Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tour of the CBC Library and Archives!, further reflections on going to school as an archivist

Through my program, I have the chance to take a tour of the Library and Archives of the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) in Toronto. I'm quite excited about this as I've long been a fan of the CBC and think that they are one of Canada's interesting institutions. Apparently this event is so popular that I might not get a chance to see it. If I do end going in October, I expect to make a post about it here.

I am now a few weeks into my studies at "Information School" and it is a fairly interesting place so far. I wasn't sure how to compare it with other kinds of professional / graduate programs. It isn't as expensive (though the tuition level is steadily approaching the cost of most Canadian law schools) or competitive as medical or law school, so this makes for a more collegial atmosphere. Presumably, I think that archivists (and librarians etc) are often very collegial and interested in cooperation - these are professional characteristics that interest me.

On the other hand, the professional aspect mean that there is a fairly strong careerist undercurrent to most classes, which can be strongly articulated by mature students in particular though I think most people share it to some degree. While I enjoy some of my readings, about the social and political politics of classification (there was some great medical examples too, but archives/library methods also determine the limits of knowledge in some interesting ways), I'm still a bit ambivalent about the whole process. The pendulm tends to swing between stimulating academic/theoretical reflection (e.g. "What is the underlying theory of archives?") and rigidly, professional workshop type training (er, hard to express but certainly something that comes to mind).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Still around but so much busier

It has been close to two weeks since I last posted. There have been several subjects that I have been meaning to write about here - such as the disconnect between enrolment at Information Studies programs and the current state of the job market and some comments on some of my assigned readings. However, I have been kept extremely busy by a long commute to and from campus and by a considerable amount of part-time work. I'm hoping to do a longer post on some of these subjects later this week.

Yesterday, I had my first ever Archives class. It looks quite stimulating - the flexibility in paper assignments is welcome as is the the visit to Major City Archives. Grad (/professional) school should not be so fast to dismiss the merit of field trips.