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Student Spotlight: From Music to Cataloging, Nick Floyd Finds Inspiration in IS

Student Spotlight features one our current School of Information Sciences master's students. Our students come from a variety of backgrounds, careers, locations and academics, and we want to highlight who they are and why they chose the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Information Sciences master’s program.

MSIS student spotlight Nick FloydFeatured student: Nick Floyd

Location: Nashville

Education: Bachelor’s of music from Belmont University, Nashville

Current job: I work with a music company called Naxos, we deal with every aspect of the music industry, largely classical. I specifically work in licensing and library services. We have a subscription service that public libraries, universities and performing arts organizations subscribe to. It’s an educational, electronic resource. We basically have a music software that has educational resources as well as streaming music.

Why SIS?

I was a music major in Nashville, as an undergrad. I was fortunate to find this job almost five years ago and this job took me to library conferences, like the American Library Association, the Music Library Association, and after a while I noticed how much fun was being had by the attendees.

I was able to see the presentations that were being made, and hear the library and information science advocacy discussions, and my interest grew in that. And everyone who was coming out was obviously very fulfilled in their work and enjoyed their work. They had a purpose – seeing the purpose-driven work that everyone was doing at these library conferences encouraged me to go back to school and get a master’s in information sciences.

Why UT?

I know UT is a reputable school, and after investigating their master’s program, I found a lot to like about It and I was eager to become a part of it. At the same time, I’m happy to be part of the legacy of the UT College of Communications and Information.

What pathway are you pursuing?

I’m interested in the intersection of business and information science, and in the current landscape, there are plenty of opportunities there – plenty of concerns with data security, privacy of the user and I think that I could be a good advocate for both of those causes. I like the organizational and business side of the industry.

How has your experience been as a distance education student?

Even though I’ve been a distance education student, I think I’ve made a lot of meaningful connections, and I’ve found new ways to make connections.

How has your experience been at UT?

Maintaining the sort of 9-to-5 lifestyle while going to school, I had to take two courses per semester and I’ve seen all kinds of different people in the program. I’ve shared classes with people who are in their first semester, and people taking four classes at a time on an accelerated schedule. I’ve enjoyed the pace that I’ve been taking it. It’s allowed the concepts to sink in and expand after the classes are done. I can apply the things I learned in the prerequisite courses to the courses I’m taking now. It seems like the time has flown, but when I think back about all the specific classes, they were all worthwhile.

The collection development class seemed daunting when I first saw the syllabus. I was kind of ready for the challenge because it required me to build a relationship with a local institution, in my case the W.O. Smith School of Music, a nonprofit that teaches music lessons for 50 cents per lesson. They have a sizeable library they’ve collected over the years, but there’s no real library software or official catalogue. As they acquire pieces, they’re just adding to the collection and no one is sure what’s there. So I went through and catalogued their piano collection. What started as an intimidating proposal turned into a meaningful relationship.

The other really cool experience was, I took a fall semester off because I did a summer my first year. That fall, I had an internship at the Country Music Hall of Fame and I dealt with archival sound recordings and it was one of my favorite experiences because I got to see behind the scenes and I got to catalogue and put what I learned to use.

What has been challenging about getting your MSIS?

I think once you graduate from college, you kind of check out of the lifestyle of having to be somewhere at a certain time each week to complete homework assignments.

Especially for those who don’t immediately go to grad school, it can be difficult to get back into that cycle. I’ve been fortunate to fall back into the cycle of logging into Canvas, keeping up with my coursework while maintaining a career and personal life on top of that.

What’s next?

I’m enjoying my digital curation and social informatics classes right now and both of those are broadening my view of what can be done. I entered with my sites on the music and library industry and now I’m realizing there’s a lot more entities in data management that I wasn’t aware of. My options are actually multiplying rather than narrowing.