Online Information Conference & Show Closes

Sad

As reported in a brief statement posted to the Online Information Conference website, there will not be an exhibition or conference this year, 2014, with no certainty that it will re-appear in the future. Another victim of these austere times no doubt, with exhibitors, delegates and organisations paying closer scrutiny to the value of every penny spent.

Rightly so, but nevertheless, it is a sad reflection of our times, where the opportunities for establishing new connections and developing new relationships is increasingly devolved to a virtual world. Not that I’m against the digitisation of social and professional networks (I belong to enough of them!), but can they ever really replace face-to-face time, or the buzz generated by listening to – and possibly meeting – an internationally respected keynote speaker? It’s a bit like thinking you can get the same value from listing to Elbow’s latest album vs. seeing them in concert (yes, I like Elbow). As Kevin Bacon tells us in his latest EE broadband ad – it’s a ‘no-brainer”!

I’ve been privileged to have chaired the conference these past 4 years, and have worked with some highly respected and knowledgeable colleagues on the Executive Conference Committee in developing the ideas and themes for the conference programme during that time.  But before that I had been a regular delegate for several years, and always considered ‘Online’ to be the premier “must attend” conference if you wanted to learn more about your profession and get some insight into emerging industry trends. The highlight was being invited to speak/present – on two occasions, my first steps onto the conference circuit.

I believe (though I’m sure someone will correct me if my data is incorrect), that this year’s conference and exhibition would have been the 38th since it first started, so missing out on its ruby anniversary by just 2 years. It was the world’s largest information industry conference, regularly attracting over 700 delegates from more than 40 countries. It will be remembered as a showcase for the latest developments in digital information; for promoting strategies for effective information management and deployment of information resources, and for stimulating thinking on the future of the information landscape.

Which leads me to wonder where the many loyal delegates to this event will now go to get insights into the emerging trends affecting their industry. Not everything is in the virtual space and face-to-face networking can never really be replaced by online networks. Quite coincidentally, I picked up this quote today which appears to echo my own sentiments: “Traditional face to face networks where relationships have been established and built up over time provided added validation and expertise that is not easily achieved through electronic networks.”

I will certainly miss the event, but remain hopeful that it might reappear in some format in future years – guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

To conclude, here is a roll call of keynote speakers that I’ve had the privilege to meet and to hear at the conference. With apologies for any omissions, but my memory and archives only go back a far as 2007. I’m happy for any readers of this blog to fill in the gaps.

And finally, a word of thanks to my colleagues on the Executive Conference Committee, to the sponsors, speakers and delegates – past and present – and special thanks to Lorna Candy and her team at Incisive Media, who have ensured the success of this event over many years.

It’s been a great experience!

See also:

 

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Social Workplace Conference 2012

I’m looking forward to the  Social Workplace Conference 2012, taking place this week on Thursday, May 24, 2012.  I’m anticipating hearing how various organisations have overcome some of the barriers I listed in my earlier post on this topic. The line up of speakers and the organisations they represent should make for a highly rewarding day of learning and sharing good practice in the deployment of social software in the workplace, and – more importantly – the organisational changes required (e.g. operational, cultural, leadership) that will ensure a successful transition to “social business“.

Another interesting facet to the whole debate about the impact of social media in the workplace is the issue of the “disconnected workforce”, i.e. those that side-step the restrictions and limitations placed on use of corporate social software solutions by using of their own devices and applications to solve business problems.  In other words, the growing trend towards ‘bring your own device’, or BYOD, where smartphones and tablet applications can circumvent corporately approved systems and information management policies. Even where a BYOD policy has been approved, there can be repercussions, as IBM has recently found. I will be interested to get some views from the panel on this particular issue,

Speakers and Panel Members Include:

  • Vic Okezie, Conference Director & Founder, Crexia
  • Angela Ashenden, Principal Analyst, Collaboration, MWD Advisors
  • Laurie Hibbs, Human Resources Director, LexisNexis
  • Liz Pearce, Chief Operating officer, LiquidPlanner Inc
  • George Reynolds, Managing Director, CloudsMatter (Qontext UKIE Partner)
  • Neil Campbell, Head of Product & Marketing, brightsolid online Technology
  • Lee Provoost, Head of Strategy & Transformation, Dachis Europe
  • Priya Banati, Collaboration Strategy Lead, Accenture UK
  • Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Principal Analyst, ECM & Enterprise Search
  • Jens Schroeter, Snr Consultant, Social Media & Collaboration, Siemens AG
  • Rita Chambers, e-Communications Manager, Sodexo UK
  • Justin Hunt, Founder, ITSOPEN and Social Media Leadership Forum
  • Leon Benjamin, Internal Collaboration Manager, Virgin Media
  • Del Green, Group Internal Communications Manager, Bupa

It should be an interesting day, and I’ll be tweeting on the key discussions throughout the day (hashtag #swconf).

I look forward to perhaps meeting up with some colleagues and friends during the day – please come and say ‘hello’ if you know me

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Social Business And The Collaborative Workforce

Better productivity, lower travel and communication costs, higher customer satisfaction, more innovation, increases in revenue and profit, faster access to knowledge, improved connection to internal experts and more. Why wouldn’t every organisation flock to this vision of an agile, connected, transparent, people-centred and more efficient business?

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Social Business

Better productivity, lower travel and communication costs, higher customer satisfaction, more innovation, increases in revenue and profit, faster access to knowledge, improved connection to internal experts and more.

Why wouldn’t every organisation flock to this vision of an agile, connected, transparent, people-centred and more efficient business?

Some organisations have glimpsed the future and recognised that survival and growth in an increasingly competitive environment requires new attitudes, new thinking, new business models that can adapt and change to a volatile environment. In short, they are tapping into the phenomenal rise of “social interaction”, where knowledge and information is freely exchanged and where new paradigms for employee and customer relationships can provide opportunities for innovation and co-production.

But what of the rest? There is only so long that an organisation can wait before it becomes too late. Competitors and customers have moved on.  Attracting new talent becomes more difficult; employees become moribund.

Doing nothing is the new business risk.

But it’s not always easy to make the necessary changes, particularly in large and well-established organisations. Some of the typical barriers that challenge large organisations include:

  1. Fear of change. People are generally risk-averse. Organisations more so, after all they are accountable to shareholders and other stakeholders. “Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken” is the usual mantra.
  2. Command-and-control. Who says every organisation wants to be transparent and flexible and invite participation from every quarter? What if senior management do not want a pluralist organisation where democracy rules?
  3. Profusion of tools. The explosion of social software tools is a source of great innovation, but also a lot of confusion. Organisations can easily end up with several enterprise social networks used by different teams or departments, or for different purposes, along with social applications for purposes such as project management or employee recognition, each coming with their own user profiles and activity steams and notions of how connections are formed.
  4. Lack of integration. A legacy patchwork of IT solutions that have only ever been superficially integrated and where every application has a threshold of “good enough” integration to make the system usable but never quite perfect.
  5. Competition from free public social networks. Staff will inevitably compare their experience on an enterprise social network with the one they enjoy on consumer sites such as Facebook. This can be a problem if the enterprise experience suffers by comparison by being awkward to navigate, frustrating to use, or missing important features.
  6. Compliance requirements. Regulated industries such as financial services and healthcare must pay particular attention to whether an enterprise social network meets compliance requirements such as data archiving. Moreover, they might tend to see more risk than benefit in a technology that makes it easy to share information widely when they have a responsibility to keep some categories of information under tight control.
  7. Fit with business processes and workflows. Enterprise social software should ultimately make business and work processes more efficient and adaptable to a fast-changing environment (internal or external).  How will improved knowledge flows and opportunities for collaboration and co-production be channelled into the existing business/work processes.

These are just some of the issues that will be covered at the forthcoming Social Workplace Conference on 24th May. There’s a great line-up of speakers and sponsors who will be sharing their experiences of building enterprise collaborative solutions and how they’ve addressed the barriers to organisational change.

A great opportunity to tap into the post-industrial age of “fluid knowledge”.

 

 

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Reflections: Online Information Conference 2011

Pretty exhausting, incredibly insightful and hugely enjoyable: that would sum up my three days as Chairman of this year’s Online Information Conference 2011, held at the Olympia Conference Centre between 29th November and 1st December. The last time the event will be run at this venue, but more about that later.

It was impossible to be everywhere and hear all of the presentations, so my reflections are by necessity limited to what I personally heard, saw or facilitated. To provide some overall context, the conference provided a forum dedicated to learning, debate, professional development, technology reviews and assessments, expert discussion and case-study presentations on what I would broadly describe as the ‘Information Professions”. There were four themed tracks:

  • Going mobile: Information and Knowledge on the move
  • Social Media: Exploiting knowledge in networks
  • Building a framework for the future of the information profession
  • New frontiers in information management
  • Search and Information Discovery

The conference opened with a keynote presentation from Craig Newmark on the topic “Effective Social Media: Past, Present and Future”.

Craig is possibly best known as the founder and inspiration behind Craigslist, the largest online local classifieds and community moderated forum service in the world. He modestly refers to himself as a “Customer Service Manager’ for Craigslist, which he himself describes as diminishing role. His time is increasingly devoted to his philanthropic efforts, as defined by the Craigslist Foundation (“….a connector to bring together nonprofit leaders, business, government, philanthropy and craigslist community members to take greater responsibility for where they live, play and work”), and the recently launched Craigconnects (“Using technology to give the voiceless a real voice, and the powerless real power”).

Craig covered quite a lot of ground in his presentation, from the earliest examples of “social media” as defined by Gutenberg, Luther and the role of the printing press in achieving massive social change, to today’s use of social media and the internet to engage with and connect people and groups with similar interests.

His focus is now very much on the nonprofits sector, where he spends about 60 hours of his working week. He referred to the scope and depth of the nonprofits sector as a “sea of help”, but pointed out that many of these people and organisations need help themselves in making more effective use of social media. He identifies Craigconnects as being a “hub”,  helping nonprofit organisations that have similar aims and objectives to connect and collaborate together. He also sees social media as a way of getting more people involved in legitimate nonprofits, and to maybe identify the fake nonprofits, i.e. those that spend most or all of their income on themselves.

Another key theme to emerge from Craig’s keynote was the issue of fact-checking in the news business.  Craig was keen to emphasise that he was not a journalist or an expert in the news industry, but felt that the disinvestment in investigative reporting and fact-checking had eroded the trust in news media. Craig was no doubt referring to the US press, but it seems to me there is some resonance on the issue of trust with the UK press, as reported via the Leveson inquiry . In fact, “trust” was a recurrent theme in both Craig’s keynote, and the keynote for the second day of the conference by Rachel Botsman (see later reference), and as Craig noted: “Trust was the new black”.

The key elements of the fact-checking debate is described in more detail in this article by Craig, recently published in the Huffington Post.  However, perhaps more memorable and particularly poignant is one of Craig’s remarks I noted from his keynote: “The press should be the immune system of democracy”.

A pre-conference podcast by Craig is available from the Online Information website.

Rachel Botsman was the keynote speaker on the second day of the conference. Rachel is a social innovator who writes, consults and speaks on the power of collaboration and sharing through current and emerging network technologies, including how it will transform business, consumerism and the way we live. She is the co-author with Roo Rogers of: What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption. TIME magazine recently called Collaborative Consumption “One of the top 10 ideas that will change the world.”

Rachel is based in Australia and couldn’t be with us in London, so we had a 35-minute video that Rachel had produced especially for the conference, followed by 20 minutes of questions and answers via a live link-up with Rachel in Australia.

The keynote was broadly based on the book (a highly recommended read). It gives a stark perspective of western societies’ 40-year addiction to hyper-consumerism, and the impact this is having on people, society and the planet’s resources. The key question is whether we can continue as we are for the next 40 years or more, or whether we have to consider other economic models. I’m guessing that the broad vote is for the latter, which is why we’re witnessing the explosive growth of what Rachel refers to as “Collaborative Consumption”

Collaborative Consumption is the process of sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting and swapping, reinvented and massively scaled using internet and social network technologies. Rachel described three main systems:

Product Service Systems

Based on the idea of paying for usage of a product without needing to own the product outright.  Car sharing or bike sharing are typical examples. Witness the huge success of bike sharing schemes such as London’s Barclays Bike Hire.

Redistribution Markets

Redistribute used or pre-owned goods from where they are not needed to someone or somewhere where they are. Examples of this type of market  include Freecycle and Craigslist .

Collaborative Lifestyles

It’s not just physical goods that can be shared, swapped and bartered. People with similar interests are forming groups to share and exchange assets such as time, space, skills and money.  Examples include The Tuttle Club ,  The Cube and Landshare.

Rachel was keen to emphasise that these new and emerging peer to peer (P2P) models, utilising the power and reach of the internet and social networks to massively scale, can and will co-exist with the traditional business to consumer (B2C) services. Though there is evidence that some B2C corporates are adapting their services to deliver the same sort of flexibility offered by the P2P market. For example BMW’s recently announced car sharing scheme.

Rachel’s video included a few case studies of how “micro-entrepreneurs” are creating products and services by renting selling or trading “idling time” – i.e. the time that a product or service is not being used. This could be the car that sits on the driveway for 22 hours out of every 24, the spare room that only gets used when there are visitors, or that power-drill in the tool cupboard that has only been used for 3 minutes. Services such Airbnp (room renting), Zipcar (car renting) or TaskRabbit (paying for someone to do a chore) were all mentioned. Rachel had asked the founders of TaskRabbit what was the most requested task. The answer – perhaps unsurprisingly – was assembling IKEA furniture! So, if there are any budding IKEA experts reading this – get yourselves registered on TaskRabbit and start earning some extra money!

Inevitably the issue of “trust” came up, as in who would we trust to drive our car, or stay in our house? Evidence from the many P2P services that have sprung up over the past two years would indicate that broadly speaking, people are good and considerate and that there have been very few instances of theft or vandalism (though not to trivialise the impact this may have had on the victims). Rachel went on to say that we will increasingly come to rely on our “Reputation Capital”, as an indicator of trust when transacting products and services in this emerging (and potentially huge) P2P market.

Reputational Capital might typically be defined or influenced by our engagement with online and offline communities and marketplaces. As such (and as I noted in my closing remarks), we’re increasingly familiar with “social media”, “social networks” and “social business”, we now need to seriously consider “social reputation”, i.e. how we act and behave online. Our own Reputational Capital will be a valuable commodity that we all need to nurture and protect as we become increasingly reliant on the internet as a marketplace.

I’m not sure if Craig or Rachel will be reading this blog, but if they are, grateful thanks from me, the organising committee and the delegates for your excellent and inspiring keynotes.

In the interest of brevity, I will limit the remainder of my reflections on the overall three days of the conference to a few bullet points. These are based on my personal observations or comments from the delegates.

  • There was a huge volume of “tweets” on Twitter – more than I’ve seen at any previous conference. The conference hashtag was #online11. Twitter was used by the conference delegates to share what they were hearing and seeing, and as a channel for raising questions to the presenter (there was a Twitter Moderator at all of the sessions to ensure any questions were picked up and answered).
  • We wanted to encourage more interaction with and between delegates at this conference. There was a “speed networking” event, facilitated by FutureGov Consulting and utilising the Simpl.co website for submitting new ideas or offers of help. This didn’t quite go as planned, mainly because it was scheduled against too many other events. A lesson learnt for next time.
  • Some great audience participation at the “Essential Competence – Demonstrating Value” session facilitated by Ian Wooler and Sandra Ward, where delegates were given real coins of the realm (pennies) to vote on a range of options for measuring the value of information and knowledge services. All of the coins were returned afterwards (clearly an honest crowd!).
  • David Gurteen ran one of his eponymous Knowledge Café’s. It was well attended and we received some good feedback. Speaking to a few delegates afterwards I was just slightly surprised that none of them had previously attended a Knowledge Café – which is a fairly well-established process for encouraging conversations and networking. At least they will now be able to take this process back to their respective organisations. Some photos from the Knowledge Café.
  • The was a lot of interest in the “Going Mobile” track. Maybe these statistics from a recent article in The Wall go some way to explaining this:
    • 35% of UK mobile users access social networking sites on their phones (European average is 23%)
    • Mobile social networking use in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK nearly doubled in the last year, with 55m mobile users accessing Facebook, Twitter, etc., in September alone.
    • 26% of mobile social networking users reported receiving coupons, offers, or deals on their phones.
    • Growth in the number of mobile users accessing social networks on a daily basis has surpassed the growth of total mobile social networking adoption
    • 71% of the European mobile social networking audience, accessed Facebook via a mobile device in September—the largest mobile audience of any social network—and an increase of 54% in the past year.
    •  47% of UK mobile users are using smartphones (European average is 40%)
    • 45% of the UK mobile users are using apps, (European average 35%).
  • There was a lot of interest in “Big Data” (part of the New Frontiers in Information Management Track). I moderated a number of these sessions, and came away with the impression that there is a lot of ‘activity at the coal-face’ in this field, but still relatively few examples of how business or user value is being created or delivered. For me, still on the hype curve, but some promising developments on the horizon.
  • Digital content (presentations, video, audio) from the conference is gradually being uploaded to the Online Information website and a live stream at Wavecastpro – so keep an eye out for new content appearing.

I’ll just round this off by mentioning that next year Online Information will be moving to a new venue at ICC London at ExceL, scheduled for 4-6 December 2012. This offers state of the art conferencing facilities, a much improved delegate experience, and better integration between the conference and exhibition elements. Something to look forward to in 2012.

I hope those who that attended the conference found it as informative and exhilarating as I did – I await to see the feedback with some anticipation.

For anyone else, I hope this brief summary might give a taster of what it was all about, and perhaps you might be tempted to attend next year’s event.

Until next year – have a great Christmas and a happy New Year!

Stephen Dale

Chairman, Online Information Conference 2011.

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Online Information Conference 2011

I was pondering the imminence of this year’s this year’s Online Information Conference (29 Nov to 01 Dec) and was reminded of a quote by Abraham Lincoln: The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time”.

Is it really almost a year since the last conference? Where has the time gone, and has life changed that much? We’ve seen the ‘Arab Spring’ and the riots in the UK; two sides of a coin that shows how social media can be exploited for both good and bad. We’ve also seen the rise and rise of mobile platforms and mobile apps; new digital publishing models that offer consumers a new experience when reading e-books or newspapers; the launch of (another)  new social networking service, this time  from Google (Google plus);… and so much more.

I hadn’t appreciated until taking on the role of Conference Chairman (this my second year) quite how challenging it would be to predict what impact the various technical, product and service innovations would have on the information profession. Add politics, policies and emerging standards into the mix and you begin to appreciate the difficulties in ensuring that we’re on topic for an event that gets planned many months in advance.

However, and with only a hint of bias, I think we (that is the Conference Committee) have got it pretty much spot-on for this year’s conference.

We have two internationally recognised keynote speakers in Craig Newmark and Rachel Bosman.

Craig will share what he has observed by government, not for profits, and NGOs using social media, as well as lessons learned from Craigslist. Called “The Wizard of the Local” by Time Magazine, Craig was named in its “Time 100”. He was named Person of the Year at the 9th Annual Webby Awards in 2005, and BusinessWeek named him one of the 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

Rachel is a social innovator who writes, consults and speaks on the power of collaboration and sharing through current and emerging network technologies, including how it will transform business, consumerism and the way we live. She is the author of: What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption. TIME magazine recently called Collaborative Consumption “One of the top 10 ideas that will change the world.”

The 2011 conference will once again provide a forum dedicated to learning, debate, professional development, technology reviews and assessments, expert discussion as well as case-study presentations and the sharing of research results and opinion. The tracks at this year’s event will cover:

  • Going mobile: Information and Knowledge on the move
  • Social Media: Exploiting knowledge in networks
  • Building a framework for the future of the information profession
  • New frontiers in information management
  • Search and Information Discovery

Just picking out a few of the highlights, we’ll be looking at the world of “Big Data”. Gartner Research predicts that data will grow 800 per cent over the next five years, with 80 per cent of it being unstructured. Unstructured information is Big Data. It’s that simple. We also have sessions that examine what the industry is doing with structured data, and particularly products, services and apps that use open and linked data.

I’m anticipating there will be a lot of interest this year on the “Going Mobile: Information and Knowledge on the move” track theme. Sales of mobile devices (phones, tablets etc.) are now outstripping the traditional desktop PC. With more and more mobile business apps being developed, breaking the shackles of the office environment is now a real option.

This year we will also be experimenting with a few activities to encourage more delegate engagement and interaction, with a Gurteen Knowledge Café, a business ‘speed dating’ activity facilitated by FutureGov, and maybe an on-line game or two.

However, it’s not possible to do justice to the depth and range of topics, presentations, expert insight and networking opportunities in this brief posting. You really need to be there to benefit from the full experience, and perhaps gain new perspectives on the information industry and the changing role of the information professional. Can you afford to miss it?

I hope to see you there. In the meantime, if you have a few minutes to spare, Richard Wallis from Talis did a podcast interview with me about this year’s event.

Stephen Dale

Chairman, Online Information Conference 2011

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Online Information 2010 – countdown

online information 2010

I’m privileged to be chairing this year’s Online Information Conference, which starts this Tuesday, 30th November and runs until 2nd December. The conference is linked with the Online Information Exhibition, with over 200 international exhibitors and more than 9,000 attendees from over 40 countries across the globe. The exhibition covers 6 different subject areas: Content Resources, ePublishing Solutions, Library Management, Content Management, Search Solutions and Social Media.

It’s hard to believe that 12 months have elapsed since the previous conference. Where did that time go?

The social media revolution continues apace, with many hundreds of new apps and web services appearing each day. The technology we use at home or in our pockets is often far more advanced than what we use in the workplace. We’re using mobile devices (iPhones, iPads etc.) that give us instant access to the web, and have a choice of literally hundreds of thousands of applications that support our on-line activities and lifestyles – over 300,000 apps for the iPhone alone.

Some commentators have likened the disruptive effects of social computing to the industrial revolution of the early 19th century. The main difference now is that whereas large Enterprise used to lead technology innovation, it’s now being driven bottom-up by users and consumers. We’re now all connected and far more willing and able to share knowledge and co-create.

I’ve lost count of the number of start-ups and services that have been spawned on the back of Twitter, which maybe demonstrates the inherent scalability of the intranet and the web, where potentially millions of users can be supported by a teenager with a PC working from his bedroom. Delivering services with minimal infrastructure is one of the new paradigms of the social web; the threat to traditional red brick business models is no longer confined to their traditional big business competitors, but also lightweight “micro” businesses that use web services to provide scalability and agility.

We’re also seeing a revolution in the use of open and linked data. Driven primarily by the public sector in response to the expectations of citizens for greater transparency in government, which in turn has spawned a whole new breed of Social innovators and armchair auditors. Everyone is now a data analyst. We’ve never had so much data and information to play with.

Coupled with this we have the “Google effect”, with users now expecting almost instant access to information as it happens. Accuracy and objectivity is becoming less important than speed and accessibility.

All of this is driving rapid behaviour change in both society and the workplace. Whether we’ve realized it or not, consumers are now driving the technology revolution and business is trying to keep up.

How are users and business adapting to this changing information and technology landscape? What innovative new products and working practices are emerging from the disruptive effects of these changes? This year’s conference will be looking at all of these issues, with presentations and an insight from some of the industry’s leading thinkers. This year we have four tracks or themes that will look at many of these industry trends and issues:

1. Exploiting open and linked data. Introduced as a track in its own right in 2009 and of growing importance especially in the public sector; open and linked data is creating new opportunities for information professionals and the creation of new information services and products.

2. Harnessing opportunity from the social web and the cloud. Although the use of social media is now mainstream in many organisations there are still barriers and limitations that are preventing the benefits of social media to be fully realised.  This track gets to the heart of the issues with many real world experiences.

3. Information Professionals demonstrating value and impact. In economically straitened times when information services are under scrutiny information professionals need to be able to demonstrate value and impact to justify their existence, focus will be on challenges facing academic libraries and new projects that are using cutting edge technologies to deliver positive bottom line results.

4. New platforms and user behaviours for delivering content. Focusing on using mobile and “the cloud” to deliver information services, how are libraries and organisations using these technologies, what are the opportunities, how will these technologies change the future role of the information professional?

We also have a great line up of speakers, with special mention for our keynote speaker Dion Hinchliffe, an Internationally recognized business strategist, enterprise architect, author, blogger, and consultant on Web 2.0, enterprise architecture and co-author of the book ‘Web 2.0 Architectures‘.

So, I’m hoping that all of the delegates will make the most of this year’s conference. The quality of the papers and presentations submitted to the organizing committee has established a new benchmark, and I for one will be looking forward to attending as many sessions as I can. If you are a regular reader of this blog, or know me in either a social or business capacity, please do come and say “hello”.

Stephen Dale

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Thriving as a 21st Century Information Professional

NETIX logo

I will be addressing the Network for Information and Knowledge Exchange (NetIKX) members at their meeting on Wednesday 29th September about the challenges and opportunities facing information professionals in today’s information rich, time poor environment. To some extent this is going back to my roots, having been more closely involved in the dark arts of knowledge management (and specifically on-line communities) these past few years. However, information management and knowledge management are two sides of the same coin, and I’ve always made the connections between them when talking about either.

I quite like simple definitions, so for anyone confused by the terms “information management” and “knowledge management”, here’s a useful pointer:

Information Management is about organising stuff..

..Knowledge Management isn’t!

So, having cleared up any confusion there, I’ll just mention that my presentation to NetIKX will be about organising yourself to become more knowledge aware. The full synopsis (an oxymoron?) of the presentation is as follows:

The volume of information continues to grow at an exponential rate; new tools, products and web services appear almost daily. The recession has hit hard but nothing seems to stem the tide of innovation. If anything, the economic climate has fuelled even greater innovation and allowed companies to be even more radical in the way they use the information tools and platforms now available. These are challenging times for the information professional. We all need to be able to work smarter, acquiring and developing the skills to become more effective knowledge and information workers. The talk/presentation will pinpoint the tools and behaviours that can help us develop and sharpen our skills and embrace the opportunities for collaboration and knowledge sharing now available. Specifically:

  • how to develop the filters and lenses to overcome ‘information overload’
  • understanding the barriers to engagement and collaboration and how to overcome them
  • how we can break down the information/knowledge silos that exist in the organisation
  • how ‘Web 2.0’ and ‘Social Media’ tools can support personalized learning and self development

I will make the slides available on slideshare subsequent to the meeting, but don’t want to spoil any surprises (and there are some) by posting prematurely. Suffice to say I’ve identified five key steps to help information professionals make the most of the information-rich environment we now live in, and how to tap into and connect with the ‘networks of knowledge’ that are fast becoming the fundamental DNA of the social web. On a slightly more provocative note, I will also challenge the perception that we are indeed information rich and time poor; trends over the past several hundred years have given us increasingly more leisure time – it comes down to how we as individuals use this time. Much food for thought!

If any of this stirs your interest or curiosity, come along to the session on 29th September.

A note from the organisers:

If you are a NetIKX Member there is no charge. Non Members are welcome to attend at a charge of £50. If you have not attended a NetIKX meeting before we are offering a reduced fee of £25, refundable if you join, so that anyone interested in joining NetIKX can come along and try us out. join NetIKX now

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