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skipperkee in ut_ischool

Hello everyone!

I posted two posts below about GRE scores. Well... I got accepted and I will be starting at the iSchool this fall!
I know this community is pretty quiet, but I was hoping someone had suggestions for which classes to take my first semester. I'm trying to get an idea of what my schedule will be like, and how I can fit in my job. I know there are some required courses, but I'm not sure if I should take those all at once. I'm hoping to go the Archives route, so any advice on courses to take for someone interested in Archival Studies would be great!
I would also appreciate any advice regarding grad school in general and UT as a whole. I've lived in Austin for 6 years now, so I'm pretty familiar with the city, but not with the UT campus.

Thanks in advance!


The whole iSchool is moving off campus, to 17th and Guadalupe (next to the Dog and Duck Pub) this fall. So you won't be seeing much of the campus for classes. Volunteering/working might be another story, as many iSchoolers do so at the Perry Castenada Library, the Harry Ransom Center or the Center for American History.

As far as the right classes, I would advise against taking all required at once, and instead try to spread them out. Some are better than others, but all are fairly useful. If you're doing archives, absolutely try to take Archival Enterprise I and II with Dr. David Gracy. He's a legend within the field of archives, and probably does not have many years of teaching left. He's a harsh grader, but is a wonderful lecturer and truly loves the field of archives. Plus, there are many interesting guest speakers.

I don't know what your experience level is, but I'd suggest volunteering at one of the above-mentioned places (or any other archives around town) to get some valuable real-world experience to supplement your schooling and add to your resume and make connections. In this field, it's 30% education, 30% experience and 40% who you know, so make sure to shake as many hands as you can.

Finally, sign up for the SAA conference this august! It's in Austin, and will be a tremendous opportunity to learn from panels and speakers and to network.

Oh, and I'm Matthew. Nice to meet you.
180J, the intro course is good to take your first semester if possible, its a one credit class, and what it entails depends on the professor, but I'm glad I got it out of the way my first semester, plus you can meet other people starting out you might not otherwise.
Archives I and II with Dr. Gracy is a MUST, he is fantastic and you will learn SO MUCH along with getting some hands on experience in a local repository.
As for the core classes, I would try to take at least one your first semester, I don't know if there is a specific one to take first, but research might be good, I took that with Geisler and he is fantastic, as is Bias, but I'm not sure who is teaching it this semester.
Along with going to the SAA conference this summer http://tinyurl.com/SAA-Conference-Info I would also get involved with the SAA UT Student chapter, you'll meet a lot of people who you will work with or see at conferences for the rest of your archival career, as well as getting to go on tours of local archives and making friends, we had some super fun happy hours. Also, each year they plan a whole week dedicated to archives, this is the link to last years: http://www.ischool.utexas.edu/~archweek/2008/index.html They have also been traveling at the end of the school year to archives outside of Texas, in May 2008 we went to Mexico and this past May, they went to New Orleans.
Good luck with school! I just graduated and am very glad I chose UT, its an awesome place.

Also, Dr. Galloway (shes all about electronic and digital records and archives) can seem kinda scary and intense as first, but don't let it scare you and definitely take a class with her, shes funny and insanely intelligent!
Definitely get 180j out of the way your first semester, as it's pretty much *useless* after that. You figure almost all of it out on your own, but it's still required...

and just to echo what's been said: take Dr. (HotDog!) Gracy as soon as possible. And while you're at it, take Dr. Galloway's intro to digital management, or whatever they're calling it now. It's the prerequisite for Permanent Retention of Electronic Records. While it is possible to survive Permanent Retention without the prereq (I did it), it's an experience that "builds character." Since graduating, it's also been one of the main experiences that has helped me get project-work: "You did what? At the Harry Ransom Center? With the Norman Mailer Archive? Yes, we want you."

If you can get Organization of Information with Miles Efron, I highly, highly, highly recommend that. The project I'm working on right now, for the Oxford Ben Jonson, is a direct result of XML skills I learned in his class.

Best of luck.
Even if you want to do archives, I highly suggest taking the reference class, and if possible, take it with Dr. Roy. The earlier, the better. This will not only help down the road if you become a research or reference archivist, but it will be helpful in your coursework, period, since you'll learn the ut library system.

Echoing everyone else, don't take all your prereqs at once. I'd suggest taking Users and getting it out of the way. That one, depending on who you take it with, is least applicable to traditional archives (it's much more geared for usability/ia folks, though maybe it's useful for digital archives).

I did my Research Methods with Bias and highly recommend him as a professor. I've heard good things about Frick for management and Winget is very much one of those professors people love or don't (she teaches organizing...or did, at least). I liked her a *lot* but if you want a professor who offers a lot of feedback, she won't be the one. Efron is no longer at the iSchool, so taking organizing with him would likely be challenging ;)

Like others said, volunteer. There are SO MANY places wanting help but you have to dig around. I'd suggest looking in the capstone database and seeing who is in there looking for capstone projects; often those people still need help or they never got a capstone person in the first place. The experience could be just what you need.

And 180J is totally dependent on the professor, but any way it comes, likely a bit of a waste of time.
I would say take 180J and two requireds and then take one class that you're interested in (probably Intro to Archives in your case). If you can take a required class with Dr. Geisler, do it. He's amazing!

Go to the IT Lab during orientation and talk to the Purpleshirts there. Purpleshirts have lots of good knowledge about many things that go on in the iSchool from a current student's prospective.

Thanks for all the advice everyone!