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Birkbeck History Ma Dissertation Guidelines Walden

Aberystwyth University’s MA/Diploma in Information and Library Studies will equip you with the highly desirable skills employers need to manage their most valuable assets in our global ‘information economy’. Read more…

About he course

Aberystwyth University’s MA/Diploma in Information and Library Studies will equip you with the highly desirable skills employers need to manage their most valuable assets in our global ‘information economy’. You will be able to identify, organise, retrieve and make accessible information across paper, electronic and multimedia formats. This MA or Diploma will equip you to fulfil the essential role that companies and professional bodies need to compete effectively in a fast-moving national and international business environment. This course features a range of optional modules which allow you to direct your studies into areas which particularly fascinate you.

The MA and Diploma are accredited by both CILIP and the Institute of Information Scientists making it one of the best courses for professional practice.

The Department of Information Studies at Aberystwyth has an impressive track record. In the department’s forty years of teaching, we have produced some of the UK's, and indeed the world's, leading librarians and information professionals. Our alumni include two national librarians (Scotland and former Wales), the first black national librarian in South Africa, and the Director of the Bureau for Library and Information Services at the United Nations.

You can tailor your learning towards a wide range of career paths, such as children and schools work (with the Focus on the Child: Children's Literature and Schools Libraries and Learning Resources modules) and business services (including the modules on Business Information Services, and Management Information Systems).

This highly practical course is built around a variety of reports, essays, presentations, and case studies which will enable you to relate theoretical knowledge to the workplace. These challenges will also encourage you to improve your ICT, personal management and interpersonal skills, making you into a well-rounded, competent and highly employable individual.

This degree will suit you:

• If you wish to obtain a Masters degree or Diploma from one of the UK’s leading departments;
• If you wish to gain the knowledge and skills for professional work within Information and Library fields;
• If you wish to work in various types of information and library services or gain transferable skills for the pursuit of related careers such as media management and book publishing;
• If you wish to continue your studies to a more advanced level through undertaking further postgraduate level research.

Course structure and content

The course curriculum will focus on both theory and practice but you will be actively encouraged to draw upon any relevant experience that you have already acquired. Course visits to relevant organisations and guest lectures, will further enhance your exposure to professional practice.

Semester 1: core modules addressing the information society, the organisation and retrieval of information as well as the provision of information services.

Semester 2: core modules covering both organisational management and the management of collections.

There is also the opportunity to complement these core modules with an optional module which will enable you to develop an area of special interest. In addition to these taught modules, you will also be able to access a series of research training sessions that will help to prepare you for the 15,000 word Masters dissertation in Semester 3.

Semester 3: 15,000 word Masters dissertation

With staff guidance and support, here you will have to the opportunity to conduct a piece of independent research within the information and library field. Not only will this enable you to further develop a specialism, but you will also acquire a range of transferrable research skills that are highly desirable in today’s employment market.

Core modules:

Information Organisation and Retrieval
Information Services: Planning for Delivery
Information and Society
Collection Management
Studies in Management
Dissertation

Optional modules:

Digital Information: Management for Access and Preservation
Rare Books and Special Collections
Records and Information Governance

Contact time

Contact time is 6-10 hours a week during the first two semesters. In semester three you will arrange your level of contact time with your assigned dissertation supervisor.

Assessment

The taught part of the course, which is 120 credits, is delivered and assessed through lectures, student seminars, practical exercises, case studies and course work. Successful completion of 60 credits of taught modules makes you eligible for a Postgraduate Certificate, 120 credits gives eligibility for a CILIP accredited Postgraduate Diploma, or successful completion of your postgraduate dissertation leads to an accredited Master’s degree.

Accreditation

The Masters degree is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) and the Institute of Information Scientists. Graduates will have a qualification which is recognised for admission to the Register of Chartered Librarians (subject to the Institute's chartership regulations).

Employability

Every aspect of the Aberystwyth University’s Masters in Information and Library Studies programme is designed to enhance your employability. Successful completion of this degree is in itself certain to do so by building your CV; but more significant is the hugely enhanced array of knowledge, abilities and skills with which you will graduate.

As a graduate, you will possess a wealth of subject-specific expertise, such as a thorough understanding of how ethical, legal, and social factors affect the flow of information; information literacy and the effect of 'information deprivation'; and the ongoing challenges of organising, storing, and retrieving information. You will also be confident in the use of system and their tools which you will use to order, store and retrieve information. These skills, which are fundamental to the subject, are applicable across a diverse array of workplaces. Likewise, the study skills, research methods and interpersonal awareness that you will learn within the context of study can be applied in any place of work where people and systems meet. In such situations, you will be at a tremendous advantage over your competitors.

As information is increasingly recognised as a core resource for organisations of all kinds, the range of posts to which our graduates progress widens all the time. In addition to the traditional library and information service sector, our graduates also go on to work as Information Officers, Information Managers, Information Systems Officers, Information Analysts and Computer Systems Officers. The most prestigious of our alumni include two national librarians (Scotland and former Wales), the newly appointed first black national librarian in South Africa, and the Director of the Bureau for Library and Information Services at the United Nations. In addition, companies which acknowledge the value of information also benefit from our graduates’ information skills when applied to the areas of management, sales, production or marketing. Your personal adaptability, coupled with the critical information and library skills, will make you a strong candidate for any post where excellence in organisations and systems management is prized.

Study in a practical context

The content of this MA/Diploma is weighted in favour of mastering the practical applications of Information and Library Studies. The University of Aberystwyth boasts library resources which are amongst the best in Europe. The Department’s specialist Thomas Parry Library is one of the leading libraries for Information Studies. As a student, you will have access to this exceptional resource where you can apply your learning in activities which will convert the purely academic theory into the proven know-how of experience.

In addition to this, you will also have access to the University's Hugh Owen Library which houses more than 700,000 volumes and subscribes to more than 3,500 current periodicals. Also, the National Library for Wales next to the campus is one of the UK's five copyright libraries housing more than 6,000,000 volumes. In addition to the University's computing facilities, you will also have access to the Department's own extensive computer workstation rooms, all housed in a purpose built Department on the attractive Llanbadarn campus.

Skills in management of systems and stakeholders

The MA/Diploma is designed to give you a broad knowledge of a range of transferable skills that you can apply in a variety of research interests, particularly in your Masters dissertation. A significant proportion of postgraduate jobs demand management abilities; this course aims to support your progression into professional employment beyond by including such training.

You will become well versed in contemporary management theory and practice of relevance to the management of the relationship between information and organisations. You will learn to analyse and control how information is transmitted to users, including access to information and measurement of use. The monitoring an analysis of data is crucial to the success of business organisations and initiatives. Mastering it will enable you to manage within a changing and turbulent environment and provide you with an understanding of the inter-relationship of the organisation with its customers and stakeholders.

As business relies on meeting needs, this training will be a significant advantage to you when you enter the jobs market.

Dissertation

These notes indicate what the dissertation is, outline the procedure for deciding on a topic, and offer guidance on writing and presenting it.

The dissertation is between 14,000 and 15,000 words in length and is due by the last working day in September in the year in which you complete the degree. For submission procedure please refer to the programme handbooks.

The dissertation offers you the chance to do a sustained piece of work on a suitable topic of your own choice. Ideally, you will already have begun work on your dissertation in the context of the project. At the end of the spring term of your final year you will be asked to submit the title of your dissertation. You will be allocated a supervisor by the programme director – but you are welcome to put forward names of suitable supervisors. There no guarantee that you will get the person that you request, but it will be borne in mind. If you have difficulty in formulating a topic, you should consult with the programme director. Your supervisor will advise on the feasibility of the topic and give guidance on reading and presentation.

Students may have up to three substantial meetings with their dissertation supervisor. In the course of these meetings supervisors may be asked to comment on plans or on drafts of all or part of the dissertation. Since the supervisor will also be one of the examiners for the dissertation he or she should not be asked to read the final draft of the dissertation. Supervisory sessions are for discussion of intellectual ideas and suggestions for further research. It is not expected that your supervisor will read written materials of any length.

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