For SLIS student Angelo Roselle, participating in a research project with Dr. Patricia Franks regarding how government agencies can manage records created using new social media tools seemed like an ideal mixture of his personal passions and professional goals.
Roselle, who will graduate in May 2010, wants to work in a federal government archive and spent some of his SLIS coursework examining how librarians can use Web 2.0 technologies. On a personal level, he’s an admitted “daily” Facebook user and has marshaled tools including Second Life, Twitter and Yahoo Pipes to connect with other information professionals and keep up on LIS trends.
Involvement in the research project provides Roselle with “a unique understanding about federal government agencies and the steps they are taking to integrate social media tools and government operations,” he said.
Roselle is one of two research assistants helping Franks with her project, which intends to identify and describe social media initiatives of federal agencies, determine which agencies have reversed their decision to use social media and why, and then make recommendations for best practices for management of social media records.
Roselle, who works about 20 hours a week on the project, has researched close to 200 government websites, looking for such things as the amount of activity on their social media accounts and if the social media accounts are linked to the agency’s websites. Roselle is also locating agency policies that address social media. In addition, he is researching instances where agencies have restricted their usage of social media in order to understand the reasons behind those decisions.
“Open communication and transparency is a goal behind this move towards government use of social media tools,” Roselle said. “Though this research, I think we will find opportunities to explore best practices for use of social media by information professionals,” Roselle said.
Social media tools are integral to the research process itself. Roselle lives in El Monte, Calif., and meets with his fellow student researcher and Franks once a week in the Elluminate virtual meeting platform to track their progress and then upload their research on a wiki. They’re also using Diigo to bookmark and comment on all relevant websites and articles.
On top of the research project and his SLIS courses, Roselle currently works as an intern at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Archives in Pasadena, where he’s learning about preserving digital images in an archival institution.
Roselle’s desire to earn his MLIS degree was strongly influenced by his childhood, which was spent in a cult where his access to information was restricted. When he left and started his new life in 2001, Roselle spent much of his time at his local public library immersed in books and learning to access information.
After graduating from UCLA with a major in history, Roselle wanted a career that would help him work with people who had “grown up without intellectual freedom.” Librarianship was particularly appealing because the profession “opposes censorship, allows for the free expression of ideas, provides equal and open access to all viewpoints, and facilitates people’s pursuit of knowledge.”