Competency G: Demonstrate an understanding of basic principles and standards involved in organizing information such as classification and controlled vocabulary systems, cataloging systems, metadata schemas or other systems for making information accessible to a clientele.
Statement of Understanding of Competency G: Today’s information professionals face an unprecedented challenge. Patrons not only have access to an extraordinary amount of information but have ever-evolving resources to access it. “Libraries and information services have long practiced a number of techniques for organizing information resources of various kinds, but the proliferation of digital material is bringing in new challenges every day, demanding new and improved tools and techniques.” (Chowdhury & Chowdhury, 2007). For thousands of years, information professionals have been tasked with identifying information and organizing it into a collection that can be readily accessed by their patrons.
Modern information professionals have a variety of platforms they can utilize to facilitate information access and retrieval; to include search engines, e-books, meta-search engines, online databases, and other systems for making information accessible to patrons. Each information tool or system presents unique challenges regarding organizing information and facilitating patrons access the desired information without being inundated with information that is not relevant to their information needs. “modern-day approaches to cataloguing by using standard principles and practices is only a few hundred years old, and the most recent developments took place over the past few decades.” (Chowdhury & Chowdhury, 2007). The ability to understand how to use metadata to identify and mark information, build metadata schemas that facilitate classifying and cataloging information into a useful digital resource, and designing systems that meet ever-increasing information needs is essential for information professionals. According to Chowdhury (2010), there are several definitions of metadata:
- Metadata describes various attributes of a resource
- Metadata describes a discrete data object
- Metadata provides the users with some useful knowledge about the existences of records and their characteristics
- Metadata describes the content, format and/or attributes of an information resource
Understanding metadata is vital to being able to identify and mark materials to classify and catalog materials into a usable format or searchable collection. The proliferation of information in this digital age has made understanding how to organize information critical for information professionals. Creating metadata schemas to structure a system that organizes information that can be easily be searched by information seekers is a necessary skill that information professionals need to develop new methods for cataloging digital data. It is necessary to understand the principals of cataloging to understand how to retrieve information from library collections. Understanding how materials are cataloged aids information professionals in organizing data and effectively retrieving data from a library’s collection. According to Chowdury (2010) cataloging involves 4 different processes:
- Description of the information resource
- Choice of access points
- Choice of headings
Understanding the processes and principals that makeup cataloging allows information professionals to utilize and create information retrieval systems that make information accessible to information users. Information professionals need to understand how to gather information, create access points, standardize formats, and link access points in order to catalog materials or data. Understanding the principals behind cataloging is a necessary skill for information professionals in this digital age because it will serve as a foundation to derive new technologies and tools that will allow information organization to catalog, archive, and preserve the large about of data that now exists in this era of user-generated content. These skills will continue to be in demand and applicable to information professionals as information continues to rapidly generate.
Coursework Contributing to the Understanding of Competency G:
My understanding of Competency G was gained from knowledge imparted to me in my classes at San Jose State University.
Info246 (Advanced Information Technology Tools) focused on using PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) and SQL (Structured Query Language) to design websites that allow users to access and query information, facilitate searching online text, control access to the website, design, and use metadata schemas. In this class, we created a website that allowed the user to add and delete patrons, authored coding that manipulated an online book publishing database, and gained knowledge on how online databases are created, function, and organized.
To satisfy Competency G, I submit the following evidence:
Evidence E-1: INFO246 – Exercise #4-3
My first piece of evidence is exercise 4-3 from INFO 246 Advanced Information Technology Tools. The assignment was to author a program using HTML that would organize baseball teams by years and win total. I accurately used HTML markers to describe data points and present them in a digital format. I included this piece of evidence in my portfolio because it demonstrates my understanding of using metadata to classify and organize data into an easily understood digital format. The skills gained in this assignment allowed me to have a clear understanding of how to create metadata schema that will provide information to clientele in a digital format.
Evidence E-2: INFO246 – Assignment #4
My second piece of evidence is assignment 4 from my INFO 246 class (Advanced Information Technology Tools). This assignment asked the students in INFO 246 to create a PHP program that organized information and converted it into a digital format. I authored a PHP program that provided structure and context to the provided resource. My program specified data elements, provided descriptions of those elements, and facilitated information retrieval from a specified element. I included this piece of evidence in my portfolio because it demonstrates my understanding of how to design and create a system that effectively provides users with useful knowledge and the existence of records. The assignment clearly demonstrates my ability to create systems that are capable of classifying and cataloging collections, identifying, and managing collection and patron records.
Evidence E-3: LIBR246 – Assignment #5
My third piece of evidence is assignment 5 from INFO 248 Advanced Information Technology Tools. The assignment was to solve problems posed by the instructor using SQL. The teacher assigned students to create a table that defined resources while specifying attributes of each element. The exercise demonstrates the ability to use SQL to establish information architecture, databases, and manage content. Through this exercise, I gained an understanding of how to facilitate interoperability between resource environments, create an electronic database that will organize information effectively, ensure, track, and control the content in the resource, and provide intuitive functions for users. I included this piece of evidence in my portfolio because it demonstrates my understanding of how to create a system that ensures interoperability between digital and nondigital content by identifying data points and defining resource characteristics that meet patrons needs. I have learned how to create a system that creates or update records for a collection, as well as differentiate and account for the varying relationships between data points.
The skills that I have acquired from San Jose State University in digital technologies have been vitally important to my future as an information professional. The course I have taken have given me a knowledge using technology to digitally classify and catalogue information, digitize large records and data points, design a unique system that is tailored to the needs of the clientele that utilize the collections managed by the system, and the ability to adjust the system requires in such a manner that would ensure interoperability between the ever-increasing amount of formats information users can access.
Chowdhury, G. G. (2010). Introduction to modern information retrieval. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman Publishers.
Chowdhury, G. G., & Chowdhury, S. (2007). Organizing Information: From the Shelf to the Web. London: Facet Publishing.