November 01, 2005

ANNOUNCE: Who are "the Blog People?" A Survey of Librarians and their Motivations for Blogging

Finally - after months of reading, pondering, creating the actual survey in Zope, passing the Institutional Review Board application process, some anxious e-mails to my advisor Dr. Brian O'Connor at UNT and some wide-eyed and awake nights thinking, here is my preliminary research project survey! Please, if you are an MLS, in library school, or working at a library and blogging, take the survey!

I know there have been other surveys and investigations of the Biblioblogosphere but please consider contributing to this one as well. It will lay the foundation for my further research -- and -- gasp! -- dissertation!

I'll have the survey up for two weeks. Thanks!

Hello LIS Bloggers! Please contribute to this survey!

The purpose of this research study is to help better understand the motivations of librarians who write independent Weblogs about libraries, technology or their experiences in libraries. It seeks to identify who, exactly, are the "blog people" of librarianship. There will be some questions about frequency of posts as well as questions about tools for information gathering and collaboration.

You are being asked to complete a survey that will take about 30 minutes. Completion of the survey involves no foreseeable risks. Participation is voluntary and you may stop at any time. You give consent by completing the survey. No individual responses will be reported. Data will be aggregated, or automatically combined by computer.

If you have any questions regarding this study, please contact:
Michael Stephens
University of North Texas, School of Library and Information Science
Faculty advisor, Brian O'Connor

If you are a librarian or library worker who writes a Weblog about libraries or any topics related to libraries, please contribute your answers!

Thank you!



Thanks to the folks at UNT SLIS and IMLS!

Posted by Michael at 08:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 20, 2005

Update: My Students are BLOGGING!

I know I've mentioned that I'm teaching at Dominican University SLIS this fall. One thing I really wanted to do with this group was introduce them to the Biblioblogosphere as readers and bloggers! From this came an assignment: they all got Blogger blogs the first weekend of class. Their task: 5 blog posts about libraries, technology and the Web! Natalie agreed to let me post a link to her site as a sample..and note her links to many other members of the class. these folks are doing well!

Update: Rick made a great comment and I wanted to put it up above. Here goes:

"Michael, this is a really great idea. I think veteran librarians could learn something from following these posts. They may think the new librarians in training know the web stuff, but following these new blogs they can see they don't. Maybe some reluctant older librarians could then connect with the students and learn with them without feeling so out of it. Rick"

Great point. What I get from this is maybe part of an early library school class should be spent exploring the Biblioblogosphere and LIS wikis. Thanks Rick!

Posted by Michael at 03:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 04, 2005

UNT Cohort Colleague publishes at FirstMonday

Congrats to my cohort colleague Mary Jo Venetis! She and dr. Maurice whheler have published "Evaluation of Web access to historical sheet music collections and music–related iconography" online!

Posted by Michael at 02:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 24, 2005

Teaching - Weekend One


I'm at Dominican University this weekend for the first sessions of my class. We meet from 9am-5pm today and tomorrow. I'm nervous, excited and tickled at how stressfree the morning has been so far: up at 4am, on road at Chicago by 7:45am... in the classroom..the technology works...the students are arriving... here we go...

Posted by Michael at 09:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 30, 2005

UNT: Last Two Semesters of Coursework

Some folk may be wondering where I'm at with school. One reason, beyond stealing some unplugged moments, that there have not been many TTW posts in August is that I was busy completeing the summer semester and continuing work on my preliminary research.

With the completion of the Summer Session I have 4 semesters under my belt! These last two semesters of coursework will involve individual study, preparation of a poster hopefully selected for the 2006 ALISE meeting, and the launch of a web survey I've been working on looking at - gasp - librarians who blog!

(What? Another survey, you say? Yes...please watch for it this fall if you are a librarian or library worker who blogs! I have to have it all approved by the Institutional Review Board at UNT)

I am also happy to report I will be teaching at Dominican University GSLIS this fall!! Here's the course description:


An introduction to the fundamentals of the Internet, including its origins, evolution, architecture, current issues, and future. Students will gain a basic understanding about Web content languages, Web site management, and design/usability principles. Students will also be introduced to the fundamentals of telecommunications and networking with examples drawn from the Internet. Critical Internet issues such as search engine limitations, security, privacy, copyright, governance, and other related topics will also be discussed. Prerequisites or co-requisites: 701 and 703.

My class will be taught over three weekends this fall and I am really looking forward to it. I will blog some of theexperience as well. The folks at Dominican have been absolutley incredible helping me get started.

Stay tuned for more...

Posted by Michael at 02:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 21, 2005

One More Reading List: Scholarly Works

Scholarly Summer Reading

Posted by Michael at 09:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 19, 2005

One Year into PhD Coursework


(Click for Notes!)

Posted by Michael at 10:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 16, 2005

Back in Texas

Hi all! No posts for awhile because I've been running workshops in Connecticut and now I'm heading to Denton for a weekend class, a wiki demo and some elbow rubbing with the new cohort!

Posted by Michael at 08:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 23, 2005

A UNT Cohort Member in the News!

Margaret Lincoln, who I know as Gigi, is doing incredible stuff with Holocaust education. I'm glad to be in the cohort with her!

Posted by Michael at 09:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 24, 2005

The 2nd Cohort Begins this Summer

Summer 2005 IMLS Distance Ph.D. Program in Library Science:

School Library Division:
Douglas Achterman
Gayle Bogel
Vivian Cisneros
Richard Hasenyager
Wendy Stephens

Public Library Division:
Shannon Bomar
Sara Jones
Brian Kenney
Jeanne Puacz
David Scott

Congrats to all!!

Posted by Michael at 03:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 23, 2005



Posted by Michael at 01:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 21, 2005

UNT Program wins Poster Session at ALISE

Take a look:

Here's Mike Pullin and Dr O'Connor with their most cool poster:

Posted by Michael at 09:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 08, 2005

This will help!

Posted by Michael at 05:02 PM

Discussing the Dissertation Process

Chapter one is the introduction
Chapter two is the literature review
Chapter three is the methodology
Chapter Four is data collected and data analysis
Chapter five is the conclusion and recommendations for further research.


Posted by Michael at 12:46 PM

Coding in Texas

I made it to Texas about three hours late for the start of class but all is well.

This semester's BIG class is SLIS 6910 with Dr. Sam Hastings and Shannon Peevey.

The topic: Open Source Digital Library Tools!

We started with some lecture, software installation and basic command line practice. I am using my Mac for this class -- running OS 10.3.7 -- and guess what : I have all the tools built in to my system. I open the terminal mode and it is there! I was tickled.

This semester we will code in Python, discuss issues in Open Source software and write a paper about an open source topic.

It's good to be back with the group! More later.

Posted by Michael at 11:40 AM

January 06, 2005

Winter Storm... Texas Travels


Officials at Chicago O'Hare have already canceled 300 flights for Thursday, which comes on top of the more than 900 canceled there Wednesday. As one of the nation's busiest connecting hubs, that spelled problems for travelers Thursday.

Yes... that includes me. I just rescheduled to a flight at 6am tomorrow because United had nothing to DFW today or tonight. I am SUPPOSED to be all bright and shiny in the classroom at 9am. Instead, I should be landing in Dallas at 9am and hightailing it to Denton ASAP.

I haven't heard from anyone else in the cohort that was flying to know where they are and if they are delayed as well.

Posted by Michael at 09:11 AM

January 05, 2005

New Semester Begins

We are under seige by a storm here in Indiana... but tomorrow I am to fly out at 6am for Dallas a the start of a new semester. More from Texas!

Posted by Michael at 03:18 PM

December 04, 2004

Types of Studies (A mini-lecture by Dr. Schamber)

Types of Studies

Less than a full blown study:

Pilot Study: Navigation, procedural type of study. Could be running through a new instrument with a few people to see if it works and what kind of data you get. "Quick and Dirty" data analysis. Should not be published.

Preliminary Study: Related to pilot, a first step to a large study. "To see what's out there." People do publish these.

Exploratory Study: Related to pilot, a first step to a large study. "To see what's out there." People do publish these.

Research methods

Descriptive: Oriented toward the research methods than the data. What and how much are questions you ask.

Quasi-Experimental: Not quite truly experimental (controlled) Stuff with people.

Pre-test/Post test: a method of research: give them the test before the material and then after the material to see if they learned anything.

Baseline: when we don't know what the situation is and we need to start a line of research in the area to find out what the situation is: baseline data.

Basic: aka theoretical, scholarly, academic. Designed so that the results will be generalizable to a larger population.

Applied: aka practical, professional. In a narrower context: a problem is perceived and data is collected via a study. Results stay within the institution.

Posted by Michael at 12:40 PM

Blogs as Virtual Communities

I presented my research proposal. This is the PPT I used. It has flaws but take a look... I learned a lot from this and realize I have a lot to do to get a study going.

Posted by Michael at 12:27 PM

December 01, 2004

Goin' to Texas!

I'm off to Denton tomorrow for our last weekend of class for the year! I'll write from there. I'm presenting my paper about Blogs and virtual communities to the class Friday morning.

Posted by Michael at 09:13 AM

November 24, 2004

Holiday Break (to write a paper!)

TTW posts will be on hiatus (unless I jot down a quick one in a moment of inspiration) while I finish my research proposal due Sunday night. My topic? The Blogosphere as virtual community. I'll be back next weekk -- but guess what - I head to Texas on Thursday for class... the last of the semester!

It's snowing hard here in northern Indiana. I'm glad to be home a few days to write and be with the boys.

Posted by Michael at 06:20 PM

November 16, 2004

UNT to offer 5 more slots for Public Librarians to get a PhD in 2005!!

University of North Texas School of Library and Information Sciences has just been informed that we have received additional funds for a grant to help prepare faculty to teach public librarians. If you or anyone you know is
interested in this opportunity, please read the attached letter. This
Distance-Independent Ph.D. Program provides two years paid tuition, with
travel assistance to institutes and computer broadband connectivity.

The deadline for the application to be complete is December 15;
however, since this notification is coming out so late we will allow the
following exception:

- If your SLIS application, vita/resume, writing sample, and
personal statement have been received at SLIS by December 15, and

- If you have started the graduate school application process to
the point where everything (transcripts, GRE scores, etc.) have been
requested to be sent to UNT by December 15,

- Then, we will grant an extension to the deadline. Everything
for the application process must be requested by December 15, but we
will allow until January 14, 2005 for everything to be received at UNT.
Since there is a break at most colleges and universities during this
time, it is imperative that the process be well under way by December 15
to meet the extended deadline.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact the
Program/Project Coordinator, Michael Pullin, at

If you have questions about the application process, please contact the
IS PhD Coordinator, Jurhee Curtis, at

Posted by Michael at 12:03 PM

October 31, 2004

Scholarly research: Libraries and Weblogs

Joyce just made my morning:

Ordered! I am excited about this! Today I am writing an outline for a research porposal to examine the LIS Blogosphere... this book will be an incredible help! Steven sent me an article last week by Clyde on the same topic that I've been carrying around since.

Posted by Michael at 10:43 AM

October 21, 2004

Back in Denton for Class! - Exploring Virtual Communities

I am relaxing in my hotel room... just set up my Airport Express and got into my aggregator to read the news.

This weekend we give presentations on our literature reviews. I am going to present on current research in information beahvior in virtual communities.

Here's the PPT if you're interested!

Posted by Michael at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2004

My World This Weekend


I have a literature review due October 17. I leave for England on the 6th and return on the 16th... so the next four days are devoted to writing 16-20 pages on virtual communities from the articles you see above. It is incredibly interesting and feels like some of the most challenging writing I have ever done!

Posted by Michael at 06:24 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2004

"I read your blog" or GRE Horrors

Bumped into a new SJCPL librarian outside the building this afternoon. He's starting the MLS program via IUPUI. We talked GRE, math horror stories and about the mysteries of UNIX.

He started the conversation with "Did you just take the GRE?" Mind racing I thought he'd been at the testing center or had seen me racing away from it after commiting to my scores (don't ask! -- i almost laughed out loud at some of the math parts).... "I read your blog" he said.


At least the GRE is over!

Now I am working on a big paper -- a literature review -- and preparing for Internet Librarian International in London! More in a bit...

More in a bit.

Posted by Michael at 04:18 PM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2004

PDFs are a distance ed student's best friend

I heart PDFs today!

I haven't written much about my studies lately because frankly that's what I have been doing! Currently I am doing literature reviews and amassing PDFs of articles like crazy via all of our access provided by the very cool UNT library as well as my own library and Indiana's INSPIRE.

I can print the PDFs, file them, send them to the cohort and turn them in with article critiques (like the one due tomorrow).

And get this, I did an ILL for an article and it showed up in my e-mail box as a PDF today! NICE!

Just FYI, my current interests and research:

Virtual communities

Public library building and design


Posted by Michael at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2004

I'm off to take the GRE!

One of the reuirements of my program is having GRE scores. I took it last in a steaming hot room at IU Bloomington in Summer 1986. I'm off to the Test center now for a four hour computer-based test.

I hate math!

Posted by Michael at 08:53 AM | Comments (1)

August 23, 2004

The Cohort 2nd Semester (Fall 2004)


Photo by Mike Pullin

Posted by Michael at 12:18 AM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2004

At UNT for a new semester

Hello from Texas!!

We are back! The cohort lost a member and gained a member over the summer. A picture will follow as soon as I can get one.

This weekend is devoted to a class called "Seminar in Communication and Use of Information" taught by Dr. Linda Schamber. It is incredibly interesting, will be challenging but will give us a big push toward the final outcome of this process.

More in a bit...

Posted by Michael at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2004

More Chances for a UNT PhD -- A great deal!

Hey school media folks... take a look:

Posted by Michael at 07:00 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2004

How I Spent my Summer Vacation

In June, I attended the first weekend Institute for the UNT IMLS distance independent PhD program. We spent the weekend getting to know each other, the faculty and generally freaking because of how new this academic experience was to all of us. After that weekend, we were responsible for completing 3 courses for a total of 9 credit hours online.

The ladies in the cohort are neat folks. I enjoyed every minute we spent together. We are diverse but I recognize the passion for library stuff in all of us.

Statistics was a rollercoaster of “I can’t do this.” To “Wow. This makes sense.” I must recommend the book to all of you: Vaughn’s Statistics for the Information Professional should be in every librarian’s personal collection if you deal with any type of number crunching.

We used a program called R to run statistical reports on the survey I wrote about here and then we were to write assignments of data analyses for 6 different types of information. Scatterplots…Chi Square…and Histograms oh my! We were set to have a series of online quizzes over the book but our professor waived them because of our great work on the assignments!

Another class was devoted to an introduction to the discipline of Information Science. We read some cool stuff and responded to each other’s thoughts via an online posting system. I really got into it and the members of the cohort blow me away with their intelligence.

The third class was to start reading and thinking about our research interests. Online communication –such as blogs – and the building of 21st century libraries fascinate me. I have made some good contacts as well out in the field…folks that have advised me and pointed me in some useful directions.

Eight weeks flew by while I did these classes… Most of it was spent up north where I found I got a ton of work done uninterrupted – except for the boys who kept me distracted and made me remember to get out and walk them.

We return to Denton a week from today to start our next semester: 7 hours. I am reading our next text for class Information Tasks by Bryce Allen. It seems pretty cool: usability, users needs, etc etc.

Posted by Michael at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2004


My friend David just sent this as I finish up my first semester:

I think this is very fitting for you:

'Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
Live the life you've imagined.'
-Henry David Thoreau

Posted by Michael at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2004

Update: Summer Hiatus

I should have posted last week but travel to ALA and then zipping right up to Traverse City wore me out. I'm deep in statisctics and two other course via the Web for UNT so I'm taking a few days to focus on school. The readings have been fascinating so far: histories of info science, examinations of cryptography, etc. Stats... uhhh, don't ask!

Look for me in a few days!

Rock On!

Posted by Michael at 07:54 PM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2004

Buildings and the Future

Rachel turned me on to this:

Right now I'm working on solidifying my research interests for UNT... I've been taken lately with libraries as physical, technological spaces... hmmmmm...

Posted by Michael at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2004

Survey - Your Life..My stats class

Each of us has an assignment to get ten people to take this survey so we can generate data for our stats work. Maybe a few of my blog visitors can assist me.

Please take just a few minutes to help me out! Thanks!

Posted by Michael at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2004

UNT Cohort Gallery

I just snapped a few pics this weekend... here they are:

Posted by Michael at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)

Day Three (Painless Stats!?)

Sunday class time was 9am-3pm with time for a carried in lunch. we chatted a whole lot more about the whole experience and talked about future Institutes in Denton. We will spend weekends in Texas:


2005 will have fewer meetings and more online stuff.

The last part of the day was spent with Dr. Richard herrington, who will be teaching our online class SLIS 6940 Seminar in Research and Research Methodology. The text is an InfoToday book (yeah!) Statistical Methods for the Information Professional: A Practical, Painless Approach to Understanding, Using, and Interpreting Statistics by Liwen Vaughan. I am especially enamored of the word "painless" in that title. we needed more time though because once 3pm hit we had to leave -- most of the cohort for the airport!

This will be a true online class: 13 modules of reading the book, PPTs and writing/analyzing stats. I am not a math guy in anyway so this rattles me. But the book seems very cool so far.

At 3pm we departed...many to the airport or to their cars for a drive back to somewhere. I took two of my cohort colleagues to DFW and went to my next stop: Dallas and 3 days of decompression.

Posted by Michael at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)

Day Two

Day Two was spent in class with Dr. O'Connor. IMLS 6000, the introductory Info Science course, is an overview of the studylife of a doctoral student. We discussed the nature of information, definitions of what information is (and yes, a digital file of a Fleetwood Mac song is information...) and such topics as entropy. At noon time we headed to lunch at Johnny Corrino's across the way from the Hampton. I had the BEST low carb salmon dish ever.

The afternoon was spent discussiong various PPTs that Dr. O'Connor presented. It was also one of the times a few of us freaked a bit. It seemed so overwhelming toward the end of the day... but we made it through!

Dr. Sam Hastings opened her home to us, the faculty and other Doc.MLS students for dinner, drinks and a whole lot of socializing. It was so cool. One of the women in the on campus PhD program is engaged to Nick from Bowling for Soup who I got to chat with.

The day was long though, and I faded by 9...just time to hang out with some of the cohort by the whirlpool spa back at the hotel and then bed...

Posted by Michael at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2004

Introducing the IMLS UNT PhD Cohort

What a great group of folks! Dr. Brian O'Connor is with us in this shot!

Posted by Michael at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2004


We spent all day in class and the evening at a dinner at Dr. Hastings house -- which was fab! I will write more tomorrow!


Posted by Michael at 11:19 PM | Comments (0)

Pondering....Info Entropy

Here's our afternoon's focus:

Posted by Michael at 06:04 PM | Comments (0)

Day One

It was a whirlwind. I was exhausted by the time I came back to my room.

I went downstairs before our set 3pm meeting time and there were members of the cohort everywhere - checking in, hanging out in the lobby, and swimming in the hotel pool. It was nice to put real live people with e-mails and photos online.

We offcially convened at 3pm with a general session with Dr. Brian O'Connor and did some Q & A. Then we shuttled over to the UNT Campus and attended a "meet & greet" with the faculty complete with wine and cheese.

Then we adjourned to a boardroom style space at the Info Science building for an overview of what the process would be. This was the "deer in the headlights" moment for a few of us. I must confess it suddenly seemed overwhelming.

Good questions and some calming by Dr. O'Connor helped. I think we are all going to learn in this process: students (the cohort) and the faculty.

Posted by Michael at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2004

Meeting the Faculty

We will meet and greet in just a few hours, but to get a good grip I'm "meeting" the facuilty via their Video greetings. I like this a lot. Could libraries do such a thing? Videos of greeting from various folks like the director or Head Librarian?

Posted by Michael at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)

In Texas

I'm at the Denton, Texas Hampton Inn... a nice room in a nice place. I drove around the campus of UNT this am. They are closed up for Ronald Reagan's funeral today.

This has been a difficult time. I haven't taken on such a life change like this since my dad had the stroke (and that life change came out of nowhere, totally unexpected.) This change I did myself.

Am I up to the challenge? Can i do such work?

Things that have made the transition easier:

The support of SJCPL, working with me to cut my hours and work in half for 2 years.

The support of many folks - you know you are!

Jake and Charlie

A text message on my phone yesterday from Aaron that said "You'll do great!"


We meet at 3pm to get this ball rolling....

Posted by Michael at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)

June 10, 2004

This is It... I'm Leaving

It is 4:47am and I'm leaving for the airport. I'll be in Dallas by early afternoon and on my way to Denton to meet the cohort and begin the PhD. Please wish me luck and watch for posts about what is shaping up to be a rigorous weekend of class, meet & greets and bonding.

Posted by Michael at 05:50 AM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2004

And with that Folks...

I'm heading to Traverse City for a couple of weeks.... I will not post here for a few. I'm unplugging.... A Cool Change if you will. (I'll probably blog a bit to the TC pages though)

Best to you all... I'll be back before I head to TX and the start of school....

Posted by Michael at 08:21 PM | Comments (0)

Cool Change

I left the Library today for 7 weeks leave. I have worked there full time for 13 years. I start my PhD studies in two weeks. This is what was on the radio as I pulled away:

If there's one thing in my life that's missing
It's the time that I spend alone
Sailing on the cool and bright clear water
Lots of those friendly people
And they're showing me ways to go
And I never want to lose their inspiration
It's time for a cool change
I know that it's time for a cool change
Now that my life is so prearranged
I know that it's time for a cool change

Posted by Michael at 08:13 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2004

URLS I need

Get Your EUID:

iServices: iServices Portal


Helpline: 940/565-2324

Graduate School: 940/565-2636

Forgive this self serving entry..I gotta geta grip on registering!

Posted by Michael at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)

Texas Center for Digital Knowledge

Posted by Michael at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2004

I Own a PC!

I have mixed emotions for sure but I am now the "proud" owner of a Sony VAIO laptop that meets the UNT Tech specs for our PCs. What a learning curve! I've used Apples and Macs since I was at IU in the 80s... and now...

It's good to be biplatform!

Thanks to the ladies of the cohort who gave me good advice and nudges!!

PS: To offset my guilt, I ordered a decked out PB 17" to replace my older one!

Posted by Michael at 04:48 PM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2004

Update on Doctoral Program

I realized I hadn't said much of late about my beginning the UNT PhD program. Here's where things are:

The cohort consists of ten people: 9 ladies and me. :-) Typical for the library world, yes?

We are receiving a budgetary allotment for broadband access at home and a laptop. We received tech specs that outline how the laptop should be configured. I'm totally ready to upgrade my PowerBook but I heard that at UNT the SLIS faculty prefers students use PCs. I am waiting to chat with the director of the program down there to see if my Mac, running OS 10.3 will be compatible. I think it should be.

We will meet in Denton, TX on Friday June 11 for our first weekend of class. Here's what our typical weekend schedule will be:

Friday, 3:00pm to 9:00pm;
Saturday, 8:00am to 6:00pm;
Sunday, 9:00am to 3:00pm.

The hotel -- a brand new Hampton Inn -- has a classroom built in -- fully wireless. Nice.

I'm still trying to figure out some of the details and what I should be doing... more will come clear soon.

Watch this category for my contunuing news of moving toward a PhD!

Posted by Michael at 09:45 AM | Comments (1)

April 13, 2004

Dominican Talk Part II

Yesterday, I drove back into Chicago to Dominican University to speak at Prof. Bill Crowley's Public Libraries class. What fun! What great students. We had three hours of engaging discussion about technology in public libraries from OPACS to RFID and back again through blogs, RSS and building tech-spaces.

One of the women in the class mentioned libraries wanting to have the sexy technology because it was cool. Oh yes! Technolust! What a great way to describe it: sexy. RFID is sexy. WiFi is rather sexy. Federated searching? SEXY!

I was impressed with the student's questions - one about copyright stopped me in my tracks with its deepness: Who will win in the copyright wars? The technology makers, the people, the libraries, the content providers? Another shared that her 11 year old daughter is using IM and loving it. A large buddy list, she reported, is a symbol of status....

Lunch beforehand with Prof. Crowley was darn cool as well. We talked libraries, my future PhD endeavor and what it's like in the academic world.

Here's my presentation. Take a look at the screenshot of Aaron and I sharing the document via IM for him to give it a once over.

Dominican is lovely... I hope to go back again soon!

Posted by Michael at 08:51 PM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2004

Life Changes...Pursuing the PhD

I have not mentioned the biggest thing happening in my life yet because I wanted to give a little time to thinking about new directions and life changes.

My big news though, which came to me the day I got back from CIL: I have applied to and been accepted into the first distance independent PhD program for Information Science out of the University of North Texas. The program will begin in June with a few days on campus and then will be Web-based with cohort meetings a couple of times a semester for 2 years. I thought long and hard about this, sought the advice of colleagues and friends and am very happy with the outcome! I will be studying technology and its impact on public libraries -- probably a lot of the things I've written about here for the past year.

For the last year or so, as well, I have been pondering further education with the ultimate goal of a faculty position in a LIS School. With my current situation, it would be impossible to pull up stakes and move to one of the towns that have PhD programs in LIS. While working with the Staff Development Team at my public library to evaluate how we develop future library leaders, I did some research into the various ways library employees could get their MLS here in Indiana or beyond. Online classes offered at the University of Illinois were intriguing, but only for Masters students. I pondered the virtually impossible commute to Bloomington or Ann Arbor from South Bend. I was also fact-finding and soul-searching to make sure I was ready for such a big step if an opportunity appeared. IM and e-mail conversations with library colleagues helped me decide I was ready for the challenge of doctoral pursuits.

Special thanks to Rachel Singer Gordon, who originally sent me the info about th program on 2/6 (the application was due right before PLA!). Other folks were so helpful as well with advice, gentle nudges and "big picture" views while I made the decision to go for something I have wanted to do for a long time. I will not be a name dropper here -- You dear souls know who you are and you ROCK.

I always want to stay connected to the library technology profession so I will continue to work at SJCPL, although I some of my duties and responsibilities may change.

Here's the Web page about the program, as an FYI:

I plan on blogging extensively my experiences with the cohort: the group meetings in Texas, the online classes, the process itself... so stay tuned!

Posted by Michael at 09:46 AM | Comments (1)