On the bus, I started skimming through the introductory chapter of an introductory textbook to one of my introductory library science classes.
I was immediately bored.
Well, not bored exactly, but asking myself “why is this important?” This opening chapter explained that the book would use the term “information package” to refer to all could-be-cataloged materials, be it book, CD, or website, because there were just too many variables to simply call these things “items.”
And deep down I had the slightest little twinge of… panic. I thought, “Oh no. Is this what every library science class will be like? The meta of metadata? The splitting of hairs?”
Well, sure, some of it might be like that. Every field has examples of analysis that goes too far (too far for some people… like me). In English studies, one could debate the finer points of using a dash (-) instead of an ellipsis (which I almost exclusively use according to the Rainwater definition of “a unit of three small dots that signifies a trailing off in thought”). In Linguistics there might be colleagues not speaking to each other over disagreements on the amorphous schwa. This kind of thing is bound to happen wherever you have an abundance of over-educated people.
So I decided that I needed to give myself something to keep nearby for those moments when I ask “Is this all there is?” which will probably happen quite often before this whole graduate school adventure is over. I need to write out my own personal reasons for studying library science, my own personal ideas of what I want to do when I’m done. Then, whenever I start to wonder if I’m in the right profession, I’ll look over my little manifesto and ask myself if it still applies and remind myself that libraries come in many, many different manifestations. Thus I will maintain some optimism.