Well, this blog has suffered a small lapse! What with starting my course in September, reading what felt like hundreds of books’ worth of materials and completing two 3000-word assignments, there hasn’t been a lot of time left over. However, with Christmas out of the way I’m now between semesters, so I finally have a bit more time for an update before the next one starts in February.
First of all, the reading few will be pleased to know that I did in fact complete my Metadata course way back in early September and indeed passed with a very healthy 92.3%. I can’t begin to describe how useful the course was. Although in some ways a beginners’ introduction to the subject, it was nevertheless in depth enough that I know I’ll be returning to my notes on it in the future. It was also useful and reassuring to interact with the other students and realise that people from all walks of life are moving into this new area just like me. So, if anyone is the slightest bit interested in information organisation, even in a casual way, I’d recommend having a look at the course when it next comes up.
Then, in mid September, I officially became a ‘proper’ student again, albeit part time. I had forgotten just how much extra work you need to put in on top of the lecturer’s guidance, particularly at postgraduate level. Cue lots (and I mean lots) of reading*, coupled with a bit of thinking now and again, but also lots of interacting with my fellow students, many of whom were just as nervous as me! We were lucky enough to have a fantastic lecturer for our first course, who supported us in those all-important first few weeks. As with Coursera, my fellow students are from many different countries and have vastly differing backgrounds. Some of them (though fewer than I anticipated) already work in libraries, yet they are amazingly generous in sharing their ‘insider’ knowledge with us non-library people.
So, four months later all reading is complete, and the two assignments for this semester written up and submitted. I particularly enjoyed the first assignment for Information Studies, for which I was given a topic by an enquirer which I had to then research appropriately. All this needed to then be written up into a literature review plus a report on the search process itself and the decisions I had made about the enquirer’s information needs based on an interview and other variables. Phew! It was a daunting task but a very enjoyable one once I got stuck into it. Plus I got to use tables and diagrams, which appealed somewhat to my nerdy side! It was something to really get your teeth into and a really good start to the course.
We’ll need to wait a bit longer for our marks for those two assignments (*bites nails*) but in the meantime the next courses coming up for this semester are Organising Knowledge and Databases. Both look really interesting but I’m particularly excited about the latter, since it’s a whole new area for me and I think it’ll be very useful. I think a steep learning curve beckons…
* As well as reading electronic documents, this also entailed some trips to actual libraries to get real books from musty shelves. An experience tinged with a certain nostalgia, which
I’ll write about later now has its very own post.