Week 13: Homework

The working assumption is that everyone should be working with their team on your respective projects. That is the primary homework that everyone should be contributing to.

Individually this week, you have a homework assignment related to our field trip to the City Tech Science Fiction Collection. During today’s class, you learned how we organized and keep track of the items that constitute the collection. And, you had a chance to get your hands dirty by working with materials in the collection to perform data collection.

Your homework is to write a 250-word memo addressed to Prof. Ellis that reflects on your experience today and how you might apply some of the techniques discussed during the field trip to other domains–it could be where you work now, where you would like to work in the future, a personal project that you would like to begin, etc. Copy-and-paste your memo into a comment added to this blog post before next week’s class.

If you were absent, you can use the materials on the SF Collection’s website to discuss the way the materials are organized and then discuss how you might apply those techniques to other domains.

9 thoughts on “Week 13: Homework”

  1. TO: Prof. Ellis

    FROM: Jaida Clouden

    DATE: 5/10/23

    SUBJECT: Science Fiction Memo

    One word to describe my experience on the field trip to the archive was captivating. I found it extremely interesting to be able to look through our college’s archives. It felt so surreal to see all the old books and items stored in the archive. I felt like I was time traveling when I saw books/magazines/items that were created and used in the early 1900’s. It was a surreal experience to be a part of. I loved learning about the history of all the archives. The categorizing activity we did helped us with our categorizing skills. As a technical writer, we must categorize and structure certain information correctly. Writing and categorizing the books/magazines we encountered helped strengthen our skills. I gained sufficient knowledge of the art of categorizing and shelving. The techniques applied consisted of categorizing the magazines by author and year.

    I similarly do this type of categorizing at the job I work now. I work at Vans, and I have to categorize the stock room alphabetically and in styles. Each shoe must be in alphabetical and style order. Along with the style, the sizes of the shoes must be categorized in a snake order depicting smaller sizes to larger sizes. The activity we did in class resembled a lot of the work I do at my job.

     I would be interested in visiting the archive again. I would like to learn more about the categorization and shelving process that takes place when receiving new archives. 

  2. TO: Prof. Ellis

    FROM: Kahini Chauhan

    DATE: 05/11/2023

    SUBJECT: City Tech Science Fiction Collection

    The trip to the City Archive was intriguing because I had never been to one quite like this one. It wasn’t a bunch of old items moved to another location. It was galore of the different times, styles of writing, advertising, “content creation,” deliverables, and medium. At first, the archive seemed to equate to a place of books stuffed into a room; however, taking the time to analyze one piece of the historical puzzle in the making helped put it into a more respectful atmosphere. Being able to go into an archive and get the chance to physically touch and see the changes in literature and the organization of content overall showed the importance of keeping archives breathing as many try to cut down budgets without realizing the amount of work for upkeep. I will be on the search for more or even come back to check out the newsletter and changes made to City Tech as the years have passed by. The books represent not only age but also something greater – a sense of history and the changes made throughout, along with the need for change. It also shows the impact of the change (good/bad, outcome on other forms of literature) and the various amounts of mediums that a message can be conveyed – comics, and yearbooks, even if it is unintentional. It provides a new profound sense of enrichment to be able to surround/immerse yourself in the past. 

    In other domains, I can use the categorization and newfound interest in the primary sources for research papers. Oftentimes, the articles are found digitally; whether it is an article, social media, or, most often, Google, it would be beneficial to go to an archive and see a primary source. Archiving requires attention to detail and understanding how to organize a vast amount of items in the space you have, like in Information Architecture which is done on a daily basis, most times subconsciously. It is important because it can affect the overall experience of interacting with information architecture.

  3. TO: Prof. Ellis

    FROM: Khaled Akam

    DATE: May 15, 2023

    SUBJECT: Science Fiction Field Trip

    Today we learned to organize the City Tech Science Fiction Collection. The first thing we did was learn about how everything in the collection was arranged. The collection had a wide range of authors. The collection was broken down by shelves. My group’s job was to account for everything on a shelf and keep it on the same shelf. During the process of organizing a small section of the collection, I realized that I was a small part of a larger goal to get the job done. This taught me that even a small mistake may cause the entire collection to be off. Working with a group on this organization collection was a small look into a potential future.

    These techniques for organizing a science fiction collection can be used in future jobs. In most jobs, you need to be able to communicate well and work with others. As well as receiving a task to carry out with certain parameters. Attention to detail in a task-oriented job is essential in group work. If one person makes a mistake it could affect the entire aspect of the task which involves a lot of people. During the organization of the collection, the books that were taken from a specific shelf were cataloged on paper. If next time it was not at that location a lot more time and effort would be needed to fix this small mistake. In my future job, I would want to not only follow my job description but also help my group to make sure we’re all on the same page.

  4. TO: Prof Ellis

    FROM: Sphear Forde

    DATE: May 15, 2023

    SUBJECT: City Tech Science Fiction Collection

    The purpose of this memo is to discuss the class trip to  City Tech Science Fiction Collection. 

    City Tech Science Fiction Collection 

    City Tech Science Fiction Collection is held in City Tech archives and contains science fiction magazines, science fiction anthologies, novels and scholarship. There is also fringe text, including horror, mystery, and the supernatural. During the class visit, I learned how the collection is organized and how Professor Clyde keeps track of the items that constitute the collection. The collection is organized in four different book shelves. Each bookshelf consists of  seven row, six column bookshelves. The rows are numbered, and increase from the top to bottom. 

    During the visit to City Tech Science Fiction I had the chance to get my hands dirty working with the materials in the collection to perform data collection. I worked with two of my classmates to organize 112.7 row. Row 112.7 consists of science fiction magazines. 

    I would use the techniques discussed during the field trip to organize my bookshelf at home. My bookshelf consists of  five rows and is organized based on size.The first two rows consist of large size books such as my textbooks and magazines. The lower three levels consist of smaller size books from different genres. Organizing my bookshelf using the techniques Professor Clyde and the other librarians use would decrease the time it takes for me to find books. I would also use the techniques discussed during the field trip to organize the supply closet at work.

  5. To:                 Professor Ellis

    From:             Sandy Fougeres

    Date:              5/15/23

    Subject:          Library Archive Trip

    Hello Professor Ellis, I am writing this memo to describe my experience in the library archive. I learned some of the basics of information architecture, where I collected data from sci-fi literature and sorted the information for future retrieval.

    During the class trip to the library archives, we learned about how to organize and sort the sci-fi section of the library. There we worked as teams and collected data from the books such as the title, year of publication, the volume, and more. We started with a diagram of the sci-fi bookshelves which helped with locating the section my group was assigned. After collecting data from books, we entered the information in a data sheet which then was collected at the end of class. Our goal was to collect the data from each book without repeating the books our fellow group members collected.

    I had a chance to put into practice what I learned about information architecture as I followed the layout of the sci-fi library section with the diagram; my group had a system where we took the books from the back of the shelves so that we can recall where on the shelf we got them, as not to repeat data collection from the same book. I believe this will help me in my future career because as a technical writer information architecture is imperative for a successful deliverable. I am not entirely sure where I will end up in my future career, but I know that I will have to use the skills I’ve learned about information architecture to create documents that will help guide and support end users. This trip showed me that the basics of information architecture start with sorting data and then organizing where it will go for easy retrieval. 

  6. TO: Prof. Ellis

    FROM: Khemraj Persaud

    DATE: 5/15/23

    SUBJECT: Science Fiction Archive Trip

    Today, our group had the opportunity to work together to organize books in the Science Fiction collection archive in the City Tech Library, specifically focusing on section 110. It was an insightful experience, and I would like to share my reflections on the day and discuss how some of the techniques we employed during the field trip can be applied to other domains.

    Firstly, the importance of effective communication within a group became evident. As we divided tasks among ourselves, clear communication ensured that everyone knew their responsibilities and that there was no overlap or confusion. This technique can be applied in the future as part of project management or team collaborations, where effective communication fosters productivity and prevents misunderstandings.

    Secondly, we learned the value of accurate and organized record-keeping. By diligently recording information such as stack location, title, volume, and book number, we created a systematic and easily accessible inventory. In my future, this practice can be applied to digital databases, allowing for efficient tracking and retrieval of items.

    Lastly, attention to detail proved to be essential during the organizing process. By paying close attention to the specifics of each book, we ensured accurate categorization and placement. This attention to detail can be carried over in my future if I work in quality control or data analysis, where meticulousness is vital for maintaining high standards and accurate results.

    In conclusion, today’s experience of organizing books in the Science Fiction collection was not only rewarding but also provided valuable insights that can be applied to various other domains. By emphasizing effective communication, accurate record-keeping, teamwork, and attention to detail, we can enhance productivity and success in different areas of our work.

  7. To: Professor Ellis 

    From: Tiana Beatty 

    Date 05.15.23

    Subject: Science Fiction Archive 

    Getting the opportunity to see and archive the science fiction collection archive was an insightful and incredible experience. Just seeing all of the hard work and dedication where everything was placed in specific sections impressed me. We were put into groups and were assigned a specific section on the shelves of the archives where we had to write down the names of the books and magazines, the volumes, the years, and comments on what we think about said books and magazines. This experience was interesting and provided insight about information architecture because there was a lot of planning and strategy that went into this archive that made it possible for this collection to be fully stocked and the books and magazines placed in the right sections. 

    Doing this work made me consider wanting to the same thing, but for a book publishing company or a library. I know those are on a bigger scale compared to the science fiction collection at City Tech, but it wasn’t as tedious or tiring as I thought it was. I know I will be tired of walking back and forth, but just seeing and smelling books is interesting to me. 

    Archiving and recording (writing) all of these books and magazines down to see if they’re readable and in good condition was also a major part of this experience. I was amazed at how most of the books and magazines that I was able to put my hands on were in good condition. Most of said books and magazines were dated back to the early 1970s and to see that they were in good condition and still readable was amazing. 

  8. TO: Prof. Ellis

    FROM: Naila Butt

    DATE: 15 MAY 2023

    SUBJECT: Science Fiction Collection

    In this memo, I will discuss how I can apply the techniques to archive the Science Fiction Collection (SFC) to other domains. Unfortunately, I was absent for this field trip, but I hope to visit the SFC sometime soon. However, I did visit the SFC website and viewed the video – where I was intrigued by how thoroughly the Science Fiction Collection was archived. This shows that Information Architect can be applied in practically any environment. I noted that different collections were organized in their respective categories, such as SF Monographs, SF magazines, SF Scholarly Journals, and SF Novels. I also noticed the working collection, which is intended for research and teaching, which I found very resourceful. The SFC allows for a clear and organized system for easy user accessibility. The methodology used to categorize and archive the material in the SFC provides an efficient arrangement that allows one to curate their needs and pinpoint them through the IA of the SFC. In upcoming opportunities, I see myself applying the observed principles, such as categorization and logical arrangement. These principles can be adapted to files, documents, or any sort of structural information platform. In future endeavors, I can definitely see myself benefiting from this example in my professional career and personal projects!

  9. TO: Professor Jason W. Ellis

    FROM: Ronald C. Hinds

    DATE: May 16, 2023

    SUBJECT: Trip to Science Library


    How An Information Architect Fixes A Mess

    I have approximately thirty (30) boxes of papers from decades of work and school, an analog collection, which is in a colossal mess but I will rely on an application of Information Architecture, IA, to make sense of it. It takes much time to find documents when I need them but this mess is my truth and part of one important deliverable called information. For the future, categories and labels will be my dear friends. 

    With regard to my medical writings, I wrote a 500 word essay, summarizing a book called, “DataBase Nation”. I received an “A” for the paper and I wish that I can recapture it. I used to know where certain documents were but, with passage of time and a faulty memory, plus no road map, I cannot easily locate them. These nuggets of information, and these are what are squirreled away in these boxes, can really enhance my holdings, my portfolio, and help to improve my academic standing, my resume and my job prospects.

    The library assignment, which I recently did in a field trip to the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, has given me a pause for a good cause and I plan to take a sad song and make it better by organizing a better and more streamlined filing system. I have a storage unit but I need to add shelves for my boxes and to store my papers in chronological, and alphabetical order, as well as by subject, for easy retrieval. Case in point, at the beginning of classes for the Spring 2023 semester, in my Information Architecture class, Professor Jason Ellis included, in his lecture, the benefits of note-taking and he cited the Cornell Method. I was able to retrieve, by some fluke, from my voluminous collection, notes taken as well as the handout given to my class, in 2001, about note taking, for quick review.  

    It is going to take time but, if I can work on three (3) random boxes every month during the summer break, this would be a great improvement. The attached shows what my storage unit would like, fingers crossed, with my documents properly filed away. In addition, I can scan many of these documents and create new digital files in Google Docs, for example and/or on my USB.

    I will also have my shredder handy.

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