Saturday, August 25, 2007

Fall semester's classes

Fall semester starts next Wednesday, actually, Thursday for me because I don't have a Wednesday class, but I'm already reading articles for the first day's meeting. Phil assigned 6 articles about research in the field of information studies. That and his 74 page syllabus round out a full weekend's concentrated effort. Nevertheless, I took off a full 4 hours this morning to work diligently in the garden. It was a beautiful morning, everything needed pruning, fertilizing and in some cases, transplanting, to prepare it for the 3 month-long fall growing season here in Austin (we expect first frost around Thanksgiving each year).

Now I'm reading, reviewing my fellow Ph.D. students' blogs and websites to find out what each one is studying, well, not every one, but the ones I know already, and others if they are into anything similar to what interests me, at the moment. So, I'm getting some ideas for how to tweak this blog to make it a little more useful as a collection of important information related to my work at the iSchool. I need to add some static pages, but I'm not sure Blogger does that. In fact, I don't recall anything about that. I'll check when I'm finished with this post.

For now, it's enough to get back into the habit of organizing readings, writing papers, and beginning the process of thinking about where my interests fit into the grand scheme of things within info studies. Some of the articles I read made me feel that I don't fit in at all. I seem to come at it from a different perspective than the articles indicate most people who are attracted to this field come from. I don't really think about representing information. I just think about supporting research and scholarship, and how that will change as the forms of scholarly communication change. I guess I'm not thinking about the mechanics of helping people actually, but whether that will be done in any way remotely like it's done today, say in 10 years or 20 years.

This doesn't seem to fit in with what I'm reading about research in the field. But then Lance Hayden's critical discourse analysis around red light surveillance doesn't seem to fit in either and he was accepted to candidacy on Thursday. I'm pretty sure there's room for people whose interests seem a bit tangential perhaps, but with the changes in the definition of what information studies is, should come changes in what kinds of people the field attracts. And these articles are all pretty old, at least by my standards (from the 90's). But that's another issue. Enough for now.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Hi Georgia,

As a non-PhD student maybe I shouldn't talk, but I have several PhD friends here who who face a similar tangential issue. Some only seem that way and some really are. ;) Most of these folks will strengthen our field in various ways.

As for your interests, I just wanted to ensure that you are aware of Carole Palmer, who was my MLS advisor. She works in your areas of interest.

http://www.lis.uiuc.edu/oc/people/bio.html?id=clpalmer

Perhaps having a look at some of her work might give you a better idea of how you "fit." I do agree that forms of scholarly communication and how they change should fit in information studies.

Good luck sorting it all out and finding a good niche for you.