SIGIA-L Mail Archives: Re: SIGIA-L: IA/HCI Education (summary)
Re: SIGIA-L: IA/HCI Education (summary)
From: karl fast (karl.fast_at_pobox.com)
Date: Tue Feb 05 2002 - 22:06:01 EST
> most of the people on this list....are mongrels of one kind of
> another. They have degrees in English or Anthro or Journalism or
> Poli Sci, not HCI or cognitive psych.
In my case it's Engineering Physics. I finish my MLIS in April and
worked for Argus (albeit briefly; at the end). This background has
made me an odd duck in the MLIS program.
>From this perspective, I have two things I'd like to note:
1. For most people in my class their knowledge stops when they get
to the computer. The MLIS doesn't help them overcome this.
Most of my classmates have weak mental models of what is
happening inside the machine. They can use the machine just fine
and learn new skills, but they don't have any real understanding
of what happens inside that box. In many courses, though not all,
this is a serious hindrance.
Their mental model doesn't need to be perfect (mine sure isn't),
but it should be much better.
Based on my experience, an LIS school is a poor place to develop
a good mental model of the machine.
2. LIS schools do not talk about DESIGN. But they could. And if they
did, it would dramatically change the value of the degree (IMHO).
The big concepts that underly all courses in LIS are
(a) management (b) organization (c) service (d) evaluation, and
(e) control. Design is either not there, severaly muted, or
limited to handful of classes.
Example. In cataloguing you learn to cataloguing resources
according to AACR2. The problem is how to catalogue things, but
the solution is provided in a thick book called AACR2. You are
simply learning to work within a existing framework. You are not
designing anything--AACR2 has been designed for you (although if
you know much about AACR2 you might argue that saying AACR2 was
designed is being generous).
The point is that cataloguing *could* be about design. You learn
AACR2 cataloguing. Fine. Then you take the basic theory and
principles and apply it to the design of new cataloguing schemes
(of course today it's fashionable to call them metadata schemes).
I've taken a few classes in which design and the design process
are important. Friends have remarked how different these classes
are. Yet they are where I feel most at home and most satisfied
with the course material. It's clear to me that this concept of
design is the sticker. It's foreign to most people in LIS, not
because they can't do it, but because the concept of design is
In my mind, LIS would benefit a great deal by rethinking many of
their courses in terms of design. Instead of ignoring the
concepts, make it clear that design and the design process are
important. If you overlay the concept of design on top of the
existing concepts (manage, evaluate, organize, service, and
control) I think great things would happen in LIS.
Does this make any sense? Does this resonate with anyone?
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2
: Sun Nov 23 2003 - 22:55:01 EST