Guest post by Rhiannon Wallace, 2nd year iSchool Student, UBC
From July to October of 2020 I had the opportunity to complete a Professional Experience term with the UBC Development and Alumni Engagement Awards team and the UBC Records Management Office. I was excited to continue the work of Arika Keneko who undertook an Internship with the Records Management Office over the summer of 2019. I worked closely with two supervisors: DAE Awards Manager Melissa Lasko, who had a deep understanding of the organization for which I was helping to implement a new file structure, and e-Records Manager, Barbara Towell, who was able to share her knowledge and expertise in records management. For a student new to real-world records management, working closely with Melissa and Barbara was a highly valuable learning experience.
For a student new to real-world records management, working closely with Melissa and Barbara was a highly valuable learning experience
From course work and professional development sessions, I had learned how important communication can be in records management work. This was certainly true of the DAE Awards project! Melissa and I met with staff members to consult with them on the new filing structure, and weekly meetings with Melissa and Barbara helped me to navigate the challenge of balancing records management principles with the specific needs of a workplace. At the end of the project, Melissa and I sent out an end-user satisfaction survey to get staff’s feedback on the new filing structure and the implementation process.
I also began to realize how different remote work is from in-person work – in the past I had used MS Outlook and other tools to schedule meetings, but I had not relied so heavily on online tools such as Zoom to collaborate with colleagues and supervisors. Although I look forward to being able to meet colleagues in-person again eventually, I was glad that we were able to adapt such a collaborative project to an online format.
…I was glad that we were able to adapt such a collaborative project to an online format.
Although most of my work was remote, in late September I was able to visit the DAE office in person. Melissa and I met to transfer the files to the newly structured shared drive. Completing the transfer felt nerve-wracking, as this phase would determine whether the new structure was effective. Happily, the transfer went smoothly. We were grateful for the help of a UBC IT professional.
I found it ironic (or perhaps fitting) that a records management project would generate so many new records! To track progress, analyze information, record staff feedback, and provide staff documentation, I used familiar tools such as Word and Excel, as well as tools I had never used such as Visio. With so many documents to create, save, and distribute, I soon realized first-hand why our records management work was important!
Being a part of this DAE Awards records management project has been a great experience and has convinced me to consider records management as a career option. The challenges I faced during this project helped me improve my skills and knowledge, and the positive outcomes, have inspired me to continue pursuing similarly challenging, and thus rewarding, projects in the future.