School of Library, Archive and Information Studies

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History Students Research Location

The history of the School explains why today it is able to offer a range of programmes unrivalled in both depth and diversity. Set up at UCL in 1919 as the School of Librarianship, it was the first of its kind in Britain; the study of Archive Administration was added in 1947. The MA in Library & Information Studies and the MA in Archives & Records Management continue to provide graduate entry respectively to a wide range of information-related professions.

In addition to these established programmes, the School has introduced within recent years a BSc in Information Management; and specialized, conversion and mid-career Masters' programmes (also available through Diploma and Certificate options). Of the Masters' programmes, the MA in Records & Archives Management (International) is geared to the needs of overseas students, largely from the developing world; the MA in Electronic Communication & Publishing is intended to convert graduates from other disciplines into multimedia publishing professionals; and the MSc in Information Science enables practising information professionals to update their skills in the use of computers and automated systems.

The student profile is varied in terms of backgrounds and interests with approximately one quarter of students from outside the United Kingdom. Masters courses can be taken full-time over one year or part-time over two years, or, in some cases, as a modular degree. Many students enter the MA in Library & Information Studies and the MA in Archives & Records Management after a one-year traineeship following their first degree, but there is a growing number of older students embarking on a change of career or acquiring a professional qualification in a field where they already have work experience.

MA home students are eligible for AHRB awards and the School has a high success rate in obtaining AHRB funding for suitably qualified candidates. Success in finding jobs on graduation is also excellent with over ninety percent of graduates in employment within six months of completing their courses and the majority considerably earlier than that.

Normally, undergraduates are accepted as post-A level candidates, with a wide subject range of A level or equivalent qualifications which reflects the multi-disciplinary nature of the BSc. Entrance is highly competitive. Graduates from this course frequently enter careers in business and finance, join consultancies or set up their own businesses and their success rate in finding employment is high.

At present there are approximately twenty research students researching a wide range of PhD topics. The Research Students Group meets regularly to provide an academic framework for individual postgraduate seminars and to act as a support group.

Students are exposed to a wide range of learning experiences including lectures, seminars, tutorials, laboratory sessions, group work and practical exercises. The School has a long tradition of ready access to staff by its students and encourages an "open-door" policy. The system of personal tutors who monitor academic and personal progress and, where necessary, raise non-confidential matters at departmental staff or teaching committee meetings ensures regular contact with students. All members of staff have clearly advertized office hours when they are normally available to students.

Research at the School concentrates on the following areas:

  • Classification: revision of the Universal Decimal Classification, currently work on the revision of Theology, Physics and Chemistry, Medicine, Social Welfare and Management. Development of the new edition of the Guide to the UDC. Bliss Bibliographic Classification. Development of faceted systems, and their application in electronic environments.
  • Historical Bibliography and Palaeography: history of the book, history of the book, the history of bookbinding and book structures, the history of decorated paper, the history of the booktrade; diplomatic and medieval manuscript illumination.
  • Preservation Management in Archives and Libraries: conservation of archival and library materials, mass de-acidification; training in preservation management; problems of preservation management related to the historic character of buildings which house libraries and archives.
  • Bibliography: guides to sources for the study of Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, bibliography of natural history and bibliography of cartography.
  • Printing and the Book Trade: significance of printing during the English Revolution; Tony Godwin and Penguin Books; modern book trade.
  • Library Management: resource needs of pre-school settings; exploiting of teaching and learning methods in enhancing student acquisition of management and key transferable skills.
  • Electronic Records Management: European Project E-Term (European Training in Electronic Records Management), development of teaching materials for electronic records management, particularly by distance learning.
  • Digital Library Technologies for the Humanities: computing in the humanities, text encoding, tools for working with electronic texts, linking of XML encoded finding aids (EAD) with full text transcriptions of documents, electronic edition of Theophrastus (in collaboration with Dept of Greek and Latin), handling non-standard characters.
  • Artificial Intelligence: applied logic, logic programming and knowledge representation; development of formal languages, theories and computational methods for reasoning about actions, and exploring their potential for application.
  • Retrieval Systems: usability of OPACs, quality issues.
  • Internet Usability: electronic books; user interaction with information; information flows, networking and subject gateways via the Web in the special interest area of human migration in the European-funded European Migration Information Network (EMIN).

See the staff profiles for recent publications.

The School is situated in the Henry Morley Building of UCL. In addition to the departmental office, staff accommodation and lecture room, a College computer cluster is housed on the ground floor of the building. This enables students to access library catalogues and other information sources available on the Internet as well as using all the central computing facilities available to members of UCL. These include a wide range of software packages in addition to the College's "Electronic Library", an ever-growing reference resource of bibliographic and full-text databases.

The School is fortunate in its geographical location for University College London lies in an area rich in great collections of books, manuscripts and other documents. Complementing the electronic environment, within a few hundred yards of UCL are the British Library, the University of London Library, and the many libraries of the institutes and other schools of the University. All over London are libraries and record repositories which are part of government, industrial, business, financial, ecclesiastical and other institutions. Students of the School visit and work in many of these and staff of these institutions are connected with the School and participate in research and teaching.

Last updated on 9 August 2000

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