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Information science: graduate area of work

Information officers are responsible for managing the acquisition, supply and distribution of information within an organisation and for making that information accessible to its clients/customers.

Information officers are employed by a wide variety of private and public sector organisations including public libraries and information services, government departments, professional associations, research establishments, charities, the British Library, academic/school libraries and commercial organisations such as manufacturers and banks.

Key aspects of the work include:

  • evaluating, organising, classifying, managing and distributing information in a variety of formats
  • supervising junior staff
  • answering enquiries
  • maintaining statistical and financial records
  • writing reports
  • finding and retrieving information from online databases.

What's required

A degree or postgraduate qualification that's accredited by the Library Association/Institute of Information Scientists is generally required for entry into the profession. Specialist knowledge may also be needed for some vacancies. At least one year of relevant experience is often necessary prior to postgraduate study, and this can be gained by working as a library/information assistant, or via a graduate training scheme (the Library Association publishes an annual list of training vacancies).

Competition for jobs, traineeships, and course places is strong. Employers seek motivated individuals with excellent research, IT, organisational, teamworking, verbal communication and interpersonal skills. All candidates must be computer literate and able to use databases and the internet.

Where to find out more

Vacancies are advertised via the internet, by careers services and specialist recruitment agencies such as TFPL and INFOmatch, in local/national newspapers, in The Times Higher Education Supplement and in the Library Association's fortnightly bulletin. Speculative and early applications for traineeships and postgraduate courses (particularly where funding is sought) are essential.

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