BROADENING OUR HORIZONS: FRESH INSIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES TO STAY AHEAD

A session at Online Information 2011

Thursday 1st December, 2011

11:30am to 1:00pm (GMT)

TRACK 3 - BUILDING A FRAMEWORK FOR THE INFORMATION PROFESSION OF TOMORROW
SESSION: BROADENING OUR HORIZONS: FRESH INSIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES TO STAY AHEAD

IN THE THICK OF IT: WHY INFORMATION PROFESSIONALS SHOULD BE AT THE HEART OF GOVERNMENT DIGITAL ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITY
(Lesley Thomson, Knowledge Manager, Scottish Government, UK)

In 2004, commenting that people were increasingly confident to search out information themselves, Maewyn Cumming made a prediction about government information professionals: "We will appear in more places than we do now. At the moment, librarians are cropping up everywhere, in weird and wonderful little corners, running or helping organize websites and intranets, even document and records management systems. We will be in places that don't initially always appear to be information management places. I know librarians who are working in enterprise architecture systems.” (Cummings, M. 2004, p16) That librarians should support knowledge management across government was a key theme in the literature in subsequent years (Taylor and Corrall. 2007, p. 301). Attempts were made to place knowledge and information management at the heart of government. In the UK, the Knowledge Council was established as a cross-departmental body to raise the profile and give encouragement and direction to information and knowledge management initiatives. Information Matters: Building Government's Capability in Managing Knowledge and Information (HM Government, 2008), recognised that knowledge and information professionals are experts who have key roles to play in contributing to the success of their organisations. However, this paper will argue that information professionals can play an even more central role at the very heart of government business. Digital technology has revolutionised the way in which people communicate and share information the growth of social media over the last couple of years has been particularly spectacular. Good use of social media can help governments better understand, respond to and attract the attention of specific audiences. It enables real two-way communication with people in the places where they are already engaging with their interests. Social media can enable people to participate in proposing and shaping policies and laws, to provide feedback on programmes and services, and in some instances influence service design. However, the ability of civil servants to use social media and the growing stakeholder demand for these channels is causing tension as government departments work to update pre-digital processes which do not work as effectively in the digital era. The pace of change is already rapid and is increasing in speed. This can cause further tensions, as many stakeholders contact with departments can be sporadic, making it difficult to know how and where best to engage with them. Engaging with stakeholders in their own spaces is creating a whole new set of learning opportunities for civil servants. This paper will outline the roles involved in digital engagement within government, set out the skills required and explain why information professionals are ideally placed, not only to take on some of these roles, but also to assist in building digital engagement capacity more widely across government. The author will draw on personal experience as an information professional who has worked in several ‘weird and wonderful little corners’ within government and is currently involved in the development of a digital engagement strategy for the Scottish Government. References Cummings, M. (2004), "A vision of the future", Network Journal, Autumn Issue, 2004 Taylor, K. and Corrall, S. (2007), "Personalized service? Changing the role of the government librarian", Journal of Information Science, Vol. 33, No. 3, pp. 298-314. HM Government (2008), Information Matters: Building Government's Capability in Managing Knowledge and Information, The National Archives, UK.

SERVICE SCIENCE FOR THE INFORMATION PROFESSIONAL
(Yvonne de Grandbois, Professor, University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland)

IBM has been pouring millions of dollars per year into major academic institutions in order to establish and promote Service Science as a coherent body of knowledge. This funding has mostly gone to faculties such as computer studies, management or engineering. The story of the advent of this discipline is a fascinating one, and places the economic value of information on a strong transdisciplinary footing. As yet there are very few references to Service Science in the professional Information Sciences literature. A library is a service system, with an enormous service offer. It is an obvious field of research for this new science, yet is barely mentioned in studies on Service Science. Why do we need to be aware of Service Science? What models and innovation can be applied to libraries? How can a pluridisciplinary approach improve library services? What are the implications for the profile of the new information professional? What research would be most relevant for libraries? What are the implications for our academic programmes? This paper sets out to inform information professionals in all sectors that this new discipline exists and why it is relevant to them. Research in service science can be of great benefit to libraries, and information service outlets can be a tremendous field of research for this new science. Information professionals need to be informed of this new discipline and inspired to participate in it.

OPEN CONTENT AND OPEN EVENTS: PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN AN AMPLIFIED WORLD
(Kirsty Pitkin, Event Amplifier, TConsult, UK)

In a rapidly changing technical environment the importance of staff development is widely acknowledged, with conferences such as Online Information providing a valuable means of keeping informed of developments and new approaches which are being taken by information professionals around the world. However, in the current economic and political climate it is often difficult for organisations to provide funding for attendance at conferences, seminars, workshops and other activities by which information professionals update their skills and enhance their professional networks. In addition, concerns related to the environmental impact of travel add new challenges to those involved in providing such events. Technological developments, including the availability of WiFi networks at many venues, increased ownership of mobile devices with networked capabilities and the wide variety of communication and collaborative tools available, offer new opportunities for the provision and 'amplification' of events to enhance professional skills, whether hybrid or online only. In this paper the authors will describe work at UKOLN and the wider JISC community in the provision of amplified events, where networked technologies are used to allow a remote audience to participate in events and to enhance the discussions amongst those physically present. The paper will review the growth in popularity of amplified events since WiFi networks at conferences started to become available about 8 years ago, how early adopters started to exploit such technologies and how this led to an environment in which at many IT-focussed events access to a WiFi network is now expected to be provided. The paper will also explore concerns raised by the amplification of events, such as the potentially disruptive nature of the back-channel and the undermining of the traditional event business model. This paper will summarise best practices for those wishing to host or participate in amplified events and provide a framework to help address the possible concerns that such approaches may be counter-productive. This paper will be based on several case studies which the author has been involved with, including the amplification of UKOLN's annual Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW) event, amplification of seminars given abroad to an audience in the UK and amplification of UKOLN's recent seminar series.

Moderator: Peter Griffiths, Writer & Consultant, UK

About the speakers

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Yvonne de Grandbois

YvonProfessor, University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland

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Peter Griffiths

Knowledge, information and library professional | one-time civil service librarian | writer | CILIP past President | Francophile | newbie rural resident bio from Twitter

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Kirsty Pitkin

An event amplifier is an audience expander, an experience enhancer and an idea spreader for conferences. If you want to know more, just @reply and ask away! bio from Twitter

This person is speaking at this event.
Lesley Thomson

Knowledge Manager, Scottish Government, UK

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Online Information 2011

England England, London

29th November to 1st December 2011

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Time 11:30am1:00pm GMT

Date Thu 1st December 2011

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