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Freshly Minted – Christine Newman

December 23, 2013

MIS Student, School of Information Studies, University of Ottawa

Photo of Christine NewmanWhich information studies program are you attending?

I am currently enrolled in the Master’s of Information Studies at the University of Ottawa, School of Information Studies and I am specializing in Information Policy.

What are your current classes like? Which is your favorite so far, and why?

I am doing the cooperative studies option, where students complete an eight month paid work placement, so I only have to complete 12 courses. I am currently on my co-op placement at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada but I am also taking a course in the evening on Information and the Law. My course explores various information policy issues within a Canadian legal framework relevant to library, archives and information professionals, including copyright, access to information, ownership, patents, and privacy. What is unique about this course is that we have had the opportunity to hear many guest speakers lecture about how their organization, firm or field of academia addresses the various information policy issues.

My three favorite classes so far have been the Management Foundation for Information Professionals, Ethics, and Cataloguing and Classification. The Management foundation course taught me practical skills in project management, as well as the theoretical principles that underpin the management of information organizations including archives, libraries and information centres. Another favorite class explored major ethical concerns currently confronting our information society. This course was far more abstract and philosophical but we looked at real life examples faced by today’s information professionals and agencies to make us really think about what we would do if we were facing similar dilemmas. Last but not the least, another interesting course that is not required for my Information Policy specialization but turned out to be very interesting was the Cataloguing and Classification class. This course looked at the classification principles and standards employed in the creation of catalogues and cataloguing records.

Is there one aspect of the profession that surprises you that you were not expecting when you started the program? What is it?

When I started the MLIS program I didn’t expect that there would be so many librarians that are extroverts! Don’t believe the stereotypes!

What was it that initially drove you to librarianship?

When I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with a double Major in History and French Literature, I wasn’t interested in pursuing a Masters in History because I felt it didn’t give me any professional/practical skills. As I was looking into a teaching degree, a history professor suggested I look into the MLIS program. After doing some research into the field, I found that many of the attributes that I was looking for, such as working with people, educating people and sharing information were also found within the field of librarianship.

If you could work anywhere, and do anything with information, what would your dream job look like?

I don’t have one dream job but I have many interests that I would love to combine into a job. I love the detective work that goes into providing research and reference help to students. This aspect really highlights my interests in working with people and educating them on various ways to conduct research.

I find it interesting how information is organized behind what we see when we search. The ability to retrieve and access information is important to maintain an informed society, which is why my dream job would also have aspects of Information Management. Having a History background has always made me think about how we will do research in the future. As we go towards a paper-less society, we still need records and retentions dispositions in order to maintain the “story”.

If someone were considering going to library school, what would you advise them about?

For someone considering going to library school I would advise them to get involved with the community – volunteer, join associations, and attend conferences. Some may say to go into school knowing what you want but I would argue to keep an open mind and to try new things. You may start thinking that you’ll want to be a children’s librarian but then you find out that you love academic libraries or information management.

What do you think is the most important aspect of being an information professional today?

Think outside the box! The field is in constant evolution and we need to spread the word about its importance.

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