In the Fall of 2012, I was applying for jobs at academic libraries. I managed to be fortunate enough to be asked to interview and present at two institutions. In late August of 2012, I gave a presentation at FAMU about emerging technologies in libraries. Then in December of 2012, I interviewed and presented at Notre Dame on designing web-based library services in academic libraries. Neither position wound up working out, but they were great experiences.
I have uploaded my slides to SlideShare and present them here.
Exploring the Emerging Technologies/Systems Librarians Role in an Academic Library
During my final semester at FSU, I took an advanced web applications class. In this class we used Flex (Flash) to design and code a variety of projects. Despite Flex already being a somewhat outdated language, I was able to produce some programs I am pleased with and get a basic understanding of what goes into programming.
Unfortunately WordPress won’t allow for the embedding of Flash projects so clicking on the following images will take you to a page where they are viewable and playable for now. (I am not sure how long my webspace at FSU remains active.)
Big Ten Air App
After a few preliminary apps we designed, we were then given an assignment to create a downloadable app that used XML for the data. There was to be a home page, a list of teams tab showing wins and losses, game schedule, and team rosters.
In this final assignment for this class, we were to select a component of the Blackboard Learning Management System and do an analysis of its usability and design an improvement. I selected the “tests, surveys, and pools” component which allows for instructors to build questions that can be used for assessment or surveys.
In the analysis, I compared Blackboard to competing systems, researched criticism, and interviewed active users. The design was a cleaner, more graphical interface that is not as piecemeal as the current system.
The video below is my final class presentation/report on the assignment. Images below show various stages of the project.
For my Usability Analysis class, we started off the semester by identifying something with bad usability and something with good usability. We were allowed to present this in the form of a video. Using my video production skills, I decided to do just that.
For my “bad usability” story I chose to talk about DVD digipaks although a runner up for this was the ordering system at Chick-fil-A.
For my “good usability” story, I went with a mobile app. I’m a big fan of the YouVersion Bible app on both the iPhone and iPad, although this video discusses just the iPhone version.
The final project for my information architecture class was to design the blueprint for an information system—website or mobile app—of our choosing, emphasizing user-centered design principles. The project involved original research on our chosen topic (in this case, a Dungeons & Dragons iPad app), as well as using a variety of IA tools and techniques for developing the architecture of the system and communicating our ideas to stakeholders. Materials submitted for evaluation includes six deliverables and a narrative essay.
This past fall I completed my Master’s coursework at Florida State University. I began my application process to get in just over three years ago. While I have worked on projects like Nerd Lunch: The Web Series and Rambabe, it has been my schooling that has consumed a majority of my free time. That would explain the real lack of updating here about projects that I have been working on.
I enrolled in the Library and Information Studies program in the Fall of 2009. FSU’s program entails 36 credit hours which worked out to be 12 courses. I focused my studies on information architecture and also received an information architecture certificate in addition to my degree.
Some I have talked to wonder what “information architecture” even means. So to those wondering, information systems, such as websites and mobile apps (just to name two of many), are more useful when they are planned out from the get-go. The word architecture should give it away. Just as a builder needs a blueprint to build something, a similar blueprint should be built for information systems. Without a good plan in place, users of the finished system may encounter issues.
There’s much more to librarianship than shushing people and stamping books. Librarians forge the way for information organization, access to information, and are an incredible personal resource for locating answers to questions and problems. With this step behind me, I am looking forward to where things go from here.
Over the next few posts I’ll be summarizing the work I’ve done for school over the past couple of years. I’ll be posting snippets of papers, screenshots of my designs, videos summarizing my projects, and links to Flash-based web applications.