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Getting the Library KMS Ready for the Future – SLA inspirations

An interesting find : FutureReady 365 Blog from SLA – Special Libraries Association via @NeridaHart – with a daily blog post over 365 days from SLA Members – focusing on “what being Future Ready means to SLA members”. 

From the first 6 months, I found many of the posts very insightful as I begin to plan KM activities over the fiscal year 2011-12. Nuggets from my favourite posts which have become part of my KM Learning journey include –

Bethan Ruddock – Questions for the Panel from Ruth Wolfish at SLA 2011
What is the type of individual, with what skills that are currently successful in your Library?
What personality skills would you look for in an individual?
How important are technical skills? What specific skills?
In your opinion, going forward in the Library profession; what type of individual will succeed?
In hindsight, what would you do differently in your career to succeed? What did you do that was the most beneficial?
What trends do you see for the future? How will your type of Library change in the future?
Name 3 things that you continue to do in order to succeed? (ie. public speaking, networking, classes, SLA ……?)
Will Libraries exist in the future ? Public Libraries? Corporate Libraries?  How will databases or products change in the future?”

Guy St Claire – Create Your Own Job – on KD/KS – Knowledge Development – Knowledge Sharing to being an Organization’s Knowledge Thought Leader

“Be Strategic – Matching your organization’s strategic information & knowledge needs to your own ambitions & professional abilities – supporting the management of the organization’s knowledge domain (content professionals, information professionals, records management, archivists, special librarians) vs Knowledge Strategy ie a management-based rather than collection based strategy. Managing the organization’s Knowledge Services – convergence of information management, KM and strategic learning – design & plan knowledge related activities/policy”

  1. “Be Proactive
  2. Show Them Your “Extra”
  3. Be Flexible
  4. Give your very best service to your patrons
  5. Be Confident
  6. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
  7. Be Optimistic
  8. Blaze Your Own Trail”
Say goodbye to the career I assumed I would have. There was a moment of genuine sadness when I realized that some skills upon which I built my professional identity had no place in my evolving portfolio. Less original cataloging and more marketing, less database design and more SharePoint site building … I remind myself that clinging to fading status quo hurts more than trying to create something new.”

Toby Pearlstein on Survival Strategies in Downturns wrote of strategic actions to survival. My take on her thoughts are as follows – 
  • Need for a SLA Library’s vision statement & how it relates to the organziation
  • Engage with your stakeholders to ensure their needs as they see it really are identified 
  • Ensure you have a wholistic view of your organization’s knowledge & information requirements
  • Create a 360 degree view of the information needs of your organization (understand thoroughly how IS contributes to bottom line success)
  • Be aware of different stakeholder categories & their differing needs 
Darron Chapman – Connecting Information with Innovation wrote of the concept of ‘responsibilities’ rather than job titles in KIM – Knowledge Information Management

Key insights for me : There is a clear move towards the core KIM disciplines – information management, records management, library and information services, business analysis, and knowledge management,– coming together or merging. However, some relevant functions — such as Research, Competitive Intelligence and Information Technology – do not generally align themselves with KIM community.”

Stephen Abram – What I Wish I Knew Years Ago – Pt.2 following an earlier post Pt.1 
  1. Prefer Action over study and pilot programs
  2. Get out of your box and embrace Library 2.0
  3. You can’t step in the same river twice – we can’t see the future – we have to make the path now with imperfect information
  4. Have a Vision & Dream Big
  5. 3 Key Questions
    1. What Keeps you awake at night
    2. If you could solve only one problem – what would it be
    3. If you could change only one thing – what would it be
  6. Feedback is a gift – not to be shrunk from
  7. Sacrifice – you may have 100 great ideas but can only work on 5 – so park the other 95
  8. Build for the future and embrace ambiguity
  9. Be comfortable with mistakes – learn from them
  10. Have fun
  • What is the business model of the future
  • Who are the competitors we haven’t even thought of 
  • Who will be our customers in 10 years – 20 years
  • What are the wild cards
You can become experts in where the best information resides, which questions to ask next, and even who can help answer them. Data is worthless, analysis is king, and insight is golden. As librarians, you can help your colleagues find trend data from the least biased sources and forecasts from the world’s best subject matter experts. You can ask the follow up questions – What does this mean? What information do we need next?  What scenarios are suggested by what we are finding?”

“Metrics 
How many books/journals does your library hold?
How many people use your services (pick a period of time)?
How many questions did you respond to? (pick a period of time)?

 Improve – Look at this information and see where you can improve
Can you improve your presence on the intranet to show your new holdings?
Can you start a blog with items of interest to a work group?
Can you attend staff meetings and introduce yourself and your services?
Can you work with another department that needs help with research or organizing their work?

Promote – Don’t just say what you did – state the benefit
I created an intranet page so that our satellite offices can get the same new information as our main office”

Since we are experts at evaluating and presenting information, we should utilize these skills to identify future trends and anticipate what our client’s needs and questions will be.  We can improve our efficiency by setting up dashboards or alerts on trending topics so that when a request comes our way, we are already knowledgeable about the best and most reliable sources for the information.  Having this knowledge allows us to be even more valuable to our clients….. Have you begun incorporating infographics in the presentation of your research results?”

  • We definitely needed a warehouse to store all this bounty, and more than ever we needed a librarian to help us find what we needed. The library is a house for the librarian.
  • Post-Gutenberg, books are finally abundant, hardly scarce, hardly expensive, hardly worth warehousing. Post-Gutenberg, the scarce resource is knowledge and insight, not access to data.
  • We need librarians more than we ever did. What we don’t need are mere clerks who guard dead paper.
“I work with teams of extremely smart, insightful people working with information who come from a range of backgrounds, not just library. By contrast, I find so often librarians want to hold ourselves apart as “us” versus “them” (librarians versus non-librarians) but really, it should just be “us”.  We are all on the same side, working toward the same goals…. We also often forget there are others in the information world, many of whom are also without the MLS degree: researchers, information consultants, information architects, knowledge managers, records managers, user experience specialists, indexers and taxonomists among others. While those with library degrees often excel in these areas, they are not prerequisites for success in the job…. Since leaving the library workplace for consulting, I have come across and worked with so many different types of people, many who (much to my surprise) know an awful lot about information. We do not own this, folks…. 
I therefore have a difficult time understanding the elitist mindset of some librarians. “

What are some of the characteristics that allow a person to be flexible, to flow with change and even thrive on it?   What should we all be cultivating in order to shape our own futures?
  • Curiosity & willingness to experiment with new ideas and technologies.
  • Sharing, teamwork, and collaboration.
  •  It’s through engagement that we earn validation.
  • Solid foundations and respect for the past.
  • Proactivity.  When we take responsibility for our own continuous learning and for acquiring the new skills needed to cope with a changing professional environment, we position ourselves to embrace and even make new opportunities. 
  • A sense of humor and pleasure in accomplishment.”
Alan Foster – 17 key points – my favourites are
  1. ‘Business strategy & culture fit’ – the ability to develop the information service in harmony with the company’s strategic objectives and organisational culture.
  2. Developing a shrewd political instinct, having sensitive antennae amongst users and senior managers and being adaptive in consequence.
  3. The ability to work globally with all that this implies – building alliances, harmonising & integrating services – whilst understanding different cultural and business practices which shape the environment.
  4. Develop hard nosed negotiation skills with content vendors. And getting harder.
  5. Ensuring that your information/research/knowledge staff are embedded within business project and work teams.
  6. Enhancing knowledge management skills (note small rather than capitalised ‘KM’) – knowledge sharing, capturing tacit knowledge, using stories, applying appropriate technologies.
  7. Use social media when appropriate. A number of respondents are somewhat sceptical of the business case for such deployment in terms of their information and research services.
  8. New IT systems should be implemented in line with technological opportunities and trends but most of all to improve access to content and cost-effectiveness of services.
“Optimism:  Before you can make something better, you have to believe that it can be better.  Treading water for the sake of survival is not going to cut it anymore.  You have dive in ready to swim like a medalist.  The first step is to stop saying things like “I think we can” or “Maybe we can”.  The mentality is that “we can”,
Activism:  Whereas the discussions and strategizings are important, they pale in comparison to the need for real action. 
Creativity:  There is more to solving a problem than merely having an answer of your own.  Creative solutions require open minds and a willingness to see issues from multiple angles”

Many of us understand that we have moved beyond Web 2.0 and into Web 3.0 – sometimes called the Semantic Web.  But what does it all mean, how can librarians become a part of the effort, and can we take it a step further and, ourselves, become Librarian 3.0?  
  1. Get mobile with your services
  2. Use social media
  3. Web 3.0 is about personalizing the information experience – People join community networks when their individual needs are met.
  4. Provide dynamic content – use electronic resources creatively & effectively
  5. Not only are we utilizing the Semantic Web to categorize resources (journal article, book, person, datasets, etc.) but also relationships (author of, employed by, head of) between resources.  These semantic relationships help us filter through the information to identify what we need (i.e., all journal articles written by people employed by University of X).”
‘In his book A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink asserts, “When facts become so widely available and instantly accessible, each one becomes less valuable. What begins to matter is the ability to place these facts in context and to deliver them with emotional impact.”’

  1. “Embrace Uncertainty
  2. Take Time to Dream
  3. Share Ideas with Others
  4. Collaborate with others considering the future
  5. Try stuff
  6. Read widely – blogs, journals on how people are imagining the future
  7. Be curious
  8. Perfection isn’t possible
  9. Don’t give up your values – use them to assess new tools etc
  10. See space – the context and not just the object”
Apart from specialist professional skills, of course, everyone working in the library and information profession needs to be able to answer these questions:
  • What’s an information professional for?
  • Why should I ask a librarian instead of just searching Google?
  • I can find what I need myself, why should I use the information centre?
  • Why shouldn’t we just put the sources on everyone’s desktop?
  • Surely it’s cheaper to outsource the research service?”
Take advantage of online and in-person seminars and professional development.  You always learn something new and something that can help your patrons, too.  Especially note and test new technologies that your patrons may be into so at least you are aware of what they are and how they can be used.
Strive to have a good understanding of the balance between traditional and print media and new technology.  Although the medium is different, the basics are the same: delivery of information and, hopefully, knowledge.  Know when to use each one for the most effective service to your patron.”

Connecting and integrating is a critical piece in being future ready within your organization and in the delivery and management of your information services. Connecting….
   People with knowledge
   People with information
   People with people
   Information with information
   Information to innovation, knowledge, development, growth, and learning
   Information with social networking tools
    Tools such as blogs, wikis, microblogs, virtual worlds, instant messaging, and community tools all provide natural ways for us to embed ourselves into existing communities, create our own communities and networks, and connect ourselves and our services to the organization. “

    Although DAM may not be in your current job description, it is an area worth exploring.  As new opportunities for information professionals continue to move away from the traditional research and reference role, it is imperative to understand what skills, both soft and hard, are required of those who handle “everything digital” or “everything media related.”  Companies and organizations from all sectors, including web, film, and broadcast media, recognize the tremendous value of their digital assets, and are continuing to ensure that they remain secure, accessible, and preserved over time. “

    Curating and framing information is a powerful way of sense-mapping for your family, community, company, and country. This is a mass communication, co-creation era in which authentic clarity begets authentic clarity. 
    My job is to frame things for companies and communities so we can look at them anew, and innovate in better and healthier directions, with human empathy engaged.”

    Over time, UX will become embedded in librarianship, and all librarians will focus on the user experience if we want to continue to exist and thrive.
    The future demands that we create a holistic, user-centered, innovative approach to service design for virtual and physical spaces as well as digital and physical collections. Focus groups, surveys, usability studies, embedded librarianship and ethnographic studies are some of the tools used to gather data and anecdotal information about the user experience. We need to focus on the elephant which is the library website as well as the hundreds of little details that go into making libraries places where people want to go.”

    The above are an amazing collection of insights for looking to the future from SLA – plenty to consider implementing and refining over the coming fiscal year
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    Social Intranets moving along in 2011 – helping us work smarter – not just harder

    Lots of Social Media discussions on Intranets in May 2011. I found this timely as my org is  currently migrating our site Intranet to Sharepoint 2007 (no sign of Sharepoint 2010 just yet). And we’re so busy as that migration includes our Communities of Practice (vintage 2000)  & also our Standard Operating Procedures aka SOP’s in our  CMS (vintage 1990’s). 
    Since 1991, these SOP’s have underpinned our 3rd party certifications for ISO 9001 – ISO 14001 – AS 4801 (aka AS18001 in USA) –  CE Mark & a plethora of other international certifications that we need to sell our products globally … in the post GFC era we need ways to work smarter & not just harder … so effective Intranets are crucial to improving our efficiency.
    So no surprise I liked Chris Swan’s earlier views on Intranets : Communication Portal or Employee Toolkit ?
    And then to Intranets 2011 – Confererence Notes by Michael Sampson (aka @CollabGuy)
    May 11 2011 Notes
    May 12 2011 Notes

    Coincidentally Dion Hinchcliffe has written an interesting article on “re-furbing” intranets – there’s heavy use of the “social” word – and worth a read – also have a look at James Dellow’s post on Dion Hinchcliffe’s ideas – more by James. Dion Hinchcliffe takes it even further in another article about data mining what an org knows : “the connections between people and the information they share” – still seems a mammoth undertaking to do this in the burgeoning explosion of data aka Big Data ? He’s on record as saying
    ” I think there is a lot to be said for intelligently connecting social tools to enterprise systems of record”  ….. in response to Samuel Driessen’s views : “And the integration with business tools like ERP is important as well!”

    Loraine Lawson asks whats the big deal about Big Data – 

    Big Data is big news these days. Still, I’m sure there are those among you who wonder whether Big Data is actually a big deal, or just a big bloated bag of hot air.” – then goes onto share her views … 


    Coincidentally it’s also a topic that the folks at McKinsey have been looking at – under the current descriptor Big Data (?) – where they ask – “Can Big Data play a useful role ?” – see the full (long) report ?

    And from Forrester’s Brian Hopkins looking at IBM’s recent symposium, the “Big Data” theme just seems to be encroaching  – they characterise it with the 3 “V’s” : Volume : Velocity : Variety. Of course in my opinion there has to be  another V : Value – ie the real Value or benefits that comes from what you get out of “Big Data“.

    John Tropea has also been emphasising Value rather than a focus on Adoption of Web 2.0 technologies in organizations.

    And then to leverage the actual Value from the other 3 “V’s” – employee engagement & passion is crucial as Dion Hinchliffe shared from another article he’d read.


    More good posts on Intranets from the KerrieAnne’s Vaults : Googlereader, Delicious & Diigo

    A Maven’s Magnet Personal Knowledge Management PKM Thoughts – What matters in Intranets for PKM  : Findability : Navigation / Search / Help Resources including Emergency Info  – NewsCollaboration / Interaction – able to Personalize/Customize for the Individual’s needs