Name: Robin Dunlop
Course: MSc Information & Library Studies
Robin is in the second semester of his MSc in Information & Library Studies, having started the course in September 2016. We've been following his progress after our first chat at the start of start of term, and caught up with him to find out how things were going.
So how are you finding the second Semester?
Yeah, pretty good, the second semester has been very vocationally orientated, working on projects that I would hope I would be able to take to the employers - working on work sites, building a video and library catalogue. First semester focused more on theory, whilst second semester focused on technical skills focused.
What did you enjoy the most about your course?
The classmates on the course have been very good – a very friendly, collective bunch with diverse backgrounds from across the world. I very much enjoyed the vocational aspects of the course in terms of skills I have gained from it and can now show off to employers. I can show it is not just the academic theory that I have been used to before.
And it is also quite a new course, so everyone is in the same boat.
But it is also information, which is such an industry at the moment. We live in the information age – data is all around us so people should do information and library studies courses. Another highlight of mine was that I was lucky enough to get a placement within the University on a project where I actually used the skills I learned on the course, and was able to take it into a working environment straight away in creating a digital library database.
Another highlight of mine was that I was lucky enough to get a placement within the university on a project where I actually used the skills I learned on the course.
Tell us one thing that would surprise people about the course.
What surprised me is that everything is so much more digital these days than during my first degree in Strathclyde. Also when speaking to people and saying you are studying librarianship, it is librarianship with digital technologies. Looking after information and making it easier as far as retrieval purposes is concerned. So it is maybe more surprising to other people when they find out what you are doing. It is like librarianship 2.0 – that’s what we called it on the course.
I suppose a lot of people do not realise that it is all digital these days.
Absolutely, and that is why I researched a lot before applying and realised there is a vocational pathway to work across industries. Every industry works with data technology so who better to access it in a quality purpose? We are there to ease the search retrieval purposes. It is the quality over quantity.
I researched a lot before applying and realised there is a vocational pathway to work across industries.
How have the facilities been at Strathclyde?
The platforms I’ve been working on (building the website, making videos and creating digital catalogues) have been very good and having access to them has been very good. We have also been pretty independent as far as building them is concerned. It has also been a mixture of using computer labs across the campus and the library for the individual work.
How is your dissertation going?
It’s a lot on information societies; it is the importance of libraries in societies, but that libraries themselves do not really promote that importance so the marketability of libraries and the lack of it – there is a wealth of the services libraries offer.
Certainly working on placements and seeing what libraries offer (from their websites and being inside them) – it is not well known, even the digital stuff that they offer. Maybe libraries just have to start talking about what they offer and how they are benefiting the society.
I was worried to do my dissertation on this topic as it is part of my professional background. However after speaking to my tutor I realised that we all have different backgrounds coming into this degree and that libraries want that experience and skillset of diverse backgrounds. It is all about the marketability – to communicate the value of libraries.
Have you taken part in any extra activities to help your studies?
I did a project with the University's Media and Corporate Communications team working on digital archiving. It allowed me to use the skills from the course to work on digital libraries and archiving.
Having done an undergraduate and a postgraduate taught course here at Strathclyde, how have the experiences differed?
The postgraduate course has been so much more vocational. There was a large chunk of theory in the first semester that I enjoyed, but it also taught you skills employers look for in Semester 2. This has been a very hands on course, it is definitely a top quality course.
This has been a very hands on course, it is definitely a top quality course.
What is the one thing you would recommend a new student in Glasgow?
Get a ticket to the Glasgow Film Theatre – it has fantastic films in such a good atmosphere.