Student Alison Peters Helps Develop and Promote a Publications Wiki during an Independent Study Course

Community Profile

When San José State University School of Information student Alison Peters read the spring 2013 call for students to participate in an independent study project, she was intrigued. Lecturer Laurie Putnam sought help developing the Library and Information Science (LIS) Publications Wiki, an interactive online tool that profiles hundreds of publications that students and information professionals can consider writing for and reading.

Peters decided to apply to help develop the wiki, and brought her love of writing and editing to the project. She researched publications like American Libraries, the flagship publication of the American Library Association, making sure information regarding the publication’s purpose, submission guidelines and circulation figures was up to date in the wiki.

Peters and fellow iSchool student Adrienne Mathewson updated profiles after doing research on the publications’ websites and other LIS reference sites. Then they read through each other’s profiles to make sure they were as informative as possible.

“We’d bounce ideas off each other and read as if we were the person seeking to write for the publication, making sure everything we needed to know was included,” Peters said.

They also contacted publication editors for their feedback and input, with the goal of making them aware of the wiki and their publication’s inclusion. Peters established ties worldwide with editors of sites such as LIBREAS: Library Ideas, an open access online journal published by Humboldt-Universität in Berlin, Germany.

Peters checked in with Putnam to share information about new sites she’d stumbled upon, open calls for contributors, and general LIS information that caught her attention and might be considered for inclusion on the wiki.

“The most enjoyable aspect of the project was following all the threads from article to article, from resource to resource,” Peters said.

She took the INFO 298 Special Studies course again in fall 2013 under Putnam’s direction, this time focusing on helping move the wiki from MediaWiki to a WordPress platform. She also helped promote the resource to students and information professionals.

Peters decided to enroll in the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program after a career counselor suggested that it might complement her love of books and writing. She was initially interested in the program’s Youth Librarianship Career Pathway. However, after working on the wiki and learning more about other online resources that provide open access to information, she is focusing on classes in information seeking and resources.

Peters started the MLIS program in spring 2011, and expects to graduate in fall 2015. She earned a bachelor’s in English from the University of California-Berkeley and an MFA in creative writing from Mills College in California. Peters also is a contributing writer for BookRiot, whose profile she developed for the wiki. After graduation, she hopes to get a job that uses both her writing and information science skills, and says teaching a combination of the two at the college level would be ideal.

Career Tips

“Do your research on professional organizations — especially those with corresponding publications. The groups themselves are a great way to meet more students and information professionals, and to gain specialized knowledge in a particular area. Most would love to hear news from students, so don’t hesitate to introduce yourself or send them a query to write an article if you come across something new, noteworthy or interesting in the course of your studies.”

Tech Tip

“Become familiar with WordPress, immediately. It’s just like using Word, for websites, and is being used so often for online content. It’s easy, fun, and will give you that little bit extra to help in your professional publishing career trajectory.”

Influential Instructor

“Laurie Putnam is the creator and driving force behind the LIS Publications Wiki. She’s also an accomplished author and the instructor behind the Publishing for the Profession course, currently in hiatus at SJSU SLIS. Without Laurie, the wiki would not exist, and I would not have the guidance, support and mentoring that I received so freely.”

Professional Affiliations

ALA and its New Members Round Table (NMRT) and Black Caucus of the ALA (BCALA)

Favorite Blogs/Websites

LIS Publications Wiki, Hack Library School (HLS), I Need a Library Job (INALJ), The Journal of Creative Library Practice