Thinking about a career in Records Management? Library Science graduates are great candidates for RM careers, but they may not even consider it as a possibility. We asked one recent MLIS intern, Jasmaine Talley, to tell us about her first experience in the RM world.
By Jasmaine Talley
When I first applied to a Library and Information Science graduate program, I was set on a career in archives since I was interested in history and using technology. I knew that an MLIS was versatile, but I hadn’t really focused on the ‘information’ aspect and explored the options of careers beyond libraries and archives. I was introduced to Records Management as a career in a Special Libraries course when our instructor invited a document controller to speak to the class. I was amazed at how much of the vocabulary and techniques I’d learned in my archives courses also translated to records management such as retention schedules and the life cycle of data.
I wanted to know more, so when I found out about an internship opportunity in the records management department of a corporation, I took advantage of it. The two previous students from my program who did this internship also did not initially specialize in records management; in fact, I was informed that I was the first archives student to do it despite the similarities between the two fields. I was given background readings before I officially began my internship, which proved to be helpful. Of course, just having the right vocabulary was only part of it. My previous experience was in libraries and archives, so a corporate environment was very new to me. I took mental notes on the culture during my time as the company. I even found myself excited about working in a cubicle and seeing records management practices play out in the real world.
For my project, I performed an inventory of some of the company’s policies and procedures and then creating a list of procedures so that others can recreate the process within their own departments. Through this project, I learned about the importance of policy and procedure in creating and maintaining records for a company and the complications that result from not having solid policies in place when issues arise.
I was required to keep a daily journal of the experiences I had at my internship. It ended up being a great resource for me because it served as a reminder of what I’d learned. The internship demystified corporate culture for me and showed me the importance of records management in the face of increasing amounts of information that companies have to manage.