Dual MAS & MLIS 2010


Jennifer Borland has received two things in tandem from Co-op: confirmation that she has chosen the right career path in records management, and a job offer from BC Hydro, resulting directly from her Co-op term with them in the fall of 2009. According to Jennifer, “Without a doubt, my Co-op position opened the door to my current job working as a records manager and librarian in a professional capacity.”

A Master of Archival Studies (MAS) and Master of Library Information Studies (MLIS) student of UBC’s SLAIS program, Jennifer’s Co-op term as an Information Analyst at BC Hydro and Power Authority allowed her to put theory into practice and gave her the confidence in her ability to deliver on her projects; making her a key player in planning, designing, and implementing a records management project for one of the company’s engineering departments.

Her first project in the fall of 2009 was to “build and implement an organizational system that would improve access and management” to the department’s bibliographic resources. This required an extremely detailed, multi-step process that included conducting collection surveys and interviews, creating a library catalogue of over 2,400 titles, and not to mention constant communication and liaising with the wide range of stakeholders involved.

She was then asked to update the engineering department’s records classification scheme – an exciting task, but not easy in the least! Because of her ability to adapt “the theories and principles of archival science to the corporate environment” and due to the success of her previous project, Jenny was bridged into BC Hydro as a Information Analyst, following with a second contractual term as a Records Analyst. To her, “Working as a Co-op student was my 4-month long interview and it definitely paved the way to my current job with the company.”

Though one of the more challenging aspects of her work term was “making the transition from theoretical discussion to the pragmatic deliverables,” Jennifer’s Co-op term still allowed her studies in SLAIS to translate directly into a professional environment.  She says, “It would have been impossible to design and build a library and records management system without library and archival theory.” In fact, she defends the oft criticized abstract and seemingly pointless nature of theory, “It became the foundation for the library and records systems. Archival and library theories were the knowledge base for my Co-op work. If I didn’t have a theoretical understanding, my projects wouldn’t have been firmly underpinned.”

The project aspect was not the only deal maker – it’s about building relationships too. In fact, Jennifer’s most memorable Co-op experience was “getting to know my Hydro family. The best times were the long days in the office, where I got to know the engineers and drafters, especially over coffee and lunch breaks. The engineers would tell funny stories and we would all share a good belly laugh. Those were the best times.”

Jennifer recommends that all students enroll in the Co-op program. “It’s an excellent opportunity to apply the theories, principles and methodologies to the real world.” With a strong hold on archival and library theories and an impressive portfolio of work experience, Jennifer can look forward to a successful career in records management.