This was the final project for my Information Organization and Access class at GSLIS. After spending the semester learning about how information is organized, structured, and transmitted and what the implications of that conceptual and actual infrastructure are for users and institutions, we then used the popular library social media site LibraryThing as a case study to explore these concepts in action.
We broke into groups of 5-6 people, and each group came up with their own model of how the database behind LibraryThing might be structured and organized, based on what we had learned in class and what we could glean from the information presented to us through LibraryThing’s front end interface. This project resulted in both an in-class presentation which laid out our findings, and a final report which documented our process. I did the E-R diagram and the bulk of the slides that built off of that, and as the person in the group with the most experience of both databases and LibraryThing, I had an integral role in shaping our concept for the project as a whole.
We had quite a bit of fun with this one, even going so far as to write and perform a song about databases to close our presentation, but I think the fun was always in service of communicating our ideas more effectively, and that it worked to keep our classmates more engaged with what could otherwise be a fairly dry topic.
I firmed up my knowledge of database design, interfaces, and structured data a bit with this project, but I probably got the most out of it in a project-management sense, as I stepped into that role when we had a bit of a group crisis, and was able to coordinate multiple people’s contributions to enable us to complete the final report on a tight deadline.