What Is It Like Interning in Data Management?

Karyn Bailey, a full-time 2013/14 student, recently undertook a data management internship at Cambridge University Press. Here she recounts her experience.

One of the recurring themes I’ve noticed during my MA studies at Anglia Ruskin is the increasing need for publishers to capture and analyse data. With this in mind, I applied for an internship with the Global ELT Knowledge Management Team of Cambridge University Press. As we all know, the publishing industry is rapidly developing and adapting to the changing market; one of the more practical challenges this presents is the need to keep publishers’ databases up-to-date with industry demands.

The Role of Bibliographic Data

During the six-week internship, I dealt with the bibliographic data of all of Cambridge University Press’ ELT products – both current and legacy – that was recorded in the database system from the conceptual stage of product development, through to the publication of the final product. What makes the bibliographic data vital is that it is used not only internally, running reports on sales figures for example, but also externally by retailers and aggregators such as Amazon. Furthermore, in an increasingly digital age, bibliographic data and tagging also ensures that customers can find products in a crowded online marketplace.

A Learning Experience

My duties at the press included reviewing, updating and ‘cleansing’ erroneous or incomplete bibliographic data, as well as testing system updates to ensure that the input processes were more user-friendly, streamlined and efficient. I also attended a number of internal meetings which gave me an insight into the wider applications of the database content.

Data management is not a role I would have traditionally associated with publishing, but as workplaces and consumer habits are becoming more digitised, it is inevitable that greater emphasis will be put on these kinds of roles. The internship was an excellent way to experience a variety of different aspects of the publishing process, such as ISBN protocols, the allocation of foreign rights, and co-publication issues. Overall, it was a very useful and insightful experience, and it has given me a much broader knowledge of the industry as a whole. I would definitely recommend anyone who is interested in publishing to look into non-traditional publishing roles such as this.

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Karyn is a full time student (2013/14) who has recently returned from English Language teaching in Korea which she has done for the past three years.