Natalie Ceeney, Chief Executive of the UK’s National Archives was named IWR Information Professional of the Year 2008 yesterday. The trophy was presented as delegates gathered over drinks to mark the end of Day 1 of the conference. Interestingly, Ms Ceeney’s official title is ‘Keeper of the Public Records’ but she prefers to be known as ‘Head of Profession for Knowledge and Information Management for Government’ – an ambitious declaration of the scope and significance of the information profession.
Just before the ceremony took place I had the chance to catch up with a previous winner, Sheila Corrall
who is Professor of Librarianship & Information Management at the University of Sheffield, and Mike McConnell, Business Applications Manager at the University of Aberdeen
Our conversation centred on the challenges of recruiting students to information management courses – particularly at post-graduate level. UK universities are innovating at a rapid pace in order to create flexible, attractive courses that appeal to students – and that, crucially, enable mature students and those who are already working to get involved. So distance learning initiatives and flexible course schedules are important. At the same time, UK students have to take on significant student loans to fund their studies, and so are thinking carefully about the remuneration levels of the profession they enter when they graduate. In many cases information careers aren’t ticking that box. I would like to think that the example of Natalie Ceeney and others like her will inspires others to scale the heights of the profession.