Reflections on heritage, history and interpretation for International Archive Day

Friday 9th June 2017 was International Archive Day and during that day I was lucky enough to be spending some time in one of the most culturally rich cities in Europe: Madrid. In previous posts, I’ve spoken about the most famous cultural attraction here – the Museo del Prado – and some of the lesser-known ones such as the Museo Cerralbo and the Naval Museum. Madrid contains many archives, museums and heritage sites, all worth their weight in gold due to the enormous wealth of history contained within them. I wanted to reflect on this history in the context of some of the things I’ve seen over the past few days here in the city, and to think about the connections which these institutions forge between the past and the present.

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A ‘professional’ visit to CILIP

The CILIP New Professionals Day 2015 was held on the 9th October at the CILIP headquarters in London. Whilst I wouldn’t really consider myself to be quite an information professional just yet, I thought it would be a good experience to go along. The conference was actually aimed at people just like me who are new to library or information careers, or who are studying towards a qualification in the field. As such, I imagined it would be a very supportive and friendly atmosphere, and I’m glad to say that I was not disappointed. Plus, there were also free sandwiches, tea and coffee all day so, really, what’s not to like about that?!

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Two worlds?

Sometimes it’s easy to see libraries, archives, museums etc., and by extension library and information studies, as somewhat of an outdated concept. Many feel that they are part of a previous, analogue age in which everything was physical, with very few computers involved in day to day processes, and as such are irrelevant to today’s electronic, virtual data world. This feeling is sometimes expressed in less than diplomatic terms. When I was first researching information studies with a view to starting this course, I came across this article from Forbes. The bold headline, proclaiming contemptuously “No. 1 Worst Master’s Degree For Jobs: Library and Information Science” isn’t exactly the kind of thing a budding information professional wants to see. Yet, when you dig deeper, the actual reasons for this pessimism turn out to be the fact that a) librarians work in libraries (umm…) and b) information professionals ‘only’ earn “$57,600 mid-career”. Well, I think we can all safely say that we didn’t decide to do this to get rich!

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