Two students from the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) have been awarded scholarships to attend the 2019 Managing Electronic Records (MER) Conference. Miana Breed, Master of Science in Library Science (MSLS) student, and Betsy Ford, Master of Science in Information Science (MSIS) student, will travel to Chicago for the conference, set for May 19-22.
Funded by MER sponsor Cohasset Associates, the scholarship program was introduced to SILS by Professor Cal Lee in 2004. Since then, two students have been provided the opportunity to attend the MER conference each year. The scholarships cover registration costs, meals, and the receptions. Recipients are expected to arrive one day before to help run the conference.
Breed, who has worked as a born-digital processor and digital preservation assistant at UNC-Charlotte and UNC-Chapel Hill, is interested in seeing how her skills translate to electronic records management and information governance (IG). She also wants to explore the differences between memory institutions and corporate, legal, and other varieties of archives.
“Attending the MER conference will give me a chance to see how electronic records are managed in many settings, and it will provide me an opportunity to ask IG professionals about their career paths and how they maintain their skills in the workplace,” Breed said.
Ford, who is pursuing IG professional certification, said the conference is offering sessions that will help her prepare for the exam as well as provide insights for her master’s paper.
“The records management industry has seen a lot of change recently with the emergence of information governance,” Ford said. “I am eager to hear how professionals are responding and to find out what the landscape looks like as I begin my job search.”
Breed’s master’s paper focuses on the ethical and practical implications of social media archiving. She hopes to see some aspects of her research reflected in the preservation and management activities at the conference.
“Social media presents a relatively new challenge to archives and other records institutions, in that the ephemeral nature of the posts and the variety of the content makes it difficult to preserve,” Breed said. “Best practices are still emerging in the archival community regarding the preservation of and access to social media records, which is likely to be an issue raised in some of the panels at the MER conference.”
Both Breed and Ford, who are in the final year of their master’s programs at SILS, said they are grateful to SILS, Cohasset, and Professor Lee for providing them the opportunity to attend a well-respected conference and be a part of the IG/RIM conversation.
“I can think of no better way to end my academic year than attending a specialized electronic records conference,” Breed said.