Professionals in this sector provide information to the public or to specific companies, industries or groups of people. As well as providing the information, be it hard copy or electronic, information professionals also organise and store information. Traditionally this would be in a library but now that technology has hugely increased the ways that information can be stored, retrieved and organised, job roles have changed too.

This sector can be split up into:

Archiving and records management
Archives are collections of information that have value and need to be kept for the future. Records management is a similar field of work, but tends to refer to the information of a particular organisation, and deals with the disposal as well as the maintenance of records.

Indexing
An index is a list, usually in alphabetical order, used to makes finding themes or subjects in a book easier. Although indexes are now often produced by computers, there is still a demand for them to be compiled by qualified professionals. Read about the advantages of a human-produced index

Information management and information science
We generate huge amounts of information in many different forms and for many reasons. As technology allows us to find out more, access more and be able to access information in many locations and formats, professionals work behind the scenes to collect, analyse, organise and retrieve information.

Libraries
Libraries are collections of resources, traditionally books. Many public libraries were built in the 19th century in the UK, but libraries themselves have been in existence for thousands of years. Libraries also exist in smaller forms in a variety of sectors, and increasingly online, allowing wider and easier access to resources.

There is a cross over with this sector and Information Technology.

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Jobs and salaries

Find out why you should choose a career in information services and have a look at the wide ranging and diverse career options available.

Archiving and records management
Archivists decide which information has value, and collect and organise it. As well as archivists working with hard copies, there are now web archivists. Specialists also work on the conservation of archives.

Read more about careers in archives, records management and conservation, and read this guide to salaries in the field.

Indexing
Indexers analyse text to compile an index, enabling a user to find information easilly. Rather than just an alphabetical list, a good index should have had a lot of thought and creativity put into it. Read more about what an indexer does, and why an index beats a computer's search.

Information management and information science
Professionals that organise and manage information but that are not librarians are known as information managers or information scientists. Both work in all sorts of organisations. As information has become digitalised, these job roles have become more technical. Find out more about information scientists and how much they earn.

You can also find some relevant details in IMIS' (Institute for the Management of Information Systems) handbook 'Careers in information systems'.

Libraries
As in information management and information science, technology advancements mean that job roles are changing all the time. While librarians and library assistants that deal with books and people are still needed, other skills are also necessary to be a professional in this field in the modern world.

Read about salaries specific to the sectors librarians and information professionals work in.


Routes and qualifications

Find out how to start a career in this sector, including information about alternative routes. Professional development, for example a formal qualification, underpins every successful career in Information Services. Find out more about qualifications.

Archiving and records management
The Archives and Records Association offers information about routes and training for those looking to enter into the profession and those hoping to progress in their career.

Indexing
Find out what you need to become an indexer. The SI (Society of Indexers) offers information on courses and training.  

Information management and information science
Previous experience in management will help you develop a career in information management. You will need to have experience dealing with data maintenance in both roles. To get into information science, you will need a related degree or a postgraduate qualification. Check out the ASLIB's (Association for Information Management) distance learning courses.

Libraries
Although it is possible to become a librarian without a degree, qualifications accredited by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) will certainly improve your career prospects and skills. Relevant work experience can also often give you an advantage in finding paid employment. Read about CILIP’s flexible Framework of Qualifications, incorporating work-based learning and work experience with existing qualifications to get you accredited.


Funding and support

If you do decide to go to university to study for a degree in this sector, check out the pages on student finance from gov.uk, and/or contact the funding or careers departments of the organisations you are considering training with.

Some funding is available for archivists' postgraduate study.

Information science is seen as an important field, and is well funded in terms of research. Therefore many universities have departments focusing on information science and you should check for relevant funding and support on their websites.

What’s it really like working in Information Services?

First take a look at our career videos from people working in this sector.

Then have a browse through some career profiles from people sharing their stories - how they got started and why they find a career in information services rewarding.

Also...

  • Read this case study of an assistant information manager.
  • Take a look at some ‘clear messages’ from CILIP’s members about libraries and professionals in this field, read a case study of a reader development librarian, and check out this video of a young people and children’s librarian.



How many Information Services jobs are out there?

Think creatively and you will realise that jobs in information services are everywhere, not only in public libraries, but in many forms online, in schools, universities, charities…the list goes on and on. Check out this list for a role that may  interest you.

Information professionals can benefit from the jobs market if they are prepared to change with the environment.


Location, location, location

Information services professionals are needed everywhere. As more information becomes available online, the opportunities for working from home increase. However hard copies are still in need of maintenance, whether they are dusty tomes from history, confidential records, or financial ‘daybooks’.

You will gain skills in this sector that you can transfer across the UK and abroad.

Find out about the variety of sectors that library and information professionals work in. 


Will a career in Information Services suit me?

To be a good archivist you should be good with people, forward thinking, logical and comfortable with new technology. See here for more on these skills, and on those needed for record management and archive conservation.

'Thinking of becoming an indexer?' - have a go at this questionnaire first.

There are many types of librarian jobs, but check out what’s needed to be a public librarian to get some idea of relevant skills in this field. Also see the skills needed in the general profession of libraries and information.