A review of possible standards for structuring this portfolio leaves me less sure than when I began of the best choice(s). The LIS596 guidelines are unhelpfully general, apparently to allow maximum freedom for expression. I can appreciate that goal from the point of view of the basic goal of the project (as I currently understand it): To create a representation of one person’s individual professional identity. Yet the site also provides requirements for a class in the iSchool, one that claims to judge against “high standards.” OK, so what are they?
The technical requirements are mere good sense, but some of the precious few content standards just deepen my puzzlement. The portfolio will apparently have to include recorded presentations and images rather than just text. That’s great for a professional whose competence runs in those directions. Must everyone’s? Maybe so, in which case expectations may be more templated than previously implied. And if that’s the case, why not be upfront about it and provide a template for what’s expected? Otherwise, if someone’s work tends in a different direction, that portfolio will have to cobble together some bits of flotsam that fill the hole and hope for the best.
I have higher hopes for this project than that, so I’ll likely just try to place in context materials that I think represent me. The portfolio isn’t my first choice for a ‘culminating experience’ for the degree anyhow, in part for the reasons discussed here and also because I’d rather put the energy toward something new like a project than spend it rehashing Class Papers I Have Known. I do see the value of documenting and reflecting on work, though, so I’ll treat this as something to keep up as I go along for my own sense of context and for possible use later, should I need to fulfill some job-related portfolio requirement.
As best I can determine now, ASIS&T has the best conceptual model for professional competence, so I’ll likely work under that. ALA has its own model, of course, which seems rather badly bloated and too general to support clear understanding (not unlike the organization itself). The subdivisions have their own guidelines, which may be more to the point, but I don’t fit any of those pigeon holes yet, so I’m not ready to commit to one or another now. And anyhow, I prefer the focus of the ASIS&T list, which manages to span the conceptual territory without the institutional vagueness.
SLA’s guidelines provide an interesting contrast to ALA’s, reaching essentially the same destination via a different route. They have to stay rather general because SLA members work in so many different environments, and the organization is committed to adoption of locally relevant standards and practices. I respect and appreciate that. But it blurs the focus of the guidelines in a way that’s not suitable for my purposes. Also, the page talks about ‘Info Pros’ and I’m just not sticking that name tag onto my polo shirt.
So I’ll build pages nested according to the categories laid out in the ASIS&T scheme. If I need to change them later, I guess I’ll address that then. I could also implement that scheme technically, maybe in a more flexible way, by defining categories and assigning them to blog posts. That’s too stream-of-consciousness for my intentions, although I may use blog posts to document competencies and learning, linking them from reflections in the page structure. I want something explicitly structured rather than an undifferentiated mass that has structural hooks temporarily embedded in selected bits. That choice may say as much as anything else presented here about my identity as an information professional . . .