Student Richard Hannon Explores the Intersection of New Technologies and Academic Librarianship

Community Profile
Richard Hannon

Student Richard Hannon leverages his knowledge of two disciplines by combining his work as a community college instructor with his explorations in instructional librarianship, conference presentations, and Web 3.0.

Hannon, who holds an MA in Rhetoric and Composition from San Diego State University, is an adjunct instructor at Palomar College in San Marcos, California and at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California. He teaches library science principles in his English Composition classes to support the information literacy needs of community college students.

Realizing how well library and information science would fit with his teaching goals, Hannon enrolled in the MLIS program in fall 2008. He chose to focus his electives on academic librarianship and new technologies.

Hannon worked with a Saddleback College librarian for one of his course projects, conducting focus groups to find out how his students approached research and where they went to find information. He co-presented their findings in a breakout session at the Library Orientation Exchange (LOEX) Conference in April 2009.

“The paper was about how to get students to evaluate web resources, not by using some checklist but by recognizing that texts are created from subjective discussions in academic communities,” Hannon explained. “Students who want to evaluate these texts have to understand the source of a text and the community that the text is from.”

Hannon’s interest in learning new technologies led him to enroll in INFO 287 Seminar in Information Science: Web 3.0 and Emerging Trends with instructors Lori Bell and Jeremy Kemp in fall 2010. He researched the emerging literature on Web 3.0 and mashups, theorizing how to build better library portals for students by creating individualized pages. A mashup is a Web 3.0 application that combines sociographic data from multiple sources to create new services.

Hannon brainstormed his research project with a colleague at California State University at San Marcos, where he completed an internship during fall 2010. They talked about how the university could use the student data it collects to tailor library portals to meet students’ needs. Hannon believes individual portals can especially benefit students from minority or low-income backgrounds.

Hannon’s internship also provided experience in instructional librarianship. He helped to develop the two-week courses San Marcos librarians provide to all incoming freshmen. Hannon found that his teaching background gave him a perspective on how to build strong relationships between librarians and faculty. “Librarians have all this knowledge,” Hannon said. “It’s really a meta-knowledge that can benefit instructors and students in all the academic disciplines.”

Hannon anticipates graduating in fall 2011 and is interested in earning a PhD in library science. He plans to learn more about how unique teaching strategies can be found at the intersection of the two complementary fields of composition and library science.