This blog entry is part of a series of posts by DIS students for the Library Day in the Life Project.
I’m a full time student on the Library and Information Studies MA. As compatriots Jennifer and Annie mention below, one of our modules for the spring term is Management. For one assignment, we are to examine the legal issues surrounding an imagined scenario encountered by a library. So this morning I have spent my time trying to get to grips with the Data Protection, Freedom of Information, and Copyright acts and how, if at all, these legislations apply to unpublished material authored by deceased persons.
These acts of Parliament embody core liberal values such as rights to ownership, privacy and freedom. Over the past months, we have seen a conflict between these important values exposed and most upsettingly abused to justify private gain by some press. The pursuance of freedom at all costs compromises privacy and vice versa. The key is striking a balance, and for the information professional, weighing up the risks under the constraints of limited time and resources.
For this assignment and others my tutors need not be worried; I don’t attend adopt the ‘lob it in’ method as demonstrated by one distinguished tabloid editor. I can sympathise though, although not wholeheartedly. From my little experience so far working in two high-profile organisations both scrutinised and regulated extensively, important decisions concerning the management of information are made daily. I have been afforded the time for this assignment to research the legal issues surrounding an imagined scenario, but in the real world time is of the essence and there is often little of it to go around. I am beginning to understand that knowledge of the law on these matters and the nouse to weigh risks appropriate to the size and type of the organisation are vital skills for the information professional, especially with fewer barriers to access information and greater expectation than ever before.
From legislation to ligature: students on the MA course are required to choose two optional modules and for one of which I chose Manuscripts Studies. This is unlike anything I’ve studied before and that’s why chose it. So this evening and to end my #libday8 I will spend it distinguishing minuscule from majuscules, uncial from cursive, the quire from its inserted singleton and appreciating the finer aspects of the medieval Insular script.