Monday, January 11, 2016

LISSA's VP Presents at ALISE

Mir Parvin, our VP, recently presented the ALISE conference in Boston, MA. Below, she recounts her experience and exhorts MLIS students to explore new opportunities made possible through such professional conferences.

What is it all about?
I started off 2016 with a visit to ALISE (Association for Library and Information Science Education) conference in Boston, MA, from January 4 to January 9, 2016. My poster was selected as a work-in-progress contribution. This is my second poster in a professional conference but the first one as a primary author. My first poster was selected for SCLA conference in 2015, which won an award. My current poster has the title of “Techniques of Information Seeking Behavior and Personal Information Management (PIM) of University Students: A Pilot Study”.  The ALISE work-in-progress contributions are generally foundational in nature and will go through more developments. I attended this conference as a guest participant to my husband, Hassan Zamir, who is a SLIS PhD student and a member of ALISE.

What was my main purpose?
My poster was developed from the SLIS 707 Information Organization and Retrieval course project. It included a review on the current studies and practices in the area of information seeking and Personal Information Management (PIM). I investigated current customs of information seeking and PIM activities from the perspectives of tools and technologies. It focused on the techniques that are used for information searching and personal information management. The specific populations were the undergraduate students of University of South Carolina. The aim of this research was to compare and extend the current study findings in the area of information seeking and PIM. To explore the practices of information searching and PIM activities of undergraduate students in a knowledge-based society I took a survey through Google Forms. 

Image 1: With ALISE president and SLIS director Dr. Sam while presenting my poster
Image 1: With ALISE president and SLIS director Dr. Sam while presenting my poster
What were my experiences?
I was one of the very few MLIS students at this conference. Most of the attendees of ALISE conference are either faculty or doctoral students. It was a rewarding experience for me in terms of knowledge, networking, professional opportunities, and of course the wonder Boston city site seeing. ALISE conference is especially good for faculty, doctoral students. Most of the doctoral students’ works were related to their dissertations. There were many sessions including panel and workshops. SLIS held un-conference sessions throughout the whole conference. There was a doctoral students poster session, which was followed by an award giving ceremony. It is a great place for doctoral candidates to apply for jobs and interview the potential schools. I heard it is known as the formal ‘job-meet-market’ for various LIS professionals. SLIS doctoral students were actively visible in various sessions. Our director, Dr. Sam Hastings, was the outgoing president of ALISE. She skillfully managed, as always, the whole conference and turned it into a successful one.

Why is ALISE good for MLIS students?
MLIS students can specifically explore new opportunities. They can learn about the attending schools if they wish to start doctoral programs after the graduation. Moreover, there are advertisements for librarianship positions. The soon-to-be-graduates, therefore, can meet the employers for interviewing. Also, they can become involve with various professional organizations, which is an effective way to increase networking skills.

Mir Parvin standing by MIT Letter Display
Image 2: At Massachusetts Institute of Technology
What were some cool stuff?
I got some time to roam around Boston city. It is a very small and lovely city, only 89 square miles (the land is 48 square miles while 41 square miles are covered by water). Every corner of the city is well connected. Public transportation is always available, quick and affordable. The subway system is not that complex in comparison with New York and London ones that I visited very recently. We stayed in the conference hotel. Everything was within walking distances. I have got the opportunity to visit MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Harvard University and Boston Inner Harbor areas. Foods were delicious; lobster cuisines are signature in all around Boston city. All kinds of seafood are popular in Boston. I went to Chinatown near Tufts University to have hot-pot cuisine, which is a trademark Chinese dish all around the world. Overall, it was a pleasant conference filled with scholarships, networking, and travelling.