GSLIS: A How-to-Do-It Manual*

I know you are all angry with me because yesterday I didn’t reveal the project I mentioned on Thursday. That’s because it wasn’t ready until later in the day than I thought it would be. Oh, you’re not? You’re just here wondering if I have finished Fetching (yes) or Lady Eleanor (no)? You’ll have to wait.

Anyway, the project which I coded in basically a day is the web companion to The Guide for GSLIS Students, a brand-new student handbook for my graduate program. When I started the program in Fall ’05, the handbook I was given was the generic Simmons College handbook, which really told me nothing that I needed to know as a graduate student. (It kills me that the generic college stuff they produce is so undergraduate-centric, since the Quick Facts page currently states that there are 1,900 undergraduates and 2,800 grad students.) I spent a ton of time crawling around the GSLIS and Simmons websites looking for the information I needed, and not always having luck finding it. I wondered why this information hadn’t been gathered in one place.

I can’t be sure, but I probably asked this question of the pubs team supervisor, and that’s when the pubs team resurrected a project that had been languishing — a student handbook for the program. The earliest form was the New Students Community, which I worked on quite a lot. That information, plus a lot more, was taken by a friend/colleague, and turned into an amazing print publication called The Guide for GSLIS Students. One big feature of The Guide is that we wanted to create companion webpages that would contain all of the links mentioned in the book. This way, instead of typing out long strange URLs, students can just keep the handbook webpage bookmarked, and with a couple of clicks be right where they want to go. Obviously, a web page can reflect changes in URLs more easily and quickly than can a print publication.
That is what I have been working on the past couple of days. New student orientation was yesterday, and while they didn’t receive an actual copy of the handbook (problems at the printer) they did get a flyer pointing them to The Guide’s web companion, where they could download a PDF of it and check out the links. And where you can check it out too, if you are so inclined.

We’re really excited about this project and happy that it is ready, though obviously it would have been better if the students could have gotten their actual copy yesterday. But at least the web companion was ready fairly quickly.

If you do take a look at this project–Simmons GSLIS student or not–and you have any comments or feedback, please let me know! Leave a comment or send me an email (spinstah at gmail dot com).

*Lame in-joke for those who have taken a class on public librarianship. 

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