How’s the job search going? (Every academic’s favorite question)

The academic job search process is…complicated, to put it mildly, especially since many programs don’t prepare folks to think about their work outside of the context of one (or maybe two) career paths. There are many, many studies and media articles related to the lack of tenure-track positions, postdocs, etc., and it can feel (really) overwhelming. I’ve gone through the academic job search in tandem with alt-ac and non-ac searches multiple times, and it has given me some great tools, both in terms of practical resources (e.g. which jobs databases I like best) and a healthy perspective about all the great things academics CAN do with our degrees beyond working as tenure-track faculty.

My cat (Gir) making the same face I made during most of the job hunt.

As some of my readers know, I’ve been doing one-on-one career coaching informally for some time. With the new year, I’ve decided to refocus on this work, after hearing the concerns of many fellow academics whose searches have them feeling unmoored and frustrated, and unsure how to begin feeling unstuck. My approach is highly personalized and collaborative–I tailor my recommendations to each person’s situation and together we come up with a set of goals and actionable items related to those goals.

The thing many clients struggle with most is the feeling that they’ve somehow failed (I get it, I felt the same way too when I started searching for TT jobs). I’m here to remind you that 1. you haven’t and 2. Your degree and yourself still have immeasurably great value no matter what career direction you choose. My goal with each client is to help them identify what matters to them in a career, and how to get over the paralysis of the job search to start moving in that direction.

The thing to keep in mind during the job hunt: It’s your career and happiness, not anyone else’s!

Stay tuned for some exciting updates, and if you want to talk with me more about how we could work together, get in touch!





So Who is This “Julia” Person Anyway?

I mentioned a while back that I’ll be teaching two courses for Library Juice Academy soon. I wanted to write an introductory essay for my students, particularly since it’s an asynchronous course, and I thought I would put it online for my newer readers who maybe don’t know much about me. To my students: I am absolutely thrilled beyond words to get to work with you, and I’m looking forward to a great class! Continue reading “So Who is This “Julia” Person Anyway?”

Continuing Education Courses at Library Juice Academy

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be teaching two courses for Library Juice Academy this August (August 1st-28th). If you’re not familiar with LJA, they provide continuing education courses for information professionals. There are a lot of great courses on there taught by some great folks, and I’m excited to work alongside them. The two classes I’ll be teaching are Social Media for Libraries and The Librarian as Scholar: Taking Part in Scholarly Communication.

If either of these are of interest to you, I would love to have you in my class, and I’d love to hear from you about what kinds of things you would like to learn. For those of you who have expertise in these areas, are there any must-read resources you always refer your students to? I have some already, but the more the merrier! I’m looking forward to teaching the class, and hope to see some of you there!

#FSUSLIS Colloquia

We’ve had four great job talks for our social media faculty position recently. I missed the first two unfortunately (although I got to watch the webcasts!), but I did tweet the second two:

Last week, Jae-Wook Ahn presented on data analysis and social media. I drove him from the airport, and really enjoyed talking with him about his work. He has some really great ideas about how to combine qualitative and quantitative analysis.

Today, Seungwon Yang presented about social media and disasters, which is extra awesome because he does a CS-based approach that I think is a great compliment to the qualitative content analysis my co-researchers and myself have been doing of disaster tweets. He also talked about Twitter and revolution, which is something I’ve published research on too!


Dean’s Colloquium Series: Howard Rosenbaum

Today Howard Rosenbaum came to speak to SLIS about bringing educational entrepreneurship into iSchools. Like I did on Monday, I live tweeted the talk and compiled it into this story for people to see. There are more talks coming up, so make sure to stay tuned and leave your comments (about this or the other talks) here and on Twitter!


Dean’s Colloquium Series: Caroline Haythornthwaite

Yesterday was the first in a series of colloquia dealing with iSchools in the 21st century. I tweeted the talk under #fsuslis13, and ended up (as always) learning a lot and having some great conversations about the field. Yesterday’s speaker was Caroline Haythornthwaite, whose work I’ve admired for a while and who was really great to meet and talk with in person. She brought up some ideas I really liked, about fast information and slow information, and about the cyclical nature of the data-information-knowledge lifecycle (rather than thinking of it as linear). As she said during lunch with the doc students today, it’s important to look at the areas between those iterations and to think about how they inform each other.

I’ve compiled my tweets (available here), and would love to hear from readers about what you think of her ideas. Anything I missed? Anything that sparks your interest or that you agree (or disagree) with as a researcher or practitioner? We have a few more speakers in the coming weeks, so make sure to follow along at #fsuslis13 as attendees tweet the highlights, and join in the conversation!

Visual Model of Hegemony

I am taking an LIS theory class this semester, and since we could use just about any theory we wanted (which would be hard not to do, given how interdisciplinary our field is!) I decided to go with the theory of hegemony. I’ll spare you the contents of my papers on the history of the theory and just focus on the model here (if you’re curious, the International Gramsci Society has some good resources, and I’m more than happy to share citations and such with anyone who has questions).
One of the reasons I love the theory, and the main reason I chose it, was that it was created by Antonio Gramsci, who started out in academia then left that life to pursue another career (as an activist). I feel like having both those perspectives and types of training informing one’s work makes for much more well-rounded scholars and keeps us from being so trapped in our own little world that we can’t easily engage with the world around us. I wrote a post on how my experiences in the service industry have shaped me as an academic that talks a bit more about this. I also love how the theory has been applied to so many research questions and types of inequality across many different fields, which shows its usefulness but also made it a bit tricky to pin down and define in a short paper. I tried, and I came up with this model that I wanted to share. It’s the first model I’ve made, so I suspect it’s far from perfect, but I would love to hear what you think–what looks good? What might I consider changing? Are there things you would add/take away? Major points that were missed? Would the model look the same for all types of inequality?



The model is held under a Creative Commons attribution-noncommercial 3.0 unported license (just like the rest of the site). Please share it with colleagues/students/whomever, just give me credit if you do!

LIS Professionals and Big-Time Publishers: Do We Speak Out?

This morning I read a great post by Inger Mewburn called The academic writers’ strike. I loved the sentiments she expressed about academics being compensated in some way for their content and expertise, which keeps these journals going. I wanted to start a conversation here because I think LIS students, professionals, and faculty are in a unique position because of our chosen field. A couple points I want to raise (and these questions aren’t just directed to the groups I mention, anyone is welcome to add constructive thoughts to the discussion):


-Academic librarians (and other info pros impacted by these journal prices): One of the big things I see missing in many non-LIS discussions about the high cost of  journal articles is the libraries. Would you be satisfied if the university (but not necessarily the library) received payment for every download of an article created at that institution? What are ways these publishers can improve interactions with libraries? Lowering prices and giving libraries the option to buy individual journals (rather than bundles) seems an obvious start, but what else can be going on there? Also, does demanding change threaten a library’s ability to get needed materials?

-LIS students, faculty, and other research producers: One thing the post stressed was the potential danger to students and early career faculty that could come from speaking out and signing petitions like the Cost of Knowledge, in that it would limit options and make it harder for students to build up their CVs. Some of the comments brought up excellent points about rethinking how we produce knowledge (why does sharing academic knowledge via blogs count for nothing?), but what I found most striking was the number of PhD students who agreed with her point (as one said ‘beggars can’t be choosers.’) I feel like the view of students as being at the bottom of the pecking order and scrambling to publish in whatever journal that will take them is less pronounced in our field (or at least the departments I’ve been involved in). Maybe it’s because our field consists of practitioners and researchers, nearly all of whom have graduate degrees and some exposure to research.
By the time I commented, I was the only PhD student to say that I signed the pledge to not publish with Elsevier. Granted, there aren’t a ton of LIS journals published through them, but I feel like it was important to add my name to a growing list of people who have their whole careers ahead of them and want to see a real change in one of the major industries we will be interacting with. Other students, have you signed? Would you? Does anyone (students, faculty, etc.) see benefits and drawbacks to signing? More importantly, what impact does speaking out have on our publishing options (if any, which in LIS I feel like it may be minimal) and what else can we be doing to shape the future of publishing in a way that better addresses our concerns? I argue for Open Access, but the way the journals I work with do it, where it’s truly free for the reader to access that content and for the researcher to share it. We’re already volunteering our time and effort to review and research, it would be nice to put it toward a journal that will share those ideas with the world!

-People from other fields: Researchers, students, faculty, whomever. What do you think? What barriers do you face in your field? In your position? What would you like to see changed in academic publishing?