Student Tina Katz Finds Career Inspiration and Community in Trendspotting Course

Community Profile

Student Tina Katz gained an inside perspective on professional networking and industry trends at two conferences, thanks to her participation in an San José State University School of Information trendspotting course.

Katz wanted to participate in professional conferences as a student so she could learn more about the field, but she knew the experience can be an overwhelming one for new attendees. When she discovered that the iSchool offers a 1-unit course to help students prepare for and navigate through a professional conference, she signed up for two sections.

“Students receive guidance about getting the most out of the conference,” Katz explained. “We received advice about how to network, how to set goals for ourselves, and how to prepare professional business cards. Our instructor also introduced us to library leaders at the conference, and it was invaluable to make those connections.”

Katz attended both the 2011 Internet Librarian and the 2011 California Library Association/California School Library Association annual conferences. She met with fellow students online at the beginning of the semester to discuss networking techniques and to plan which sessions they would attend. During each conference, the class gathered on-site to share experiences and hear from different speakers.

“At Internet Librarian we met with library futurist Stephen Abram, who was fascinating,” Katz said. “He talked with us about the future of libraries, about gaming and how it interacts with learning, and what technologies are trending for the future.”

Katz also had the opportunity to connect with the Chief Librarian of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, which led to her spring 2012 internship in the museum’s research library.

Learning about emerging trends in information environments was another key benefit of Katz’s conference participation. “I felt excited about all of these digital career opportunities I didn’t know existed, and I began thinking of information services in a whole new way,” she said. “It seemed like this new path just opened up in front of me.”

Katz is exploring the library and information science field after a twenty-year career in digital animation. Her past experience working with digital art files provides her with a unique perspective on digital asset management and user needs. As a visual effects and touch-up artist on films like Harry Potter and the Deathly Harrows, Dumbo, Fantasia, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Katz learned how to create, name, manipulate, and manage digital files so they could be easily retrieved and shared.

Katz reached a turning point in her career when the animation industry changed and began outsourcing much of its work overseas. She realized that a lot of the skills she had in her “career toolbox” matched those held by information professionals, so she began investigating MLIS programs. SJSU School of Information appealed to her because she could earn her degree online while working and raising her two kids.

Katz enrolled in the program in fall 2009 and is concentrating on digital technologies and information services. She plans to attend the INFO 298 Trendspotting seminar at the Special Libraries Association conference in Chicago, and is also looking forward to participating in the iSchool-sponsored Library 2.012 Global Virtual Conference before graduating in fall 2012.