Soapbox

11 October 2009

A career as an Information Professional

Filed under: Uncategorized — malwen @ 2:06 pm

This isn’t a moan. In order to add a contribution to The Library Routes Project at http://libraryroutesproject.wikkii.com/wiki/Main_Page I need to make a blog entry on how I got into the profession and how my career has developed.

My interest in library work goes back to school days. I was “Prefect Librarian”, helping out in the school library (which was small and run by one of the English teachers). I tried to get a Saturday job in the town central library; they’d take me but only with the school’s permission and the head said I was taking too many subjects for exams to spare the time. This was unhelpful as I didn’t spend the time studying so could have been earning.

I picked university subjects without regard to a career choice. When my final year arrived, my mother told me about something new she had read about called “Information science”, and suggested I look into it.

At that time, one entered this new profession via a Masters course at Sheffield University, where a science degree plus two modern foreign languages were required (I could only offer one such language), or City University, which did not have the language requirement, so I had ideas about going there.

In the end, a friend went there but I did not. I took a job which was the post I would have been looking for after finishing the course. I worked in the information office for a chemical company for nine years, learning about abstracting and indexing, search and retrieval, all done without use of a computer. I gained membership of the Institute of Information Scientists by the work experience route.

I was made redundant from there but was lucky enough to find a suitable job close by in time to avoid actually being out of work. I joined an engineering consultancy to work on maintenance of an online bibliographic database and the use of this and other such databases to conduct literature searches. This involved use of computers.

Over 26 years on, I am still there. I took a “break” for a few years to set up and run websites, but moved back to the Information Services section in 2004 to run the database when my former boss retired.

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