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In January of this year, I started an internship working for a large corporation. I’m a Corporate Records Intern–I assist the Corporate Records Administrator with organizing, indexing, and disposing of records generated by this company. Records management was something I had never considered before–I’ve always pictured myself as an archivist, either working for a state agency or cultural heritage institution, or as the head of a digital preservation unit somewhere (or, you know, Archivist of the United States, but I might need a little more experience before I get there). However, I was intrigued by a possibility I hadn’t thought of before. I met my future (current) boss at a job fair put on by my school’s LIS department. She had an enthusiasm for Records Management which was overflowing, to say the least.
I started part-time in January and transitioned into a full-time role in late May. My day-to-day activities include communicating with our external storage vendor to have boxes delivered to and from our office, indexing records sent to the main office from locations around the United States, and fulfilling records requests from employees inside the company and external parties.
I’ve also had the opportunity to work on a variety of special projects, including ones involving the corporate archives. With the marketing team, I identified, digitized, and created metadata for images from past company newsletters, dating as far back as the 1920s. These images get used for internal and external promotional activities. And with the IT team, I’ve helped develop information security policies that ensure all records–analog and digital–are retained and protected, and together we’ve identified several gaps in the corporate retention schedule where important records generated by IT may have fallen through. One advantage of records management is that you get exposed to a plethora of record types–I now know more about employee medical records, factory emissions testing, and contracts and guarantees than I ever imagined I would.
As a passionate records manager, my boss goes out of her way to schedule trainings with different departments and open dialogues with other employees to help them navigate our retention schedule and improve their information workflows. By holding trainings as conversations, we discover what our employees need the most assistance with, whether it be identifying a single source of truth for their records or clarifying who is the official custodian of what records. My boss’ focus on face-to-face interactions and dedication to helping employees understand our policies is inspiring and definitely aligns with the service-oriented attitude many library professionals display.
Although it wasn’t a position I had originally pictured for myself, I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to work in records management. While I’ve now confirmed that my heart belongs to the non-profit and academic world, having experience in a large corporate setting with both active and inactive records has definitely given me a different perspective into not only the management of those records, but how to build relationships within an institution and encourage team members to create a dialogue about their information management issues. It’s also a wonderful reminder that the unique skill set I’ve learned while getting my MLIS can also translate to the world outside of traditional libraries and archives.
Categories: Internships & Volunteering