LIBR 595 – Practicum @ Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

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I completed my two week practicum at Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG) just over a week ago and am happy to report that it was a worthwhile and interesting experience. Having only been introduced to the idea of legal librarianship through my first semester in library school (I was a Jan 2014 intake), I was interested in getting a taste of this sort of corporate/private sector librarianship and experiencing what it would be like to work in a non-traditional library environment. BLG was kind enough to take me on and provide me with this experience.

BLG, being one of the bigger national firms and, I believe, the second biggest firm in Vancouver, was a great place to experience legal librarianship. I got to work with a team of two library technicians and two librarians (although one was away on holiday and graciously let me sit at her desk). During my time at BLG I got an opportunity to try a variety of tasks and was treated as a valuable member of the library team.

I can’t say I had a set routine, but rather was given a few projects to work on while I was there and had the opportunity to try out different things as the came up. Some of the tasks I was able to help out with included: shelving and library maintenance, filing of incoming updates to current holdings, media monitoring on specific topics, pulling cases for legal assistants, researching topics of interest for the library, undergoing quicklaw training, updating a “Top Five” list of key resources for different areas of law, and conducting mock reference interviews.

As I am not really qualified to do reference for complex legal questions, the librarians collected a sample of previously asked questions that I was then tasked to come up with answers to. This sort of legal research was interesting and gave me a bit of insight into what being a legal librarian is like and how much skill and knowledge it takes to be proficient.

Although two weeks is a short time to spend in a work environment, I think it was enough to give me a sense of what the job could be like and what working in a law firm would entail. It was nice to be surrounded with professionals doing important work. My sense was that the library played an important role in the functioning of the firm and that the librarians were well respected and utilized by the lawyers and other staff.

In the end, working at BLG was a wonderful experience. I felt like I was utilized as much as possible and felt welcomed by the staff. Getting to go to work everyday in Waterfront Centre and having a staff espresso machine wasn’t so bad either 😉

ARST 596 – CITY OF VANCOUVER RECORDS MANAGEMENT, PARKS BOARD

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Interim Report Two

Since the submission of my first interim report, my work at the Parks Board has largely been focused on analyzing a substantial records series consisting of agreements and indentures relating to property, land development, and service contracts. Some of the agreements date back to the early- or mid- twentieth century but are still in force, while others may require renewal, or are expired and archivable. The inventory documenting the agreements forms part of a wider system developed by the city’s records management unit to index and track agreements across various city departments. Part of my task is to match the physical files with the inventory, and to note which contracts are still active and may need to stay onsite for staff referral, and which may be obsolete and ready for transfer to archives.

The exercise of perusing a variety of agreements and contracts relating to different subjects has trained me to understand key information to look for, such as the terms of agreements, whether agreements are signed, and whether they are in their final form, as distinct from draft forms. I have also learned how to differentiate agreements from other types of supporting documentation, such as board recommendations and resolutions. Finally, I have been introduced to the different forms that legal agreements may take, including for example correspondence that upon closer inspection may constitute contracts. Jeannette, my supervisor at the city’s Corporate Records Centre (CRC), has continued to meet with me each week to discuss issues and questions that arise, and to provide the organizational and procedural contexts for the creation of such agreements.

In the past few weeks, at the request of the Parks Board office manager, I have also begun to develop local processes for managing, documenting and storing semi-active records on-site. The process has been designed to fit into procedures for transferring records from departmental units to the CRC, to increase efficiency and minimize unnecessary work. This has been accomplished by using the same document inventory template for transferring records with a few modifications, so that when the time comes, ideally in accordance with the records’ retention periods, the same document may be submitted to the CRC. I have also created a master inventory to track boxes stored onsite. The various semi-active records series that have been processed over the last few weeks have provided me with the opportunity to test and implement this system.

LIBR 596 UBC Archives and Records Management

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June 7, 2014

Interim Report 2

Prior to the submission of my first interim report, I had only been able to work with a single department in the creation of a high-level inventory of their records due to some due to the availability of departmental units. Since that time, the number of boxes to be processed has increased significantly and I have been able to work with the majority of the departmental units that need to process records. The speed with which the project has been required to be completed has affected the level of depth at which I have been involved in records appraisal. This has resulted in in my experience changing from one in which I am doing detailed appraisal to a records triage project, in which the volume of the records prohibits substantial analysis.

The process for working with the departmental units has been to arrange a time to meet, have a discussion about retention periods, have the units put records in boxes and fill out box labels with a description of the contents and a disposition date. Once this is done, the records manager and I have been entering the label data into a spreadsheet. With this procedure, we have processed almost 1200 boxes in the last few weeks.

The result of this change in procedure has changed the objective of the project to one which my role, and the role of the records manager, is to facilitate the management and appraisal of the records by the departmental units that created them without major input on how their records are managed. This objective is necessitated by a timeline that require more product and less process.

This experience is helping me understand, as I indicated in my previous interim report, a service based approach to records management in which the records manager facilitates records management by departments and some of the people-based challenges to records management. In addition, I am learning about how to scale a project effectively and decide on the appropriate amount of detail in the face of strict deadlines. A project of this scale with a deadline that is as strict as it has been would not likely have been possible without the process on which the project currently relies.

There are a few hundred more boxes to process, which will be followed by a report to the head of the department on the project.

Scott Owens

LIBR 596 UBC Archives and Records Management

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May 20, 2014

Interim Report 1

The objective of my project is to facilitate and assist with records appraisal project for departmental units that are losing some records storage space as part of a University of British Columbia Archives and Records Management project. The project involves creating a high level inventory of the records and assisting the units in assigning retention periods and making disposition decisions. The units within the departments have multiple types of records, each with different business and regulatory requirements for records retention, disposition and storage.

The orientation to records management at the University of British Columbia is helping me understand the organizational culture and structure of the University of British Columbia and its records management program. I have been learning about a service oriented approach to records management in which records management focusses, predominately, on working with departments to help them meet their information management challenges, rather than on imposing rules for records management.  I am also gaining a better understanding of how to address some of the people-based challenges in records management and how to solve these challenges by reassuring departmental units about the capabilities of records management to manage records and the function of records management.

The scheduling for the project is based on the time made available by departments. This has resulted in being able to work with a single unit at this point in the project. This unit had only financial records that were, for the most part, decided to be retained for 7 years, based on the requirements from the Canada Revenue Agency, with some longer retention periods required for meeting internal audits.

During the rest of the project, I will be working with other units with more varied retention requirements. The records of these units will not all have a singular retention period as was the case with the financial records of the other unit and I will be involved in researching and drafting retention schedules.

Scott Owens

ARST 596 – City of Vancouver Records Management, Parks Board

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At this first interim stage, my professional experience at the City of Vancouver Parks Board has proven to be valuable, though I will admit that my initial motivation for undertaking the experience stemmed from reasons not strictly related to work. Housed in a stunning West Coast modernist structure of wood, stone and glass dating from 1962, the Parks Board offices overlook English Bay to the west and the entrance to Stanley Park to the east – an ideal setting for a springtime practicum! On my first day, my supervisor Jeannette Black, Corporate Records Administrator in the city’s Records and Archives Division, facilitated a half-day training session for me and two other Parks Board employees. We learned about the city’s file classification and records management standard, VanRIMS (Vancouver Records and Information Management Standard), developed largely by Jeannette. During the first week, Andrea Arnold, Corporate Records Centre Coordinator, also trained me and another Parks Board employee on how to transfer records to the city’s records management facility at City Hall, the Corporate Records Centre (CRC).

In the past three weeks, I have worked on a variety of small projects analyzing semi-active or inactive Parks Board documents using the VanRIMS classification. I started by creating a detailed inventory for a series of Parks Board programming records consisting of nine boxes, and initiating the formal process of transferring the records to the CRC. This enabled me to practice documenting, assessing, and transferring records from their office of creation to inactive storage. Eventually, from the Parks Board to the CRC, the records will be transferred to the city archives.

My next project has been more challenging in the best way possible. This project involved analyzing and applying classifications to seven boxes of materials, many of which were several decades old. The boxes did not at first seem to form a cohesive series, but in the course of analyzing the documents it emerged that many are the records of a former manager at the Parks Board. The process of analyzing the documents presented an opportunity to examine different types of records and to consider the various, sometimes complex, criteria that contribute to a determination of their value. I was able to spend more time exploring VanRIMS using the VanRIMS Web Tool, which offers descriptions of each classification, along with their recommended retentions and dispositions. The classification system provides an essential structure supporting the work of contextualizing and evaluating documents. Jeannette visited the Parks Board each week to answer questions, provide guidance, and discuss the recommended classifications and dispositions.

Next, I will send the majority of the boxes for shredding, with a few to be kept on-site to fulfill their retentions before eventually being archived or destroyed. I am looking forward to undertaking other projects in the next few weeks, such as working with scrapbooks and agreements that may be transferred for archiving, and developing a localized practice for Parks Board staff to manage semi-active records stored on-site.

LIBR 595 Practicum – Algonquin College Library

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I spent two weeks at Algonquin College from April 14-25, working with the two librarians, manager, and twelve library technicians. Everyone was very welcoming and generous with their time. I was given a really valuable range of activities to observe and to participate in.

Recently the library has built a number of Libguides and has plans for many more. I made a Libguide for college faculty, to present relevant library services and resources. I completed this project over two weeks, working independently and consulting with various people. I researched other similar guides at nearby colleges and universities and looked at other examples from the Libguides community, then led a focus group of college staff who support faculty professional development, and presented my resulting plan to managers. A library technician showed me the Libguides platform and helped me throughout with the details, other people advised me on faculty needs in specific areas, and managers gave me feedback on the overall strategy. I really appreciated the opportunity to work on a project and end up with a finished product.

This work was mixed in very well with other activities in the library, and provided a great balance to my days.

Right now the library is working a new website, and I was able to attend meetings and share ideas on the design. I was made to feel very comfortable giving input, and accepted as someone with things to contribute. This was the part of my experience that gave me the strongest glimpse of what a future role for me in this kind of library could look like.

Each day I spent an hour on the reference desk, working with two different library technicians each time. I was able to see basic circulation, some reference questions, learn about the audiovisual borrowing available, and get an idea of the most common needs of students. It was also a great opportunity to talk to staff who had different roles and focused on different areas of the operations of the library.

I also spent some time doing copy cataloguing, learning from the cataloguing library technician about reliable sources of records and the most important fields. It was really valuable for me to see that side of the library up close, and to recognize a lot of the terms and concepts I had come across in class.

Like her, many people took time and made generous efforts to show me or explain what was involved in various aspects of their jobs. Because I was only there for a short time, it was a huge advantage to be taught explicitly about the areas that I wouldn’t be there long enough to see, or to understand just by watching. This was especially true for the background roles of both librarians. They took the time to include me in meetings, teleconferences, and webinars, as well as setting aside time just to talk with me about other ongoing responsibilities. These were some of the most beneficial hours during my two weeks. I gained a lot from the natural sharing of these librarians, and learned about the many parts of their jobs, as well as the organizations and systems they work with.

My practicum was an amazing experience for me; I gained more than I could have imagined in just two short weeks. I think the structure of my time, arranged by my supervisor, is a great model for other practicums. She scheduled me to attend meetings, observe other tasks and help behind the reference desk, and gave me time to work on a project of my own. This was a perfect balance of watching and doing, both larger issues and daily tasks.

– Kaitie Warren

LIBR 596 – Professional Experience – Research Commons, Koerner Library (Part 2)

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I am a smidge late in getting this second interim report out. I was swamped with work around the time it was due, and am only now getting around to tying up all of my loose ends. I still remember March well enough to be able to speak to my experiences in Koerner around that time, though, and that is what I will do.

February was extremely busy, and filled almost entirely with planning for Freedom to Read week. I got to work on my design skills, and discovered that while I am not great at any kind of illustration, I am pretty good at taking the art other people have created and making new art with it. (All art curtsey of creative commons licenses, of course, I’m not a monster.) I was able to get Koerner staff (and other UBC library branch staff!) involved in the displays by planning a series of posters in which library staff were “caught” reading banned books.

March is when I really got sailing on the subject guide for Gender, Race, and Sexuality. It was a great experience, and I was afforded a good deal of independence in researching and selecting materials for inclusion in or removal from the guide. Having the opportunity to work on a guide that deals with subjects I am interested in is kind of amazing. On the one hand I already know of several resources that I am excited to be able to share with people, and on the other hand researching new resources gave me more materials that I want to read and engage with. It was a great learning opportunity, not only in terms of building the guide but learning more about social justice issues and how to be a better ally.

Around this time Trish Rosseel (who had been supervising my event planning activities) became Head of Koerner Library (hooray!) and Erin Fields took over supervising that side of my work. Susan Paterson continued to supervise my work on the subject guide. I feel fortunate to have worked with all of these women, and having worked at other branches at UBC Library I was not surprised to find them all brilliant and wonderful to work with. Susan, Erin, and Trish are intelligent, innovative, and passionate about what they do, and those are qualities I both admire and strive for.

So far I think this professionally experiences is one of the best things I’ve done at SLAIS. I kind of wish I could go back in time and do it all over again. If only I had a TARDIS.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE – FINAL REPORT (UBCIC RESOURCE CENTRE)

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Name: Jordan Hatt

Course: LIBR 596: Professional Experience

Host Organization: Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) Resource Centre

Final Report

Briefly summarize what you achieved in this project, and whether you were able to complete the project as originally planned.

The goal of my professional experience was to assist in the redevelopment and reclassification project at the UBCIC Resource Centre; as the reclassification project is an enormous undertaking, and has been ongoing since April 2013, I did not have the opportunity to see the project through to completion. I was able to make a large and significant impact by processing hundreds, if not thousands of books through the workflow from initial assessment to cataloguing to shelving.

Please comment on any problems you encountered on carrying out the project that affected the final result.

I did not encounter any problems during my professional experience that affected the final result. Naturally, as I was implementing the relatively new skill of cataloguing within an unfamiliar ILS (Evergreen), I made some initial minor errors, which Alissa noted in her assessment, and I promptly addressed and improved.

Were you satisfied with the nature and amount of supervision you received?

I was more than satisfied with the nature and amount of supervision I received. My professional experience was largely self-directed, as the UBCIC Resource Centre has a small staff and many priorities. Alissa Cherry introduced me to the workflow and personally trained me in all areas of the workflow on my first day, and was always available for further clarification and instruction. The first week of my professional experience Alissa double checked all of my work and provided me with written feedback and suggestions for improvement. I appreciated the opportunity for the freedom to work at my pace.  As I said in my interim reports, Alissa was amazingly helpful and encouraging throughout my entire experience!

Please briefly describe what you feel you learned from this project.

During my time at the UBCIC Resource Centre while working on the reclassification process, I gained solid experience in each aspect of the workflow, and I ultimately learned how to:

– Assess damaged items and suggest needed repairs
– Repair loose book bindings
– Install book jackets
– Classify items to Library of Congress Classification standards
– Classify items to Brian Deer Classification standards
– Create item cutters
– Catalogue items to AACR2 standards
– Utilize the Evergreen ILS cataloguing holdings maintenance modules

Additionally, I felt that my introduction to the day to day operation of a small library was a truly valuable experience, as I now have a better understanding of the role of the head librarian as well as the overall workflow of a small library.

Do you have any recommendations you would like to make about the structure of the professional experience?

I found the structure of the professional experience sufficient without being overbearing. I was familiar with the UBCIC Resource Centre’s Reclassification Project as I spoke with Alissa Cherry about volunteering prior to setting up my professional experience, so I am unsure how much information on the project would have been provided beforehand had I approached SLAIS first; that being said, I think that having an overview of the project as well as the project plan was helpful to have at the start, as it guided my experience and provided structure with a clear end goal.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE – INTERIM REPORT 2 (UBCIC RESOURCE CENTRE)

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Name: Jordan Hatt

Course: LIBR 596: Professional Experience

Host Organization: Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) Resource Centre

Interim Report #2

Since my last update, my focus at the UBCIC Resource Centre has shifted from familiarizing myself with the general workflow of the redevelopment and processing items, to developing and improving my cataloguing and classification skills. I have spent the second stage of my professional experience primarily cataloguing a wide range of  items within the Evergreen ILS, including government publications, conference proceedings, dual language publications, multi-volume sets, and dissertations.

Because the reclassification project at the UBCIC Resource Centre is utilizing the Brian Deer Classification System, most of the new volunteers are largely unfamiliar with the system and have not worked with it before. I am grateful that Alissa has provided me with the opportunity to utilize my knowledge of this classification system in order to assist other volunteers when appropriate. Explaining and demonstrating my knowledge to other volunteers has further allowed me to solidify my skills.

Alissa Cherry and the staff at the UBCIC Resource Centre have been overwhelmingly supportive throughout my professional experience thus far; Alissa has been more than helpful as she takes the time to listen to my questions and provide me not only with answers, but also with the tools for improvement.

The final phase of my professional experience will focus on enhancing and refining the skills that I have developed over the past few weeks, with the ultimate goal of becoming confident in my ability to assess, classify, and catalogue a wide range of difficult materials within the Evergreen ILS.

Professional Experience – Interim Report 2

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Name: Lisa Uyeda

Course: ARST 596: Professional Experience

Host Organization: BC Hydro

Date: March 28, 2014

While working at BC Hydro, a provincial Crown corporation that provides power services to individuals and organizations across the province, I’ve come to realize the vast amount of data and records being produced every day throughout the organization. As an additional project to my professional experience, I’ve had the opportunity to assist in researching retention schedules identified within the BC legislation regarding meter data captured from BC Hydro’s generating stations (i.e. the dams). The BC Hydro electric system uses the principle of streamflow and falling water to generate electricity across the Province. The water held in reservoirs or captured from rivers flow through penstocks, causing the turbine blades and shaft to rotate, which then drives the generator to convert the mechanical rotational energy into electric energy. This system is what generates enough power for consumers to charge their cell phones, keep the refrigerator running, and adjust the temperature in their home. Meter data is thus used to capture how much water is drawn through the dam in order to generate electric energy.

The Province of British Columbia has the Water Act [RSBC 1996] c.483, the British Columbia Dam Safety Regulation 44/2000, the Ground Water Protection Regulation 299/2004, and the Water Regulation 204/88 in place to manage the use of the water systems throughout the Province. For the purposes of my research, I was focused on identifying any retention rules that may pertain to the meter data captured from the dams. This included any record retention rules identified to govern the operation of the dams, compliance with the Water Act and Regulations that identify BC Hydro’s water licenses, and compliance with the applicable acts and regulations that identify BC Hydro’s financial requirements. I reviewed the Water Act and regulations; the Financial Administration Act [RSBC 1996] c.138; the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act [SBC] c.23 and the Government Organization Accounting Standards Regulation 257/2010; and the Utilities Commission Act [RSBC 1996] c.473. Just as I was finishing reviewing and compiling my notes from the above legislations, I learned that the Province introduced the Water Sustainability Act (Bill 18) into the B.C. Legislature for first reading. The proposed section 116 titled ‘Records and reporting’, is devoted to the management of records as prescribed under the Water Sustainability Act. BC Hydro thus decided to retain all data captured from the generating stations until a final decision is made on the Water Sustainability Act. If and when the new Water Sustainability Act is passed through the B.C. Legislature, it will replace the current Water Act. For more information about the Water Sustainability Act, including access to the proposed Bill 18, I recommend reviewing: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/watersustainabilityact/.

The second phase of my original project plan is the development of a draft retention schedule applicable to the Information Technology (IT) Operation, Support, and Projects. Since BC Hydro is a Crown corporation identified as a public body and under compliance to the same legislation the Province complies with (such as the Document Disposal Act [RSBC 1996] c.98), the retention schedules identified within the Province’s Administrative Records Classification System (Arcs) and Operational Records Classification System (Orcs) can be used as a template. The Province’s Arcs and Orcs were reviewed to identify the types of records managed by the Province’s IT department, how these records compare to the records managed by BC Hydro’s IT department, and the scheduled retention periods that comply with the Document Disposal Act, the Limitation Act [RSBC 1985] c.R-2, and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act [RSBC 1996] c.165.

The first draft of the retention schedule is complete and is currently undergoing editing. The draft retention schedule focuses on compiling larger buckets (categories of records) and outline: the record class name; the record class number; the description of the activities captured by the record; the disposition rules that govern the records in the records class; any exceptions to the disposition rules; and a list of the significant or important record types captured by the record class that require management. Having just surpassed 80 hours out of the allotted 120 hours for this project, I remain on pace with the proposed work schedule. I look forward to completing the retention schedule over the next few weeks.