Library (Student) Day in the Life: Tuesday

7:30ish – Roll out of bed with the distinct feeling that I dreamt something weird, with characters from my real life playing unsettling new roles in my head. Get ready. Wear my new Modcloth sale dress and feel triumphant that I have enough time to make coffee.

8:19am – Catch the bus. Realize I have forgotten my coffee cup on the kitchen table. Oh, and my underutilized smartphone’s still home too.

8:30am – Work. It’s an Avalon day, so I’m back up in my cubicle in the Digital Library Program. I use Google Reader to create an RSS feed of web content we’ll be monitoring–my first time ever doing so. It’s not exactly a painful task to comb through library tech and A/V preservation sites to curate the most important of the sites, so the time goes quickly. (That’s right, I’ve never used an RSS feed or Google Reader. Now I’m a convert and can’t wait to make one for myself–no longer will I suddenly recall a library blog and check up on it out of the blue! I’ll have a real system. What a breakthrough! I seriously never knew about this before…)

Other Avalon tasks I tackle include determining an alternate plan for a canceled meeting, reviewing a new layout for our wiki, and going through some minor Drupal issues. But mostly, my morning is spent drilling down on our target communities. With the Avalon website complete, my responsibilities will shift for a while. I’ll still be tasked with content creation, but mainly my focus will be on preparing for Release 1 of the system at the end of February. Usability testing and marketing the release will be at the forefront.

1pm – Time for my first class of the day, Systems Analysis and Design. The class itself is mainly a seminar on project management; we work in groups on a semester-long project to apply the concepts picked up in class.

It’s out of the ordinary but first we have a guest speaker from the University Information Technology Services. I’ve adored UITS ever since I binged on STEPS workshops the first semester I was here at IU. Today the woman comes with swag, stickers and handouts, and starts off by talking about the technology fee we all pay (just below $200) and how we should make the most of it. She talks about the IT Training options (STEPS workshops and, IU Box (new cloud storage–50GB!) the IU Mobile app, and IU anyWare (software in the cloud). It’s all impressive and I enjoy the speaker; she’s quirky and unpolished in a really refreshing way. Her brief presence reminds me of how important outreach and instruction is to me–I don’t ever want to be stuck in a job where I’m at a desk all day.

When she’s done with her talk, we do an awkward round robin type thing to determine our groups for the aforementioned semester-long project. We were able to view the proposals online, so I know exactly which one I want and I stick to it. The problem definition focuses on the lack of a calendar within SLIS marking events, leaving anyone managing said events without an easy way to schedule. Not only has this affected me directly as SAA-SC President, it’s also the most doable within the timeframe and convenient for interviewing and research purposes. Simple is necessary. I knew how wild my semester would be so I made a list of priorities in early January–and classes weren’t on it. To clarify: being an efficient and reliable team member is always important to me… but taking on an ambitious project for a class isn’t, unless it has a clear incentive. There is no incentive for me beyond getting through the class, so my energies are better spent elsewhere.

3:45pm – Class ends and I run off to do inbox management in the SLIS lab. I have a 2-hour window until my next class and I still have to finish up a reading I didn’t get to last night. There’s a barrage of emails:

  • An AI acquaintance contacts me to make sure we’re all set for me to teach a Zotero workshop for her class at the end of February. This is the first class I’ve actually been sought out to teach! When she submitted the instruction request it even said in the extra text box, “I would prefer to have Brianna Marshall as the instructor.” Wow! (Thanks Sara!)
  • I hear back from my contact at the Button Museum, where I’ll be interning remotely this semester. I’ll be assisting with quality control of the records, so we’re ironing out the workflow.
  • A reminder that I’m teaching a business class tomorrow afternoon.
  • I’m asked to meet for an interview next week regarding a digital archives internship for summer 2013. I’m thrilled; the level of work would be a step up from my current experience and it would be quite valuable for me professionally. Also, I love working with cultural heritage collections.
  • Links from the syllabus embedded in the learning management system my professor uses are malfunctioning. I’m her Faculty Assistant, so I need to figure this out ASAP.

I work through these emails and more without feeling like I make a dent. ┬áIn the end I don’t even have time to review my class materials to the extent I would like to.

5:45pm – Class. Organizational Informatics, with the professor who I also act as Faculty Assistant for. She’s engaging and dynamic, and learning about how organizations function is quite interesting. The material is all brand new to me. I’m finding it useful as I consider library leadership and administration as a path I may take sometime down the road. For the class, we read a good mix of theory and case studies. This week, as we discuss communication and trust and organizational memory and competing values, the connections are finally starting to solidify in my head. The class is about big concepts, and sometimes the big concepts are a bit sluggish to come to me in the evening.

8:45pm – Catch the bus and commiserate with a friend and neighbor en route to home sweet home, an apartment filled with piles of dishes, books, papers, clothes. You name it and it’s probably in a pile in my apartment. A bit more work on the agenda for tonight, but not much. The LSB isn’t even home and I bask in the quiet.

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