My research interests are motivated by librarianship's call to service and a desire to harness technology to its fullest potential.
Academic Libraries and Scholarly Communication
These two fields have quite the longstanding relationship with technology. College and university libraries undergo transformations to information commons. Social networking and the Internet expands scholarly communication, making the invisible college less so. Academia is the way I can incorporate my desire to teach with library work, technology and cutting-edge research work. With the rise of the Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) and experiences as a student in one MOOC course, I am curious about the role libraries can and will play for MOOC students and providers.
Government and politics has been part of my life since I was sixteen years old and participated in Close Up Washington, a weeklong program that turned Capitol Hill into a living classroom. It led to an undergraduate degree in government/public administration and lifelong civic participation. As the Obama administration works to make government information open, centralized, accessible and usable - to paraphrase our Constitution, a true government by the people and for the people. Libraries have been the place patrons go for government information in times of prosperity and disaster. There is a need for well-trained, dynamic government librarians, and I am hoping to be a part of that through government documents work in academia, future research, and eventually a Master's in Public Administration (MPA).
Information Architecture and User Experience Design
I never had time to take classes at Pratt in these fields (they met in the afternoon, and because of work I could not take afternoon classes until my final semester), but the more I learned about them from my peers and colleagues with background (particularly from InfoCamp Seattle 2010), the more I wanted to learn about it. This is the "science" in "information science" - how information is constructed, how users interact with information. Although the field is primarily digitally based, particularly in user experience design (aka UXD), theory and practice can easily translate to other worlds.
We are at a crossroads in what researchers call early adult information literacy. According to Project Info Lit from the University of Washington, students come to the college campus with little formal research skills, a desire to go towards the first or easiest resource they see, little desire to carry over any learned research skills to other tasks, and too much reliance on Google. The librarian's role now changes from information hunter and gatherer to include evaluator, critical thinker, innovator and teacher. I hope to conduct future research into perceptions of their information literacy skills from students, faculty and librarian and the effects K-12 library education has on college students' information literacy skills.
Like the academic library and information literacy, digital information changes reference services. Digitization brings primary sources online. Electronic databases are portals to cross-disciplinary research and thousands of citations and full-text articles. The rise of the information commons changes reference interactions. Some herald the rise of digital information as the death of traditional reference services. I argue that it will be the resurgence of reference service - reference with one foot in the world of print works, one in the world of electronic resources, with both working in tandem.