reviewed publication of San José State University School of Library and Information Science that promotes graduate scholarship and intellectual inquiry in the fields of library and information science, archives and records management, and museum studies.

For more information:  LIS Educators – please share this info with your students, including the policies for submissions, etc:

My essay “Beyond the Walled Garden: LIS Students in an Era of Participatory Culture” is in the newest issue: Here’s a brief excerpt of that article:

Contributions Matter

It makes me happy to see students, especially those who have taken my classes, lauded in the professional networks for their contributions. When an author has commented on a student’s blog post or a notable library figure “retweets” a student’s Twitter post, these actions prove that everyone can be a part of the discussion. Value is present from all who participate. The notion that only professional librarians’ opinions matter, for example, loses strength as everyone contributes. The contributions of original research by graduate students can also be part of the ongoing, scholarly conversation within our field. A strong foundation in research methods prepares students – and not just those interested in academic libraries – for performing user studies, analysis of survey data, and other inquiries. Consider, for example, the wide range of backgrounds LIS students bring to their graduate education. Many who are embarking on second careers may have insights and ideas that might benefit the greater community. Offering a mechanism for sharing and feedback, such as SRJ, gets their voices into the mix as soon as possible.

Office Hours Extra: Library Science without the Library by Jane Greenstein

Recent MLIS graduates are gravitating to different fields than their predecessors. According to theLibrary Journal survey, respondents are working at “software and Internet companies, practicing information architecture, user interface analysis and design, and software engineering…and in medical centers and pharmaceutical companies, law firms and corporations.”

But the survey also states that graduates are accepting “lower salaries and part-time hours as retail clerks, baristas, and office assistants in order to pay the bills.”

While my motives for entering library school may be anathema to many librarians, students with my background are becoming hard to ignore.

It’s safe to say that library students are beginning to branch out—by force or by choice.

But my impression is that library and information schools don’t know how to properly court prospective “information”-oriented candidates or appeal to my colleagues in the interactive field.

How can this situation be remedied? If a library school were to consult a marketing agency such as the one I work for, we’d undoubtedly recommend a media campaign to “re-position” their message and “re-brand” their image.

Many (including myself) have discovered multimedia careers by way of graphic design, copywriting, business strategy and computer programming–without formal training as “information professionals.”

Something has to change to keep library schools successfully recruiting students-and for students to remain hopeful about their future. If students think there aren’t any jobs waiting for them on the other side of their academic trek, MLIS programs face extinction.

While no one becomes a librarian for the money, no one thinks they’re going to end up without any long-term job prospects when they graduate either.

At this critical juncture in both library science and information technology, it’s incumbent on MLIS programs to not only offer classes, but also develop a solid curriculum (and encourage a non-traditional career path) for the next class of graduating librarians.

Next Spring: Teaching “The Hyperlinked Library” in WISE

I am very excited to have one of my classes offered via the WISE system for two MLIS students at other WISE participating schools:

San Jose State University
Class Name Seminar in Information Science: The Hyperlinked Library–Emerging Trends, Emerging Tech
Class Number Libr 287
Course Tool Other
Class Section 1
Faculty Dr. Michael Stephens
Credits 3 Credit Hours
Class Description Library scholars have noted the ongoing impact of technology on libraries and have called for a redesign of services to meet the evolving needs of users. Virtual communities have thrived online since the early 1980s. New media and social sites are part of the next incarnation of the World Wide Web, where digital tools allow users to create, change, and publish dynamic content of all kinds. The evolving Web and related emerging technologies are signifiers of a broader cultural shift: toward an open, collaborative and participatory society. This course examines emerging technologies within a framework of participatory, “hyperlinked” library service: a model of creating, extending, updating and evaluating libraries via a user-centered approach. Casey & Savastinuk describe the participatory service model: “It is a model for library service that encourages constant and purposeful change, inviting user participation in the creation of both the physical and the virtual services they want, supported by consistently evaluating services. It also attempts to reach new users and better serve current ones through improved customer-driven offerings.” This course will examine various theories of library service, the social use of information, the advent of social networking tools, the creation of online collaboration and communities via those tools and their adoption by libraries as well as the rise of Library 2.0 thinking, a service philosophy born out of discussions of Web 2.0 and participatory library services. Students will experience an immersive learning environment via a wide range of tools. We will discuss the definition of participatory service, explore some key trends that impact the model, and examine what this shift means for libraries and information work in the 21st Century.
View Syllabus

Office Hours Extra: “…reliable data about current library programs…”

Do not miss this post at In the Library with a Lead Pipe:

Is the United States Training Too Many Librarians or Too Few? (Part 1)

Some questions from the essay:

Should library schools admit fewer students? Is the admissions process sufficiently selective? Are library school curricula and graduation requirements too similar or too distinct? Are they providing their students with the skills they need in order to get hired and do useful work? Should there be licensing exams for librarians? What data would we need to collect in order to come up with useful answers to these questions?

Here’s another snippet – please go read the whole thing and comment…

Figuring out how many people graduate each year from an American Library Association-accredited program with a Master’s degree in a library-related field is surprisingly difficult

I thought this would be the easy part of this essay. With the help of a Presidential Task Force on Library Education, ALA’s Committee on Accreditation updated its Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies in 2008 and released a statement of Core Competencies in Librarianship in 2009; it also released a revised second edition of its Accreditation Process, Policies, and Procedures in 2011. As is demonstrated in aLibrary Journal article by Norman Oder on the Presidential Task Force on Library Educationand in the Committee on Accreditation’s own Standards Review blog, many within the information professions take the accreditation process seriously, and there can be significant debates surrounding accreditation policy.

ALA’s Office of Accreditation helps to vet applicants for the External Review Panelist pool, and also supports the accreditation process by maintaining a directory of currently accredited programs, as well as a list of all programs accredited since 1925. However, no one at ALA officially knows how many students graduate each year from the programs it accredits. When I asked for this information, I was directed to ALISE, the Association for Library and Information Science Education, which produces an annual Statistical Report.

The ALISE reports, which are compiled from questionnaires submitted annually by each accredited program, provide a great deal of data and analysis. However, I discovered a few problems when I tried to make use of ALISE data for this project:

  1. It is proprietary and accessible only to ALISE members. Though the University of North Carolina provides public access to the Statistical Reports for 1997-2004, several of ALISE’s more recent reports are inaccessible to me, despite my connections to Rutgers and Drexel. Fair use seems sufficient for me to share the data I most care about—the number of graduates from each of the accredited library programs for each of the past ten years—but there is no reason to assume most readers would be able to verify any claims I make about the data.
  2. It appears to be inaccurate. The individual number of graduates for each accredited program, when summed, does not equal the number given as the overall total for reports covering the 1999-2000 (off by 8), 2000-2001 (off by 13), 2001-2002 (off by 19), or 2002-2003 academic years (off by 9).
  3. It is incomplete. The 2007 report, covering the 2005-2006 academic year, is unedited and unreleased, while the data for the 2008 report has not yet been compiled from that year’s questionnaires. The ALISE web page for its Statistical Reports lists both as being “for future release.”
  4. It does not match the data the schools reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. Moreover, in some years it is higher and other years it is lower, so it does not seem to be differing in a predictable way (such as NCES including data from non-accredited programs).
  • 1999-2000: 4,877 (ALISE “total”) or 4,885 (ALISE sum) vs. 4,577 (NCES)
  • 2000-2001: 4,953 (ALISE “total”) or 4,940 (ALISE sum) vs. 4,727 (NCES)
  • 2001-2002: 4,923 (ALISE “total”) or 4,904 (ALISE sum) vs. 5,113 (NCES)
  • 2002-2003: 5,175 (ALISE “total”) or 5,184 (ALISE sum) vs. 5,295 (NCES)
I am looking forward to part two.

Hack Library School: Looking at SJSU SLIS!

THANKS to everyone at Hack Library School blog for permission to republish this piece by Brian McManus:

General Overview

San Jose State University’s SLIS program is the largest ALA accredited library school in the world, which I was not aware of before I began writing this post.  The SLIS curriculum is implemented and provided completely through the online format, using both synchronous (communicating in real time) and asynchronous (not communicating in real time) methods, tools, and technologies.

SLIS serves approximately 3,000 graduate students from within the state of California, the U.S., U.S. territories, and other countries.  I have had the opportunity through the program to be classmates with students from Guam and Australia. It was a unique experience I am not sure I would have gotten anywhere else.

The program delivers the curriculum through the D2L (Desire to Learn) Learning Management System (LMS).  As recently as the Spring 2011 semester the SLIS program was using ANGEL, however it has now completed its transition to D2L for its summer courses and into the future.


SJSU SLIS offers several different types of programs.  There is the MLIS, the MARA, and the San Jose Gateway Ph.D. programs.  As you have no doubt already correctly guessed, MLIS is the SLIS program’s Master’s of Library and Information Sciences degree.  The MARA program is the Master’s of Archives and Records Administration, which is for students interested in working with archives and emerging electronic records and digital asset management … yes, that is directly from the MARA Web site.  The San Jose Gateway Ph.D. Program is an external Ph.D. program due to the nature of SJSU being limited by the state legislature to only offer master’s degree level education to students.  By partnering with Queensland University of Technology in Australia, SJSU is able to offer a doctoral degree in library sciences to a small group.

In 2009, the SJSU SLIS program was ranked 22 by U.S. News and World Report.

 Courses and Pathways

The program requires each student to complete four core courses which act as prerequisites to many of the succeeding courses in the program.  The first is an introductory technology course that needs to be completed within the first two semesters called Online Social Networking: Technology Tools, It’s a one credit course and acts as an excellent introduction to using the different technologies and software each student will need to know to successfully complete their program.  This course has a shortened time frame to complete and is not taken for an entire semester. Some students complete this course during the summer or winter intersessions.  The other four core courses are Information and Society, Information Retrieval, and Information Organizations and Management.  A complete description of each of these courses can be found on the course description web page.

The School of Information Sciences offers a multitude of career pathways to choose from: Academic Librarianship; Digital Services and Emerging Technologies; Information Intermediation and Instruction; Information Organization, Description, Analysis, and Retrieval; Leadership and Management; Management, Digitization, and Preservation of Cultural Heritage and Records; Public Librarianship; Special Librarianship; Teacher Librarianship; Web Programming and information Architecture; and Youth Librarianship.

The course work is not easy and can be challenging at times, even if a student is attending part-time.  As mentioned above, courses are delivered via the D2L LMS.  Knowing and understanding how to effectively communicate with your classmates and professors using the LMS is extremely important.  Most of the courses I have taken have followed a similar format, with the exception of a couple seminar courses that were either more or less structured. For instance, the advanced reference course where I was an embedded librarian for a distance graduate course at the University Central Missouri.  This course was loosely structured so that my teammates and I could develop library literacy and other helpful content requested by the instructor.

Discussion boards for readings, assignments, and projects are extremely helpful.  With only a couple of exceptions, all  of my professors have been active in the conversations and discussions, which adds a considerable amount of learning and perspective to the learning environment.

Lastly, courses are added and dropped using the SLIS’s MySJSU.  Once admitted to the program, each student has an account they can login to that helps them manage their student account, including classes and finances.  Many administrative emails from SJSU are communicated via this system. It is helpful to set up your email notifications to your personal email so that you do not miss these messages.

Financial Aid/Scholarships/Assistantships

The financial aid services provided by SJSU are mainly the same as those provided by other large state universities.  There is not necessarily a great deal of red tape involved with receiving financial aid once you are admitted and once you register for classes.  The key to this and many other graduate programs is to maintain a good academic standing within your coursework and to meet the minimum requirements for course load.  SJSU’s SLIS program requires its students to maintain a 3.0 overall GPA while in the program and to be at least half-time, which translates to taking 4 credit hours per semester.  Since all but one of the classes are 3 credits, students who wish to receive financial aid must take 6 credit hours per semester.

There are multiple scholarships available for students in the SLIS program that can help with the costs of attending SJSU.  The SLIS program maintains their own list and SJSU has a more general list.

Per credit cost of the SLIS program for distance students (special session) can be found here.

Per credit cost of the SLIS program for CA students (regular session) can be found here.

Student assistantships ($/hour) are also available through the program. The type of work ranges greatly from writing and researching in specific areas of study to working as a student peer trainer.  These are wonderful opportunities for some hands on experience while getting paid and supplementing a student’s income or lessening their cost of attendance.  Since this is the largest SLIS program in the country, there are many opportunities for assistantships.


Being affiliated with and a part of the SLIS program provides for some benefits. One of these are the internship resources.  As part of the graduate experience, students are encouraged to locate and complete an internship if they do not have library experience already.  SJSU’s SLIS program has an internship database that lists internships in the United States and abroad.  Students may gain credit towards their degree by enrolling in an internship designated class, LIBR 294, as well.


There are opportunities for student involvement within the SJSU SLIS program.  There is the ALASC, American Library Association Student Chapter, which organizes social events near the SJSU campus and promotes professional development among other events.  There is also a student administeredprofessional development society called ASIS&T (American Society of Information Science & Technology).  In addition to these, every student admitted to the SLIS program is automatically a member to the LISSTEN (Library & Information Science Students to Encourage Networking) group, which is another group to promote and encourage professional development and networking within the program.  Also, the LISSTEN group has a blog called the Call Number, which invites students to make contributions.  Another blog and opportunity for students to publish their work or perspective and edited by fellow students called the SLIS Descriptor.  There are many opportunities for students to be involved, network, and post their perspectives.

Why Prospective Students Should Consider SJSU’s SLIS Program

The SLIS program at SJSU is robust, flexible, and geared towards the student’s overall success.  The program’s course offerings are immense and from what I’ve seen students never have trouble registering for the core classes. The administration will add courses as needed and work with students to get them into the classes they need (I’m sure there are those that will disagree and have a negative story, but I have never had a problem.  Just make sure you register on the first day of registration and follow all the steps. This seems to hang-up a significant number of people.)

The program is geared towards both students who want and can go full-time and those that need to work full-time and attend courses part-time.  Also, student advisors are embedded into the LMS (Learning Management Software) so that you have access to them just like you would for your other courses.  This makes it extremely easy to email your advisor and post questions that other students may also know the answers to via discussion posts/rooms.

There are many great opportunities for SLIS students become involved in their profession and at varying levels.  Students have their choice of assistantships, networking within the student organizations, and publishing their class projects or sharing their unique perspective on multiple blogs.  These and others are opportunities for professional development and exposure to aspects of librarianship and the information sciences profession that can only enrich and further each student’s career.

Finally, SJSU’s SLIS program hosts lecture series, colloquia, and other professional development series throughout each semester via web casts and other streaming technologies.

Weakness/Room to Grow On

From my perspective, there are not many areas of the program that I can identify as having a weakness.  I think all programs could use more faculty and increase their course offerings, however I have never thought to myself, “Why doesn’t SLIS offer class XYZ.”  Perhaps some of my fellow SJSU SLISers can chime in and share their thoughts on our program.

Hacking SJSU’s SLIS Program

Stay organized: Make sure all your accounts with the program are sending notifications or forwarding content to one central location so you do not have to check multiple emails and accounts to stay in the loop.  Also, sign-in to the D2L LMS every day and keep up with all your class discussion posts.

Take an active role in one or more of the student associations and groups within the program.  You can never start networking or getting involved too soon.

If you are not already gaining actual library experience, take advantage of the SLIS internship database and resources.

Check the SLIS homepage for updates on upcoming colloquia series, conference SLIS will have a booth at, and program sponsored webinars and professional development opportunities.