Student Lauren Reid Finds Niche with Digital Asset Management Job at Tech Firm

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Being active in a San José State University School of Information student group led student Lauren Reid to the job she started in May, managing digital assets for a high-tech company.

Reid, who received an iSchool scholarship in spring 2013, wasn’t familiar with the field of digital asset management until she heard instructor John Horodyski speak about it during an event sponsored by the student chapter of the American Society of Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T).

After listening to Horodyski’s presentation, Reid thought it would be a great career to pursue. She enrolled in his INFO 282 Digital Asset Management course in spring 2013. “I really loved learning how to manage digital files,” she said. “He’s such an excellent professor, explaining real-world applications, that it really clicked for me.”

Reid likes how digital asset management uses the traditional aspects of information skills in a modern context, as well as the fact that it can be used in diverse sectors such as a corporate setting or an archive. Plus, she said, “I just liked pushing myself into more tech skills. I’ve never considered myself as someone who’s tech-savvy, but I’ve really enjoyed expanding my knowledge in this area.”

Reid’s undergraduate work included studies in Japan and Northern Ireland prior to graduating cum laude from the University of Evansville in December 2001. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature with minors in history and Japanese.

From there, she worked as a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity in Sri Lanka, an English teacher in Japan, and a researcher intern in India and Kazakhstan. Reid earned a master’s degree in international development and Global Health Certificate at the University of Denver in 2006, and worked for the next six years as a grant writer.

A conversation with a friend who was enrolled in SJSU’s Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program made her realize right away that’s what she should be doing.

“I was worried about breaking into this field,” she said about starting on her MLIS in fall 2011.

Ever the go-getter, Reid sought out two unofficial internships — volunteer opportunities that let her apply knowledge gained through her MLIS coursework to the real world.

At the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco and the Mill Valley Public Library, she oversaw each facility’s integrated library system and inventory management and copy cataloging procedures. Also at Mill Valley, she created a local authors collection management policy from scratch.

In addition, from August 2011 through May 2012, she served as secretary of the ASIS&T student chapter for its first full year of operation and helped plan its inaugural SecondLife socializer.

“I sought this position before I started classes at SLIS, and was thankful to gain such a great opportunity to work closely with my peers,” Reid said. “It was especially exciting given that our chapter won the National Student ASIS&T Chapter of the Year Award.”

In January 2013, Reid started a new position as networking chair for the Bay Area chapter of the Special Libraries Association (SLA). In this role, she conducted outreach to partnering associations and launched the chapter’s first major social media campaign.

By being involved with professional organizations, Reid said, “people notice that you’re sticking around and you’re really hungry for experience, so you meet people who want to help you and give you the job.”

Reid received the school’s H.W. Wilson scholarship in 2013, and a brief video she recorded expressing her gratitude can be found on the school’s YouTube channel.

Reid, who expects to graduate in May 2015, is also interested in academic librarianship, but plans to stay in digital asset management for a while.

“I really enjoy working with corporations,” she said. “There’s so much out there on information management, and I just see myself continuing to dig into it. I can see myself someday moving from a corporate setting to an academic one, translating those skills into a different area, maybe digitizing archives. I’m just interested in seeing where it takes me, because it’s taken me so many unexpected places so far.”

Influential Classes

“Mr. Horodyski was excellent. What I love about this degree is I never feel like I learn something in a class and it never comes up somewhere. Like when I took cataloging, I thought I’d never use this, and I’ve done lots of cataloging. It just delights me that what I learn can be applied in my work.”

“The most recent class I’ve taken is Copyright for Information Professionals through Syracuse University as part of the WISE [Web-based Information Science Education] program. I really didn’t know anything about it. When I got in it, I never realized how complex this issue is and I thought everyone should have to take this class. My husband’s writing a book, and I’m going to help him determine things he may need to get permission for. Another influential class was INFO 202 Information Retrieval with Dr. Virginia Tucker, and she was excellent. Really, everyone was so good, I feel like naming them all. I’ve not had a bad professor, and they’ve all been so supportive about going into the field.”

Career Tip

“Even though those internships weren’t paid or for credit, just getting in there and getting some things on my resume helped so much. I just tell people to push yourself while you’re in school and get some kind of experience. Putting your studies to work in a real-world setting and then being able to show that in an interview is key.

Professional Affiliations

American Library Association (ALA); California Academic & Research Libraries (CARL); Special Libraries Association Bay Area chapter

Best Conferences

Society of California Archivists; California Library Association; Internet Archive and Digital Public Library of America one-day workshops