Southern Connecticut State University
Department of Information and Library Science
©2002-2007 Amy L. Ranger

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An electronic portfolio is a thoughtful collection of artifacts and reflections, which together uniquely expresses a student's educational journey. The capstone portfolio is a culminating experience at Southern Connecticut State University, and is a requirement for the Master of Library Science degree.

With gratitude to Dr. J. M. Kusack, my advisor, and Laura McKay, secretary for the Department of Information and Library Science, without whom this venture would have been far more difficult.

The Capstone Project

I have assembled this electronic portfolio to provide examples of my critical-thinking development and skills regarding the field of librarianship.

Each of the courses that I took, from the required courses (ILS-501, Introduction to Information Science and Technology; ILS-503, Foundations of Librarianship; ILS-504 Reference and Information Resources and Services; ILS-506, Information Analysis and Organization; and ILS-680, Research and Evaluation) to those that were recommended as appropriate for me, have contributed greatly to my understanding and development as a librarian.

I learned that there are many paths to librarianship. My original intent was to follow the "Academic track" but I veered off that road near the end of the program in favor of the "Special libraries track" because of the affinity I felt for the tasks in librarianship that are somewhat non-traditional.

Indexing and Abstracting (ILS-531), for example, was a fascinating course that challenged me to quickly grasp the significance of a book or article, and reduce it to a succinct but bare-bones description (an abstract). You may wish to view my abstract analysis document. A thesaurus is necessary to both abstracting and indexing, and I reviewed two thesauri for this course. The indexing part of the class forced me to focus on the most important topics and keywords, then correlate those terms in a logical fashion. A typical index utilizes just 5% of the words in a text. Indexing an online journal was extremely challenging and yet greatly rewarding, and the course opened my eyes to a type of work that I had not previously considered.

Library Management (ILS-565), offered the opportunity to think about library work from the point of view of a manager. Dr. Kusack was quite clear that a major part of librarianship is management. It was interesting to learn and think about the diverse tasks that a library manager or department head must be able to handle, especially regarding sensitive topics. This course expanded on themes brought up in the Foundations of Librarianship (ILS-503) course, such as the Library Bill of Rights.

Instructional Design Principles (ILS-575) made me aware of the complexities involved with instruction. The diverse needs of learners are such that extensive planning and testing should be performed before implementing an instructional plan.

Research and Evaluation (ILS-680) provided me with an opportunity to query academic librarians at baccalaureate-level institutions across the country on their attitudes toward marketing library services. My analysis of their responses indicates that college librarians are actively reaching out to students today, helping them understand and use reliable information resources. 

The Digital Libraries (ILS-655) course, in which I created a digital library of my husband's family history (complete with digitized documents, audio tracks of favorite songs, home movies, photographs, and links to websites on Italian immigration) provided a venue for me to utilize many of the skills that I developed in library school. My digital library project required knowledge of cataloging and classification, indexing, and the development of an extended website using HTML. I also became proficient with digital image manipulation, for items that were "born digital" as well as those analog images that were digitally converted. The Proni Digital Library is a professional project that provided a great deal of personal satisfaction.

Special Libraries (ILS-564), like the Digital Libraries course, also built on lessons learned in earlier library classes, as this course discussed the duties and responsibilities of librarians in non-traditional settings. Librarians working in corporate, medical, or law libraries, as well as  independent information professionals, must be both strong advocates for librarianship and able to justify their existences with regard to the company's fiscal policy and mission statement. I created a brochure for ViaProni Information Services, my own (new) company, as a class project.

I greatly enjoyed the diversity of classmates in my courses at Southern Connecticut State University, as I interacted with students from Europe and Asia, as well as from all over the United States. I look forward to attending library conferences in the future, as a way to renew acquaintances and build on friendships begun in these courses. I would like to thank the  classmates, who, in different ways and at different times, provided me with the encouragement and inspiration to continue. Several of my instructors were instrumental in the path that I chose. I have an enormous amount of respect for their work.

I am forever indebted to my former husband, Tullio, who provided technical, financial, and emotional support during this program, and was a willing test subject more than once. 

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Last updated 2007-06-03. ALR. Contact me.