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Information Science

Portfolio Guidelines for Non-School Library Students

Successful completion of the end-of-program portfolio is a requirement for the Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) degree in the USC School of Information Science. This electronic portfolio includes an introduction, résumé, vision statement, and work samples (with introductory reflective essays) that document competency in the program's six areas:

  • Information and its organization;
  • Provision of information services;
  • Leadership and management;
  • Research
  • Technology; and,
  • Professional development and lifelong learning.

The portfolio is submitted for evaluation prior to the student's graduation (April 15 for May and August graduates; November 15 for December graduates). The immediate audience for the portfolio is instructors and administrators in the School of Information Science, but students might also target the portfolio towards prospective employers.

From the start of the program, students should identify and collect work samples that they believe demonstrate their mastery of the MLIS Core Competencies. By the time students near the end of the M.L.I.S. program, their personal collection will contain a variety of work samples to be used in the final portfolio. Students will select one example corresponding to each of the six areas outlined above to highlight their best work.

Portfolio Content

The end-of-program portfolio should have nine menu items:

(1.) Welcome or Introduction

(2.) Résumé

(3-8.) Six work samples (one corresponding to each of the six areas) with introductory reflective essays.

(8.) Vision Statement

1. Welcome or Introduction 
The Welcome or Introduction Page welcomes visitors to the end-of-program portfolio. It provides an overview of the content and how to navigate the portfolio. A photograph is also a desirable part of the introduction and should be a head shot or a photograph taken in a professional setting.

2. Résumé 
The résumé is a brief overview of professional work experience and educational background. It should include memberships in professional organizations, any professional presentations or publications, and any honors or awards.

3-8 Work Samples Documenting Learning Outcomes 
Documentation of competency in the six areas is the core of the end-of-program portfolio. Students will choose an example of their best work for each of the six areas. Work samples may include, but are not limited to, research papers, projects, and posters; professional briefs; and recorded presentations.

Reflective Essays For Each Work Sample: Description, Analysis, and Reflection
When the left hand Navigation Link for a Work Sample is clicked, the Reflective Essay for each Work Sample, and a link to the Work Sample must display in the right hand panel.

The sequence for items in the right hand panel:
• Description
• Link
• Analysis
• Reflection

The reflective essays are an important part of the end-of-program portfolio. They allow students to highlight the knowledge they have acquired throughout the M.L.I.S. program, to demonstrate professional growth, and to consider how their learning experience will impact their professional practice. Reflective writing is a three step process that includes (1) description, (2) analysis, and (3) reflection. As students select their best work sample for each of the six areas, they should address the following components:

A. Description: Description is an overview of the example. It should include an explanation of how the work sample relates to the particular area it addresses and why it was chosen for inclusion in the portfolio. It sets the stage, explains the purpose. It answers the question, "What did I do and why?"

B. Link to Work Sample

C. Analysis: Analysis is the process of evaluation after the fact that looks at successes and failures, what was accomplished, what worked well and what didn't work well, and the results of planned programs, lessons, collaborations, research, or other activities. What were the results? What did you learn from this experience? It answers the question, "What happened and why?"

D. Reflection: Reflection follows analysis. It is the critical thinking that fosters professional growth and knowledge-building. Reflection is an opportunity to contemplate how to plan and implement activities in the future – the same way, differently or not at all. "Reflection is the ongoing process of thoughtfully considering our practice in the context of personal and professional knowledge, assumptions, and beliefs, with the aim of achieving insights that lead to professional growth" (Heath 39). Information learned during "Description" and "Analysis" informs and improves future practices. The goal of reflection is professional growth that results in improved professional practice. It answers the question, "What will I do to improve my future practice?"

8. Vision Statement

Discuss the professional philosophy/beliefs, values and ethics that will govern your behavior and practice as an information specialist. Describe your understanding of the professional role of the information specialist and what you believe are best professional practices. Highlight the knowledge that you have acquired throughout the M.L.I.S. program, to demonstrate professional growth, and consider how your learning experience will impact your professional practice. How do you intend to grow as professional over the next five years?

9. Optional EDI Certificate Requirement

Students will be required to submit an additional artifact (assignment) that is directly related to the EDI certificate. As such, the artifact must come from one of the 4 courses that students are counting towards the EDI certificate — i.e., the four courses listed on the Program of Study for the EDI Certificate.

Reflective Essay

  1. How this assignment is representative of the knowledge and skills they’ve gained from completing this certificate.
  2. How they will take their knowledge and skills and apply them in a real-world, specific way.
  3. How completing this certificate has impacted the way they view/approach their role in the field (related to the point above but a bit different in nature).

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.