Goodbye files.

Yes it’s happening we are getting rid of our information files, and this is why.

For the benefit those of you who may be reading this from other sectors, CRC occupation shelvesCareers Libraries have traditionally held a lot of loose leaf information on different career areas. This is classified using the AGCAS occupational classification and it usually results in a collection of files plus books and other paper based resources on a particular career.

Over the last 10 years more and more information has obviously been made available online, so the files have been whittled and weeded down to a more manageable number and now it’s that time to take the decision update them all or get rid of them.

There are pros and cons to the files
Pro:

  • They contain information which can be hard to find online, spread over many websites.
  • They contain brochures and supplements and clippings which you really would’t find online.
  • The classification means that a user can find everything on educational psychology in one place, they can flick through the file a bit like a book and may find gems they were not expecting.
  • There is very little published in the UK on many career areas so there are no books.
  • Many of the takeaway brochures that come from publishers / companies are not free from bias, the files often contain information that shows the bigger picture.
  • They offer a sense of place – you can go there to find out stuff!

Con:

  • They are time consuming to update.
  • When you find that the updating involves printing out half the internet you begin to wonder why?
  • They take up a lot of space.
  • They are not that well used in some cases.

Our process

  1. We developed ” sector ” pages on our website some years ago with a view that we needed to mirror paper and web resources where possible.
  2. We weeded files down to the essentials.
  3. We observed how often files were used.
  4. In our latest updating cycle we updated the website first and then asked ourselves “what is there in the files that we can not find online?” The answer was, very little.
  5. At which point we found out that we are likely to be moving and will have less space, so this gave us an extra shove!
  6. We ensured that links to useful resources, professional bodies etc were on our sector pages and in our guides.
  7. We changed records on our catalogue from “leaflet” to “electronic resource” and ensured a link was given for that resource or website.
  8. We gave the files to relevant careers consultants so that they could salvage anything for their personal use, and the rest went in the bin!
  9. The empty files we are giving away to students.

Aren’t the shelves empty?

  1. It’s quite a lenthy process so they are dissappearing slowly, it will have a big impact on the occupational section but not so much in other areas.
  2. I’m using up some of the space on the shelves by making more of displaying reference books and takeaway material.
  3. If it looks really bare in some areas I might get rid of a few book cases.
  4. It’s temporary!

What will we have in our new Careers Centre?

We don’t know exactly how much shelving and display space we will have, and when we get in i’m sure it will evolve. We will be talking to designers and suppliers soon, its very exciting!

At the moment we are planning on taking reference books and journals, and we will be ruthless if needs be with unsolicited paper resources.

We are also considering distributing some relevant takeaway materials to academic schools if they have resource areas.

So, no we are not going papeless

  • Feedback from some other services revealed that it was not popular with clients
  • They had to rebuy books – and provide printed guides again to make it look like a destination and provide a “Careers Identity”.
  • We have repeatedly asked our clients about their preferences and they still say we want paper and online guides. You try fobbing someone off with the PDF and they will expect you to print it!
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