Bridging the Digital Gap to ARA professional registration

We chat to Jim Costin FMARA, a former Bridging the Digital Gap Trainee, who recently qualified as a Foundation Member of the ARA.

What is your current role?

I currently work in the Digital Content Unit at Cambridge University Library (the UL). I’m    digitising a range of material including books from special collections, photographs and other material. I’ve also been helping out in the filming of a few keynote talks and conducting some research into multispectral imaging. Prior to working at the UL, I worked for The National Archives as part of their Bridging the Digital Gap programme, seconded to The Borthwick Institute for Archives at The University of York. It was in that role that I was introduced to the ARA competency framework and, after reviewing the criteria, decided to apply for it.

Why did you apply for Foundation Membership?

I applied for the membership as part of the Bridging the Digital Gap initiative run through The National Archive (UK) and supported by ARA. The fact that the membership was part of the scheme was one of the deciding factors in my application for the role. Having the ability to gain membership and a firm foundation to build a career in archives and special collections is, in my opinion, pretty invaluable.

How does it feel to have qualified as a Foundation Member?

It feels really good actually! To know that all of the hard work I put in to both complete the competency framework and learning all the new skills has led to something which will help in my future career is a great feeling.

What advice would you offer to others thinking of enrolling on the programme and develop their own application?

Keeping a diary of your activities will help when it comes to write up the application and provide evidence. By referencing those activities and providing documentation to support those, you can more clearly see what level you are working at and what needs to be done to get to the next level. And, whilst it may seem like quite a lot of work, the scheme is well worth doing in my opinion. It gives you the opportunity to self-assess and reflect on where your skills are at and how to continue to develop them.

Image courtesy of Scott Maloney.

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