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Jaana Pinnick

Career Path: Research Data & Digital Preservation Manager, British Geological Survey
Location: Nottingham, United Kingdom

What are you doing now?

I’m currently working as a Research Data and Digital Preservation Manager at the British Geological Survey (part of the Natural Environment Research Council, or NERC). Jaana Pinnick

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

A colleague had completed the MSc Information Studies (Records Management) there and recommended the programme to me. They also offered a distance learning option for the MSc.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

The tutors were very knowledgeable and the course content extremely professional and up-to-date. I received very thorough feedback during the course so I knew how I was doing at any given time and was able to address areas that needed more work. Being able to study using the distance learning option made all the difference, as I worked full-time throughout.

How connected was your course with industry?

I was already working in the industry, and the course enabled me to use my workplace to reflect on my learning and as a case study for the dissertation, so it was a perfect combination of theory and practice. I also wanted to concentrate on digital data and records in my course, and I was able to tailor the written work accordingly to a large extent.

What was the best thing about your course?

It supported me in seeing the big picture and building a theoretical foundation for my work, which in turn supported me in developing my professional working practice and finding ways to improve our information and records management processes. It also inspired me to study digital preservation in more depth, which I had become interested in earlier but which I didn’t know too much about.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

It supported me in moving from my first career in education via an administrative role in information management to a professional role in information and records management, and gave me full confidence to do so.

Which skills/ knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

I now manage NERC grant-funded earth science research data created at universities and research institutes in the UK and overseas, and the Managing in the Information Environment module was perfect preparation for this task. However, all the modules contributed equally towards building my professional information management skills and provided me the credibility to deal with academics and senior researchers to help them manage their research data effectively and according to best practice. I am also now working on creating a digital preservation programme for the British Geological Survey and its National Geoscience Data Centre, and this would not be possible without the effort I put into my dissertation module with the support of my supervisor.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

It was a brilliant experience all the way through. Northumbria provides excellent facilities for distance learning students, for example in giving us access to the library materials such as journal articles and book loans, and the materials are easily retrievable and accessible online throughout. The tutors will answer queries promptly and gives you personal feedback, including suggestions for improvement. And the graduation ceremony at Northumbria was fabulous!

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria?

Plan your time-keeping realistically and give yourself breaks from the study. You need to be committed to working on your own although the peers and the tutor support are there.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in 3 words?

Inspiring, intensive and life-changing!

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