Monthly Archives: September 2014

Blog Post on SIA’s The Bigger Picture

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Exciting news! I just learned that my blog post has been published to the Smithsonian Institution Archives blog. I researched, developed, and wrote an article on John N. Robinson in the course of my digital services internship at SIA this past summer. Here’s a link, because you know you want to check it out.

Enjoy!

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Thoughts on System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and System Analysis

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  • Bhute, A. N., & Meshram, B. B. (2013). System Analysis and Design for Multimedia Retrieval Systems. The International Journal of Multimedia & Its Applications, 5(6), 25-44.
  • Spears, J. L. & Parrish, J.L.Jr. (2013). IS security requirements identification from conceptual models in systems analysis and design: The Fun & Fitness, Inc. Case. Journal of Information Systems Education, 24(1), 17-29.

Within the system analysis process, proposed systems need to meet the needs of the user, with user facing technology and internal server processes agreeing to produce informed and useful results. The systems analysis phase involves determining the purpose and intended outcome of the system design, measuring user requirements, and then establishing a model for testing systems to determine whether they comply with the necessary specifications. From there, the design phase involves planning, generation of coding support, and testing to ensure the structure is adequate. Databases provide the data needed to run and maintain information systems. Raw data necessitates the need for organization and curation (which is where metadata comes in).

Information security is a source of immediate concern when implementing system analysis. Given the increased usage of mobile applications and increased likelihood of information exchange via mobile devices, many developers are not planning for this when developing information systems.  This leads to a higher likelihood of security breaches and weakened mobile support platforms in the information architecture. Knowledge of user requirements informs needs in the planning stage. The problem is that security is not seen as a need, but as another detail on the package level. Spears and Parrish raise concerns about under-developed security planning in IS, especially with so much confidential data being collected and stored by entities in every area of human-computer interaction. Acknowledging that this is an issue is a good first step and hopefully more pressure will be placed on IS users to ensure this type of content is restricted to authorized users only and not just floating around the information web. This is where the importance of information architecture comes into play.

The System Development Life Cycle serves to promote system users having a voice in development. Communication and feedback are key. Instead of generic software packages being purchased from vendors with libraries and other organizations having little to no say over the products they use in information management, the SDLC would open the door for designers, marketers, and purchasers formulating a mutually beneficial product. Pros include a higher level of satisfaction from buyer, an increased level of communication and support from systems developers, and products that are custom designed for specific situations and environments. Cons may include increased cost (usually anything custom costs money) and possibly a more competitive market between vendors, due to a few providers working closely with the customer base. Smaller organizations would probably also be less likely to be able to co-design their information system, especially if there is a steep price sign.

“I knew the pathway like the back of my hand…”

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It turns out that the last semester is actually the hardest, for a number of reasons. But anyhow, I am going into my last semester of grad school, still working full-time, and serving as the president of my school’s SAA student chapter. So lots of fun all around! One of the classes I am taking, LSC 555 (Information Systems) requires periodic blog posts reflecting on required reading. Since I already use this blog for very periodic postings, they will be hosted here. Be informed. The other class I am taking is LSC 634 Humanities Information. It’s basically an overview of using and evaluating sources as a librarian for the arts and humanities. It seems interesting so far with a lot of practical information. Last but not least, I am taking….COMPS!! Because that means I am (almost) so done! So yes, I am excited.

We’ve started back into the semester at work. As such, I’ve been caught up in hiring and training student employees, teaching students (and sometimes faculty) how to use their library accounts and best take advantage of library resources, and trying a few new things on the job. One is that I started cross-training with Research Assistance (formerly known as Reference) over the summer. Now that the semester has started, I’m excited to see it when it’s busy. I’m also the liaison between Access Services and the Research, Teaching, and Learning divisions. It has allowed me to see what librarianship is like behind the scenes and what types of skills are priceless. It has also allowed me to build relationships with the librarians and find ways to get involved on their end. To that end, I’m currently working on a few LibGuides. One of which (seriously gleeful here) will feature resources for those studying African American Studies and the African Diaspora. In case you haven’t yet figured it out, AfAm Studies is a serious area of interest for me and I am tickled pink to be able to put my enthusiasm and skills to good use. I’ll be sure to post a link to the guide when it is done.

In other news, my blog post should be published at SIA pretty soon. Keep an eye out for that.

Retroactive Posting: June 2014

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I was working on this post a while back and never had a chance to post it, so here it is. Trust me, this summer was bussyyy…I’m still playing catch-up. Enjoy! -AM

In the three months since I last posted, a lot has happened. I completed Spring 2014 semester classes, as well as my first semester of summer 2014 classes. LSC 557: Libraries and Information in Society was particularly enjoyable, it being the liveliest class I’ve taken so far (entirely a good thing) and included lots of debates and discussions about current trends in the information field. You know that stereotype about librarians being boring? Not true, so not true.

I am currently halfway through my summer practicum. I am working at the Smithsonian Institution Archives, my third placement at a Smithsonian unit. The others were the Anacostia Community Museum Archives (’12) and the Archives of American Art (’13). I have greatly enjoyed the experiences I’ve obtained so far. Most of my previous experience has been from the manuscript side of archives, so I was pleased at the prospect of working with audiovisual materials this summer. I am working on digitizing video footage with the Digital Services Division within SIA.

The first project I worked on during my placement was to review Here at the Smithsonian episodes and divide them into shorter “videocast” segments for eventual internet airings. The episodes date from the 1980s and feature different Smithsonian units, as well as new exhibits that the Institution wanted to publicize. From these shorter segments, I identified the ones that I found most interesting or intriguing. Because of the format and content, I felt some of the segments could be used as “throwback” exhibits highlighting anniversaries. For example, both the National Museum of African Art and the National Museum of American History celebrated their 50th anniversaries this year. It would be neat to build online exhibits highlighting their pasts, including footage of past exhibits.  The other idea I had was to utilize some of the segments featuring exhibits at the National Museum of American History, the Anacostia Community Museum and the National Air and Space Museum to examine how the Smithsonian Institution has interpreted African American history throughout the years.

As an MLIS graduate student with an interest in African American history and culture, I am always interested in the interpretation of race and public memory.  Within the Smithsonian Institution, the Anacostia Community Museum (ACM) and the National Museum of American History (NMAH) have played the biggest roles in showcasing this history, with ACM being heavily involved in educating and promoting African American history from the perspective of an individual community. In a way, until recently, ACM has served as the “default African American museum” in the Smithsonian Institution. With the construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture being currently underway on the mall, it will be fascinating to see how these roles will change. Personally, I hope to see some collaboration in programming and exhibits.

Since completing the Here at the Smithsonian footage, I have been working on the Black Aviators Videohistory Collection. The oral history project focused on interviewing five pioneers of black flight: Cornelius Coffey, Lewis Jackson, Janet Bragg, Alfred “Chief” Anderson, and Harold Hurd. Unlike many oral history projects, these interviews were captured in video.