Course Description: Concepts, processes, and skills related to parts of the life cycle of knowledge involving creation, production, distribution, selection, collection, and services to facilitate access. Specific discussion topics include characteristics of recorded knowledge; organizations and services devoted to managing access to recorded knowledge; principles associated with development of recorded knowledge and collections.
My lifelong friend Richard works in public health for Colorado’s state Medicaid program. He anticipated new opportunities for health education interventions to be funded by any successful health-care reform program, and he had a clear and relatively urgent information need for resources to help plan a project proposal. He wanted to learn what sorts of interventions showed promise for changing behavior of obese adults under 30 years old in order to reduce their risk of diabetes and other weight-related illness over the coming decades. Over the course of a couple reference interviews, we brought his query into focus, emphasizing his need for peer-reviewed articles evaluating reasons for success of prior public-heath education efforts in reducing teen-age pregnancy and promoting seat-belt use. We defined initial lists of likely information sources and search terms with a high probability of turning up useful resources.
The product demonstrates my understanding and effective use of open, closed, and neutral questions to elicit detail about a reference client’s understanding of an information need. It also shows my facility in helping the client to clarify and organize their own thinking about at query that they had so far formulated only in general terms. The paper documents my discoveries during the process, such as the potential of a relatively closed question whose scope I had thought I understood to skew the client’s response, along with ways to open the inquiry again in response and avoid preliminary focus on an incompletely defined scope. Another learning outcome for me was an appreciation of the power of combining terms from a controlled vocabulary with more flexibly selected keywords matched against the resource abstract to maximize precision while promoting appropriate levels of recall.
Complete paper (.docx, 100K) – Category: Information Use & Users – All Coursework
Concerns with nonpartisan objectivity dominate the information needs of a public policy advocate focusing on health-care issues. This role involves presenting relatively objective data to a variety of audiences: the general public, legislative bodies, and organizational stakeholders or board members who influence policy focus. An appeal based on a source perceived as biased may risk alienating someone the advocate is trying to convince, and may even jeopardize future donations to the organization. This product documents a reference research project to identify the ten best available resources for a health-care reform lobbyist, beginning with detailed analysis of information needs and elaboration of evaluation and selection criteria.
The paper demonstrates capability for detailed analysis of a real-world information environment based on a review of existing literature and careful interviews with relevant stakeholders. It shows skill and commitment to review the universe of available and potentially relevant resources, , as well as thoughtful specification of criteria for choosing the right ones. The paper was the basis for a poster presentation accepted for iConference 2011 in Seattle.
Complete paper (.docx, 123K) – Poster abstract – Category: Information Use & Users – All Coursework
The assignment called for a concise summary of a reference resource such as might be published in Library Journal or another source librarians use to guide acquisition planning. My review of the title identified substantial strengths in depth of coverage within the author’s chosen scope, solid organization, and valuable ancillary materials to enhance understanding of the core conceptual summaries. I identified limitations of the work, especially a dearth of images, puzzling for coverage of such a visual field, and a focus on North American and European design, leaving wide gaps about activities in Asia and elsewhere.
This product demonstrates capability for close, detailed analysis and concise communication of relevant considerations. My selection of a resource to review reflects my concern with and awareness of the history and practice of design across a range of pursuits, from architecture to print publishing and online information resources.
Complete paper (.docx, 76K) – Categories: Information Use & Users, Information Service – All Coursework