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Nov 16 / Christine Illichmann

Information is…your new opportunity. Applications now being accepted for the Master of Science in Information Management program.

Information is…your new opportunity.

If you’re seeking a new career path, or simply want to expand opportunities in your current career, consider Information Management. Today’s information managers are in high-demand, mixing elements of computer programming, information science, and technology management to address needs that didn’t even exist ten years ago. The Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) at Wayne State University offers the skills and training needed to put you at the forefront of this growing field.

“Roughly half of the jobs in the top income quartile — defined as those paying $57,000 or more per year — are in occupations that commonly require applicants to have at least some computer coding knowledge or skill…,” according to Catey Hill, Editor at Marketwatch (1).

The MSIM at Wayne State University can give you the computer coding knowledge you need to meet – and exceed – this skill requirement. Our fully web-based degree program offers a flexible schedule allowing you to work on your career goals while leading a busy life. And our in-state tuition policy applies to online students, making us one of the most affordable programs available.

Stand out from the crowd by specializing in one of five areas, including Software Tools, Web-based Information Services, Data Analytics, Health and Scientific Data Management, and User Experience. Find out more about the MSIM and the available specializations on our website.

Registration for Winter 2018 semester closes soon. Sign up to receive an information packet by email today and we can help you get started on the next steps. Complete the application process by December 8, 2017 and start classes in January 2018.

(1) https://www.marketwatch.com/story/half-of-the-high-paying-jobs-in-america-now-require-this-skill-2016-06-21

Nov 10 / Christine Illichmann

Student Allie Penn interns at CNN

SIS Student Allie Penn is currently an Editorial Research Intern for CNN in Atlanta, where she’ll be working until early December. We caught up with Allie and asked her for details on her work at CNN.

What are some of your typical day to day tasks there? 

A typical day starts with me working the reference desk with my supervisor Lindsey. The sort of reference work we do is usually any information relating to a particular story. CNN’s library is in-house only. Only in certain cases would you be able to make a reference request from outside the company. Some of the requests are more in-depth and some are simply quick contact requests. I’ve looked up court documents, statistics, other stories relating to a potential CNN story, and information regarding different individuals CNN would like to interview. From there I usually work on different projects that I am assigned. Most of them are updating statistics that CNN uses to write stories. A large part of what I do is work with what they call “Fast Facts,” which are just quick bios or timelines of different individuals and events. This helps when news stories break or individuals pass away. Depending on what is going on in the news cycle that day, it can be very busy or it can be quiet, but it never stays quiet for long.

Are you working on any fun projects you can share with the SIS community? 

I’ve gotten to work on a couple of cool projects while working at CNN. I think what is often more rewarding is when something you have worked on becomes part of the news. I have been able to do research contributing stories to Hurricane Maria, Irma, and Harvey. Additionally, I’ve completed research for stories focused on the tragedies that have occurred lately, such as the Las Vegas and New York attacks. I was also able to do some of the research on the Kevin Spacey allegations. This story in particular I, and the other librarians, completed lots of research for:

http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/02/media/house-of-cards-kevin-spacey-harassment/index.html

Is there anything that you’ve found new or surprising about the type of librarianship you’re involved in there? 

I think being a part of CNN is a great opportunity. They really operate on their own systems and a lot of their own rules. Using a unique in-house reference system allows me to develop my reference skills. These types of skills will be transferable to any future librarian or archivist position I have. Good reference skills are key in our line of work. Additionally, I love how quickly everything moves. You always have to be on the ball and quick to adapt. It can get pretty hectic quickly, the faster you move the better, but efficiency is key.

I am able to work in various areas and connect with the different librarians and archivists. CNN has its own methods of digitizing, selection, cataloging and indexing, and reference work, both for its video collections and for breaking news stories. It is great to be a part of something so relevant and important in today’s world as CNN.

 

Oct 30 / Kimberly Schroeder

How to Develop Your LinkedIn Profile

According to a 2015 Adweek article, 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn.   Having a great LinkedIn page is important not only for a career post-graduation, but also for internships and practicums.

Some of the offerings at SIS are “hot skills” as listed on the LinkedIn Blog.  Data mining, data visualization and interface design are listed as top skills to have.  Be sure to emphasize this if you want to work in this field, especially in non-library settings.

For library positions, be sure to note:

  • Customer service skills and any supervision, no matter the discipline show important management ability.
  • Coordination of volunteers is also highly valued as so many institutions utilize the people in their community.
  • Technology skills are also important so be sure to call those out.  Include everything you have been exposed to in class and out.
  • Ability to work independently and in committees is part of most employers’ wish lists.  Be sure to call out collaborative skills as well as independent ones(self-starting abilities).
  • Understanding searching and access makes for a solid employee but newer digital access skills are also of value.  It shows that you can see the big picture and fulfill patrons needs for information by packaging high demand information for easy access.

In the archival realm, be sure to list collections you have worked with, historical knowledge, and the core archival technologies that you use comfortably.

In digital curation, look to explain your problem-solving ability, technology skills, understanding of formats and metadata and current limitations and innovations of access and preservation.

For UX, you may need to show your analytical abilities with choosing the best path for site creation and understanding user needs.

No matter your concentration, do competitive research on your discipline in LinkedIn.  Use search terms to look for people that you are competing with or who have the job that you want.  Get clues from their path in order to develop your path.

Here is some quick advice on what you can do to improve your profile.  Remember that you want to paint a thorough picture of your skills and be easy to find.

  • Think about your most marketable coursework no matter your emphasis and include class projects. Include links to the projects if available.
  • Professional volunteerism counts! Include it in your profile.
  • Include a profile picture. According to a realsimple.com article your profile is 14 times more likely to be viewed with a picture.
  • Include tech skills as these are highly valued.
  • Fill in all sections so that your profile looks complete and you are not judged as overlooking or avoiding something.
  • If you have unique skills like a foreign language or advanced technology be sure to emphasize that.
  • Any publishing or presenting at conferences needs to be listed.
  • Get a professionally sounding email address that is not using an antiquated vendor like Yahoo or AOL. Use a personal one like Gmail.  In this discipline, you need to look on top of technology.
  • Get colleagues to recommend you in the Endorsements section. If you are really new to the field, have a few people write out a paragraph endorsement rather than just checking off your skills.  This will provide some content until you can get more skills checked off by colleagues.
  • Proofread carefully and have others proofread!
  • Check in at least once a week to your profile to keep everything current.
  • Post once a week as well. An article in the field or an update on an interesting project that you are working on will show your professional contributions.
  • Be sure to be involved in professional organizations and mention memberships and conferences attended.

Additional Resources

https://biginterview.com/blog/2014/06/linkedin-profile-tips.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/catherine-newhouse/8-secrets-to-building-linkedin_b_4710151.html

http://www.realsimple.com/search/site/linkedin (several articles)

Sources

http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/survey-96-of-recruiters-use-social-media-to-find-high-quality-candidates/627040

https://blog.linkedin.com/2016/10/20/top-skills-2016-week-of-learning-linkedin

https://www.thebalance.com/good-linkedin-summary-with-examples-4126809

Oct 27 / Christine Illichmann

SIS Distinguished Alumni Award winner Kraig Binkowski on art librarianship and his work at Yale

Kraig Binkowski Speech Photo

Kraig Binkowski (MLIS ’94) accepting the Distinguished Alumni Award at the SIS 50th Anniversary Celebration, September 2017.

Kraig Binkowski (MLIS ’94) is the 2017 recipient of the School of Information Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award. Kraig has served as the Chief Librarian of the Yale Center for British Art at Yale University since 2005. Previous art librarianship positions include Head Librarian of the Helen Farr Sloan Library at the Delaware Art Museum and Associate Librarian at the Detroit Institute of Arts. He is currently an Associate Editor for Art Libraries Journal.

What is a typical day like for you as Chief Librarian? Well, a typical day for me includes a lot of different activities which is the way I like it. Too often, a lot of meetings (museum and Yale Library), but also answering email, working with students and staff on their reference questions (the Library staff all rotate shifts at the reference desk, myself included), working with interns, student assistants, and library fellows on performing research in the library, and if I’m lucky, I work on collection development for the library. I also make time to work on my own research and to assist other library staff with theirs. I enjoy thinking about the library strategically and how to best meet the needs of our users, but admittedly, this isn’t a daily function of mine.

You are part of Yale’s personal librarian program, a more personalized one-on-one service that more academic libraries are utilizing. What has your experience with this program been like? How has it changed your work and interaction with students? I think it’s a great program and so very beneficial to the students. The resources and avenues for research can be very daunting and the library can really be an intimidating place – I love getting to know the students a bit and helping them get on the right path from the beginning. Here at Yale the students are supposed to go to their personal librarian for their first two years and then switch to a subject specialist in their major field, but I have many students who are comfortable coming to me with questions throughout their time here. Last year I had my first question from a past student who had graduated and was working at her first job.

What aspects of librarianship are you most passionate about and why? I think that public service and collection development are the two areas that I am most passionate about. Public service is our whole reason for being and in an academic environment, reference and teaching are things that we hold highest in our priorities. I feel all other aspects of librarianship feed into being able to help transfer information into knowledge. Collection development ensures that we have the most recent scholarship — and in the humanities — all the necessary scholarship going back in time, to meet the informational needs of our patrons.

You began your career as a librarian in 1994 and then went started in art librarianship in 1998. What would you say is the biggest change you’ve seen in the profession since that time? I would say that the proliferation of primary sources in digital format has really changed art librarianship and the way we teach how to conduct research in art history. And I include images of art objects in my definition of primary resources. It really is amazing to think of all that’s at a scholar’s fingertips now that used to be flung across the far reaches of the globe. Historical newspapers, archival collections, rare books, public art collections, ephemeral materials – so much is now available digitally. Unfortunately, the mass of materials available digitally makes it seem as though all of the pertinent material is available online, and that’s still far from the case.

Are there any trends you’re seeing on the horizon for art librarianship that you’re particularly excited about? Well, I do love the fact that research into works of art has become much more multidisciplinary – in any one semester I will have history, drama, literature, and even some of the sciences using the collections in addition to the history of art students. It certainly keeps it interesting from a reference and instruction point of view. And it helps us as librarians to think in more multidisciplinary terms, which is good.  And I do recognize a return to (or perhaps a more modern appreciation of) connoisseurship in art historical discourse, which I do appreciate as well.

As Associate Editor for Art Libraries Journal, what type of articles and information do you seek for publication, or wish you saw more of? What advice do you have someone who might want submit an article to Art Libraries Journal?  I think at Art Libraries Journal we try to maintain a balance of scholarly versus practical articles. Research-based articles and articles that help art librarians in the tasks they do on a day-to-day basis. I just wish I saw more submissions and queries about articles in general. I think if a librarian or library student has an idea or an inkling of an idea about a topic he/she would like to cover, then don’t hesitate to contact one of the editors – we are always happy to advise writers on submitting to ALJ.

What do you love about your job? In a general sense, I love my job because it always challenges me – I learn something new every day. Something new about the collections, about our patrons, about the institution, and in the field.  Art librarianship, in particular, allows me to connect with artwork and museum collections on a daily basis – and working at the YCBA allows me to experience one of the most beautiful architectural achievements each day when I arrive at work. How could I not love it?

What recommendations do you have for someone considering art librarianship as a career? I would recommend that anyone considering art librarianship as a career seek out art librarians of all types and from different size collections – museum librarians, in small and big institutions, academic art librarians and art school librarians, visual resource professionals and those in digital humanities — just talk to these librarians to see if your expectations for the field match actual experiences. It can be invaluable to have some insight and working knowledge of the field even before starting a masters program in library and information science. It can be beneficial to cater courses and coursework to the exact type of art librarianship you are most interested in, if possible.

 

 

 

Oct 18 / Christine Illichmann

From SIS student to University Archivist – Alison Stankrauff returns to Wayne State

University Archivist Alison Stankrauff (MLIS ’02)

“Relationship-building is critical to any type of archive – you cannot build an archives without that. It really smashes the stereotype of the archivist as being an antisocial person who hoards over the records, never to share them with anyone. Getting out there and then – once you have the materials – getting them out to an even wider audience is key, and critical.” – Wayne State University Archivist, Alison Stankrauff.

Alison Stankrauff is, first and foremost, a people person. As the new University Archivist, she is responsible for maintaining 150 years of institutional memory for Wayne State University. However, Alison understands that behind every document, video, photo, and file, there is a person on campus who was there in the moment that each bit of history was created. And one of her primary goals is to know each of those people.

The effectiveness of Alison’s philosophy of outreach has been proven over time. Prior to coming to Wayne State, she spent thirteen years at Indiana University, South Bend, where she held the position of Campus Archivist and Associate Librarian. When she began at IU South Bend in 2004, there had not been a professional archivist on campus in more than ten years, and she quickly went to work building relationships with departments and creating processes and procedures to preserve university history.

“As an archivist – particularly as a University Archivist – it’s really all about relationships. During my time particularly at IU South Bend I made sure to ‘get out there’ on campus and out into the wider community,” Alison explained. “In thirteen years I was able to really establish strong relationships to grow the archives there. And I very much want to do the same here at Wayne State for the University Archives.”

Prior to her work at IU South Bend Alison was an archivist at the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati from 2002 to 2004. However, the move to Detroit was a homecoming of sorts for Alison who graduated from the Master of Library and Information Science program with a focus in Archival Administration in 2002. Changes and growth in Detroit as well as on the Wayne State University campus have come as a pleasant surprise.

I love the city of Detroit. When I was in the SIS Program I lived in the city – just a few blocks from campus (at Second and Forest). And I now live in the New Center area and love it! The University has grown so much since my time fifteen years ago – and I see the changes as really positive. Campus is so lively all hours – deep into the night.”

Alison brings more than just immense professional experience and a talent for relationship building – she also brings experience as a mentor to other archivists. In 2016 she co-wrote Stankrauff, Alison H.; Sommer, Tom; and Ganz, Michelle (2016) “The How and Why of Mentoring,” Journal of Western Archives: Vol. 7: Iss. 1, Article 2. Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/westernarchives/vol7/iss1/2.

I’ve been both a mentee and a mentor. I’ve found that helping others in the profession – whether peers who are practicing archivists or budding archivists in archives programs – has been really rewarding. I’ve served as the Chair of the Society of American Archivists Mentoring Program. And the people that I’ve mentored I can now count as colleagues in the profession as well as friends. As a mentee, my very first mentor was the Reuther’s very own (awesome) Mary Wallace, Audiovisual Archivist, while I was a student worker here at the Reuther Library. And now she’s a colleague!

As Alison settles in to her new role as University Archivist, she has one important project in mind – in 2018, Wayne State University celebrates its 150th anniversary.

Celebrating 150 years is a big deal – and the campus’ historian has an integral role in that. I’ve been doing much research on various aspects of the University through time, including its vibrant diversity through the decades: the many different groups that Wayne has given an opportunity to. I’m working on the 150th exhibit here with colleagues that will kick off the entire Sesquicentennial for the University here in January at the Reuther Library. I’m also on the University-wide Sesquicentennial Committee.

When the anniversary passes, Alison will ensure that the mechanisms are in place to capture the next 150 years of university history. She will continue to build important relationships and work with each school and department to ensure their milestones are preserved and recorded. Alison is ready to meet the challenge, and you can be certain she will continue to reach out to the campus community to build key relationships.

I’m also doing my utmost to do lots of outreach to as many portions of the Wayne State University campus community as I can to let them know that I’m here to help them, and I’m interested in their records. Meeting people across the campus has been fun – and I plan to do as much of it as I can to grow the University Archives!”

Welcome back, Alison!

 

 

Oct 15 / Christine Illichmann

SIS professor Kafi Kumasi makes an impact on the LIS world

SIS professor Kafi Kumasi is highly involved in the library and information field. The lessons she teaches in her courses are built on her professional experiences and projects, providing real-world insights. Her writing, mentoring, and volunteer work reflect her mission to make the library and information field more diverse and inclusive.  

A snapshot of Dr. Kumasi’s summer and fall activities provides a peek at her involvement in many areas of LIS education: 

In August 2017, Dr. Kumasi presented with some of her mentees at the National Conference of African American Librarians (NCAAL). Dr. Kumasi served as mentor for the Wayne State SIS Project IDoL cohort (Increasing Diversity of Librarians), a three-year project focusing on “recruiting, mentoring, and providing an online Master of Library and Information Science degree to 10 students from historically underrepresented groups in order to achieve greater diversity among practicing library professionals.”  

Dr. Kumasi and Project IDoL participants at NCAAL.

Her mentorship work continued throughout the summer as she participated in the Lilead Project 2017-2018 Cohort Summer Institute – a weeklong professional development program for school library district supervisors held at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Dr. Kumasi mentored four school librarians on their projects, which are each aimed at transform school libraries into future ready programs  

 Dr. Kumasi’s work is frequently published, and the summer of 2017 is a prime example of this. She published a journal article in the May 2017 issue of School Library Connection entitled “Let the Dodo Bird Speak: A Rejoinder on Diversity in Children’s and Young Adult Literature”. She also co-authored a book chapter on Libraries and Diversity in Children’s and Young Adult Literature for Dr. Violet Harris, Professor Emeritus at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne. 

In August, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) announced the selection of Dr. Kumasi’s paper entitled “Doin’ the Knowledge: Using Hip Hop as Framework to Study Youth New Media Practices.” She will present the paper at YALSA’s Trends Impacting YA Services session at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting. 

In addition to articles and scholarly publications, she is currently working on a book entitled, “Hip Hop Librarianship: A Handbook for School and Public Librarians”, which will be published through ALA Editions.  

Dr. Kumasi has also served on multiple executive and advisory boards, including Project READY and the Executive Board of YALSA at the 2017 ALA Annual meeting in Chicago. 

With a busy summer behind her, Dr. Kumasi has no plans to slow down. Her impactful work continues and is an asset to the School of Information Sciences and the LIS world. To learn more about Dr. Kafi Kumasi and her work, visit her faculty profile on the SIS website: http://sis.wayne.edu/faculty/bio.php?id=43369 

 

Sep 13 / Christine Illichmann

Notes from the SIS 50th Anniversary Celebration

The School of Information Sciences 50th Anniversary Event on Friday, September 8, was a celebration filled with music, history, and appreciation for students, alumni, and faculty. The event featured a ceremony honoring award and scholarship recipients, as well as student organization officers. Incoming Dean Dr. Jon Cawthorne was welcomed and outgoing Dean Dr. Sandy Yee was celebrated for her leadership of the WSU Library System. Kim Schroeder gave an overview of the history of the School and shared documents and photos highlight the program history. The music of Detroit icon Melvin Davis and his band filled the room, with star vocalist Pat Lewis singing as attendees danced the night away.

View the SIS Flickr account for more photos from this fun-filled evening! To be notified of future events, update your contact information with SIS and follow us on Facebook!

Aug 23 / Christine Illichmann

SIS History: 1881-1967

As we prepare to celebrate 50 years of ALA accreditation, we’re taking a look back at the history of the School of Information Sciences. This week we’re covering 1881 to 1967, plus a photo of the Class of ’68!

Class of 1968, Department of Library Science, College of Education, Wayne State University. Know any of these students? Let us know at asksis@wayne.edu

1881
The Detroit Normal Training School, forerunner of the College of Education is established.

1917
Detroit Teachers College begins offering training for elementary school librarians in the Detroit Public Schools.

1921
Miss Martha Pritchard is appointed supervising instructor of school libraries for the Detroit Public Schools. This gives her jurisdiction over students enrolled in Library Science courses in the College.

1934
Detroit Teachers College becomes one of the colleges of Wayne University and a graduate school is formed.

The Graduate Catalog for 1934/35 lists three ”library” courses.

Mrs. Lois Place is named Director of School Libraries and remains in this role for twenty-one years until her retirement in 1955.

1940
The first master’s degree (M.Ed.) in school librarianship is awarded.

1955
Mrs. Florence Damon Cleary succeeds Mrs. Place and becomes Chairman, Department of Library Science, College of Education.

1956
Wayne University becomes Wayne State University by Act 183 of the Michigan Public Acts of 1956.

1964
Wayne State University establishes the graduate professional Library Science degree (M.S.L.S.). Prior to this time, the only degree was the M.Ed. with a specialization in school librarianship.

Mrs. Cleary retires as Chairman and is succeeded by Dr. Robert E. Booth.

The Department now prepares public, academic, and special librarians, in addition to its earlier single-purpose interest in elementary and secondary school librarianship.

1966
The Library Science Department submits Self-Study for American Library Association and on the faculty are:  Robert E. Booth, Professor; Margaret Hayes Grazier, Associate Professor; Patricia B. Knapp, Associate Professor; Carl Orgren, Assistant Professor; Fred Pfister, Assistant Professor; Gloria Dardarian Sniderman, Instructor; Lenore Marchand, Instructor; Donna Taylor, Instructor; and Phyllis VanOrden, Instructor.

1967
The M.S.L.S. degree program is accredited by the American Library Association.

Aug 18 / Christine Illichmann

Network, build your resume – student organizations do this and more!

Student organizations at Wayne State School of Information Science offer students an opportunity to pursue professional interests, network with others and learn more on specific topics outside of the classroom. They also offer experiences and leadership opportunities that make excellent additions to resumes and CVs. Most organizations offer ways for students to participate regardless of location, so virtual students can play a part no matter where they may be located.

AYSL – Aspiring Youth and School Librarians
Aspiring Youth and School Librarians (AYSL) is a student group at Wayne State University’s School of Library and Information Science. It provides a forum for students interested in youth librarianship, education, and media to learn about and discuss youth information services in all of its forms.  We have monthly meetings during the school year to critically evaluate children’s literature or attend a presentation by a current professional. We maintain an online presence to discuss current topics and trends or to alert members of potential learning opportunities.

You can visit their Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1620739408159756/

And read their blog at:   https://ayslwsu.wordpress.com/

ASIS&T – Association for Information Science and Technology
The mission of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) is to advance the information sciences and related applications of information technology by providing focus, opportunity, and support to information professionals and organizations. The Wayne State student chapter of ASIS&T aims to provide career development opportunities, online and in-person, for students in the field of information science and technology. Members present programming such as: webinars, film screenings, panel discussions and presentations, attend ASIS&T events and participate in special projects, where they interact and connect with other students, practitioners, researchers and professors in the field.

Students interested in joining the student chapter for the 2017-18 academic year, launching in September, should send an email to asistwsu@gmail.com to get involved and receive a special invite to the cohort’s Slack group.

Follow the WSU Chapter of ASIS&T on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asistwsu/

FLID – Future Librarians for Inclusivity and Diversity

Future Librarians for Inclusivity and Diversity (FLID) provides a safe space for up and coming library and information science (LIS) professionals to gain a better understanding of diversity within the profession and underserved populations.  In preparation for working with individuals from these groups, FLID’s mission will be to expose SIS students to issues surrounding diverse cultures, lifestyles, physical abilities, and religious beliefs within the LIS field.

The organization promotes awareness by organizing on and off-campus events (social, educational or otherwise) for SIS students to learn about, exchange ideas, and perhaps resolve issues surrounding diversity and inclusion in LIS.

Follow FLID on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FLIDwsu/

NDSA Infographic

NDSA – The National Digital Stewardship Alliance

The National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) has agreed to partner with Wayne State University’s School of Library and Information Science for their first ever student chapter. Students joining this group delve into the issues of Digital Preservation, assist in the development of outreach education for these fragile and outdated storage formats, create educational videos, and provide input to the NDSA Wiki. There is the opportunity for further research in the arena, assisting to develop standards, participating in projects, and presenting at conferences.

Follow NDSA on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wsustudentndsa/

And visit their blog: https://wsustudentndsa.wordpress.com

 

SAA members on a tour of Eastern Michigan University archives

SAA – Society of American Archivists

 

The Wayne State chapter of the Society of American Archivists is a wonderful stepping stone for students with little to no experience in the archival field. SAA sets incoming students up with professionals and trained students to help better their chances at becoming full-fledged archivists post-graduation. SAA meets on a monthly basis during the Fall and Winter semesters, many times with special guests to talk a little about their specialties in the archival fields and to share advice for up-and-coming graduates. SAA also works with local professional organizations and individuals to put on workshops and presentations as a means to provide experience for our members. This past May, SAA revitalized the opportunity for members to tour information facilities around the area, including archives, historical societies, museums, and local libraries, just to name a few. Our main goals are to prepare archival students with the means to better their professional standing when they graduate with their MLIS and/or Archival Certificate.

Check ou the SAA Website:  http://iis.slis.wayne.edu/saa/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Societyofamericanarchivistswsu
Twitter: https://twitter.com/waynest_saa

Aug 8 / Christine Illichmann

Managing Digital Identity: Self-Presentation and Social Structures

Dr. Timothy Bowman, SLIS assistant professor, will be contributing a series of blog posts on the topic of Managing Digital Identity. Dr. Bowman draws on his research related to the presentation of self in online environments to help students and alumni understand the impact of digital identity on professional life.

Individual impressions create a bigger picture
As I mention in the first blog post on managing digital identity (http://blogs.wayne.edu/slis/managing-digital-identity-why-identity-matters/), how you act and the information you share with others in specific contexts will be how your audience identifies you. What I did not specifically address is that this impression will be created in a way that takes into account both your past actions and your current actions to create a new composite of an impression your audience has of you. Your past actions will have an influence on the impression an audience may have of you (across time); if you have a long history with someone, they will take this into account when forming the impressions they have of you in the current context. Thus, if you act completely out of character (not consistent with the self-presentation you’ve maintained in the past), the audience may consider you out of sorts (perhaps you are ill, have dealt with some major life event, have something else on your mind). This happens frequently in day-to-day social interaction. Why do others think this and what motivates them to either put aside this new impression as a one-time occurrence or become worried that something is amiss? How does this impact the overall impression an audience may have of you?

Change is a constant
While an audience does look for consistency, both in the current context of interaction and across time, each individual’s self-presentation strategies and identity is in constant flux. This may seem self-evident, but when we truly think about it, we realize that this suggests that our identities are ever-changing and that there may not be one, true self. How do we maintain a consistent identity and self-presentation when our own ideas about who we are change day-to-day?

If we look simply at distinguishing characteristics, we realize that these may change frequently; for example, your hair may change color (naturally or synthetically), your weight and height may fluctuate, your eye color may change, your name may change (when married), etc. If we then look at identifying the information we reveal about ourselves (self-presentation) in day-to-day social interactions, we realize that this also changes depending on various factors including our past experiences, the context in which we interact, the role we portray, and the overall impressions we want to make on our audience. A person’s identity and the way in which they present themselves change, both in the online world and in the day-to-day interactions they have offline. These changes may be consistent across both offline and online contexts or they may be very different.

The greater system and your identity
Another factor we should consider involves the social systems that we interact within. Social structures make up these systems and include norms and rules, social network ties, and the class structures in which we interact. If one were to agree with Giddens (1984), they may argue that the social system is both created by, and reinforced by, social interactions. It is an iterative process where acts both rely on and reinforce the social structures through day-to-day activities. If one were to consider online behavior like interacting on Facebook, we may look at the ways in which persons use the news feed consistently or the ways in which they describe themselves in profiles. The norms and rules of interacting on Facebook have changed since it was released in 2004. Early on, Facebook was available only to university students and used in a much different way than it is today. As early adopters began to use Facebook, certain consistencies could be identified in the ways in which they made use of the application. These consistencies became part of the norms and structures of use through both action and reinforcement. Some of the ways in which early adopters used Facebook were not planned by the designers and developers of Facebook, yet these consistent actions became part of the system and remained constant as Facebook became available to an ever-widening pool of users.

Similarly, early users of Twitter also helped develop and establish the social system of tweeting. Twitter users began using special symbols, such as a hashtag, to add special meaning to words in order to organize or distinguish tweets. This practice was continually reinforced until it became part of the structure of interaction on Twitter. Countless other examples of this behavior occur in the online world.

In the offline world, we can examine interaction in various contexts and see similar behaviors. For example, as information and library professionals with advanced degrees, you may be put in a situation where there are norms and rules dictating how you present yourself to others. As a public librarian on the reference desk, you may have certain rules and norms dictating how you can respond to a patron’s request both at a micro and a macro level. At the micro level, you have a duty to remain professional, which may entail certain rules for communicating and interacting with others. This type of library professionalism may be different from a professional in business or health, as each field has different expectations, norms, and rules on which to rely. At the macro level, libraries are in a different class from businesses or health organizations in the U.S.A., thus different rules, norms, and expectations are applied at this level as well. These social structures can influence the ways in which we identify ourselves and present ourselves to others.

These and other factors place pressure on us to act and interact with others in specific ways depending on several factors including time, context, and the roles in which we act.

In the third blog post, I will describe several incidents in which persons interacting on social media have presented themselves in ways that were detrimental to their careers.

Giddens, A. (1986). The constitution of society: Outline of the theory of structuration. Cambridge: Polity.

Puzzle pieces photo by Hans-Peter Gauster on Unsplash
Soccer table photo by Mpho Mojapelo on Unsplash