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It’s my last term in library school.  It will be a term full of job hunting, packing, pre-moving, farewell-ing stress.  With that in mind, I’m conflicted about which classes to take in my last semester.  I will only take 2 in order to spare myself any sort of pre-graduation melt down.  But …

But …

But … which two classes?  This is where your outsider / experienced / ironic perspective comes in handy.


Class:  Understanding Multimedia Information: Concepts and Practices
Description:

Designed for those with an interest exploiting multimedia information in web and electronic publishing projects, students will be introduced to the theory behind, and the tools associated with, a wide variety of audio (e.g., MP3, WAV, WM9, RealAudio), graphic (JPEG, GIF, PNG, etc.), music (MIDI, GUIDO, etc.) and text information formats (e.g., PS, PDF, etc.). After completing this course students should be empowered to make intelligent choices in selecting appropriate multimedia formats to match particular design requirements. A mix of lectures, demos and hands-on work. Students should have access to a personal computer upon which they can experiment on their own with downloaded multimedia software tools. Students must be competent in basic computing including the installation and configuration of software packages. Must understand basic HTML and simple web site construction tools (e.g., FTP, text editing, etc.).

Pros:
It’s on-campus!  (as opposed to online classes, which drive me nuts.)
It will give lots of hands-on experience with cool stuff.
It’s visual.  I definitely think visually, that’s something I’ve learned in grad school.
Seems like it would be pretty good for any future job.

Cons:
It’s on-campus.  If I get a great job that starts before May, and I need to move early … what do I do?
I’m a little worried about downloading lots of programs to my computer.  My sole computer.  My must-last-for-a-couple-more-years-at-least computer.


Class: Administration & Management of Libraries & Information Centers
Description:

Designed to explore the principles that govern how organizations and institutions work, this course provides a foundation for and introduction to the theories, practices and procedures involved in the management and administration of libraries and information centers.

Pros:
It’s online, so I could move before the end of the semester if need be.
Administration is a necessary evil in libraries, apparently, so I suppose it would be good to know about it.
Other students have told me there is a grant-writing exercise involved, and that would be really, REALLY good to know, me thinks.

Cons:
It’s online.  Someone shoot me.
The very terms “administration” and “management” make me twitch.


Class:  Document Processing
Description:

An introduction to XML-based document processing technologies and standards appropriate to electronic publishing. Leveraging descriptive encoding in standard formats (XML, SGML, HTML), industry-standard styling and transformation technologies (XSLT, CSS) can be deployed within layered systems to create and maintain formatted publications on and off the web (in HTML, PDF and print). Course participants will build such a system on an open-source platform. Issues to be covered include processing architectures (batch, server-and client-side processing); “vertical” publishing formats such as Docbook, DITA, NLM/NCBI, TEI; validation and quality-assurance methods and technologies; ancillary production pipelines (SVG graphics, RSS/Atom feeds, “galley proof” versions); document metadata and aggregation; and the role of proprietary publishing applications.

Pros:
It’s online, so I could move before the end of the semester if need be.
Lot’s of techie acronyms, which come in handy for impressing people.
I’m even interested in these acronyms!  I took a weekend TEI workshop and loved it, so many of these things sound really interesting and useful.

Cons:
It’s online. Someone shoot me.
I know myself well enough to know that I bore easily with techie acronyms. Especially if I’m just doing the same thing with them over and over again.  But if the activities in the class are varied and challenging, I’ll have a better chance of staying engaged.  But I won’t know till I’m in the class, of course.
I want to work with training people more than training programs, so is a class like this really up my alley?


Class: Library Buildings
Description:

Studies the library’s physical plant in the light of changing concepts and patterns of library service; analyzes present-day library buildings (both new and remodeled) and their comparison with each other as well as with buildings of the past; examines the interrelationship of staff, collections, users, and physical plant; discussion supplemented by visits to new libraries and conference with their staffs. A two-day field trip is required.

Pros:
It’s on-campus!
I’ve been interested in this class since my first semester but never fit it in.  I could feasibly fit in next semester.
Architecture! It doesn’t get much more visual than that.  I love, love, love the nuances of buildings.

Cons:
It’s on-campus.  If I get a great job that starts before May, and I need to move early … what do I do?
Will I really have a need for this kind of information?  I’m going into special libraries, not public or academic.  Is that short-sighted of me?

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