Reflective Paper

The Course

During my first year in the University of Alberta MLIS program, I greatly enjoyed learning about the theories and principles stemming from epistemology in LIS 502: Organization of Knowledge and Information. It was with much enthusiasm that I enrolled in LIS 535: Advanced Topics in the Organization of Knowledge, which further examines the principles and practice of indexing, abstracting, metadata, and other topics relevant to the organization of knowledge. The Thesaurus Construction Project submitted for this course allowed me to apply the principles of thesaurus construction and use, and to experience the potential obstacles faced by librarians creating user-oriented thesauri.

The Project

The Thesaurus Construction Project utilizes indexing and abstracting theories as well as subject analysis principles that have been discussed in previous lectures. In building the thesaurus using a specific software package, I came to recognize the difficulty in attaining the balance between relevance and exhaustivity while bearing in mind the needs of potential users of the thesaurus. It is tempting to create as many facets as possible for the benefit of users, but time and financial resources may not always allow for an exhaustive thesaurus. On the whole, the Thesaurus Construction Project highlighted the importance of user-centered term selection in providing effective information retrieval. I completed my project with a deeper knowledge and appreciation for thesaurus construction as well as the benefits of thesaurus-enhanced search systems.

University of Alberta School of Library and Information Studies

Coming with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, the MLIS program has given me the opportunity to combine my love of books with my interest in learning how to serve library users both on a front-end and on a peripheral level. From the courses offered at the School of Library and Information Studies, I have gained knowledge not only on reference services, cataloguing and classification, and archival administration, but also on research methods and management principles. The information technology courses offered by SLIS have educated me in database management, digital reference and information retrieval, and web design for usability. I hope to put my information organization skills into good use and be a valuable asset to my workplace.