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The Evolving Value of Information Management

The Evolving Value of Information Management

Posted 11 November 2013 | By | Categories: Librarians, SLA | No Comments

The Evolving Value of Information Management
And Five Essential Attributes of the Modern Information Professional

This report is the result of a research study commissioned by both the Financial Times and the Special Libraries Association (SLA), to explore the evolving value of information management in today’s society.  I was fortunate to participate in the development of this piece of thought leadership, helping to scope it and participating in a panel discussion of the preliminary results at the 2013 Annual Conference of the Special Libraries Association in San Diego, California, June 9-11, 2013.

This report explores the challenges and opportunities of this modern day knowledge specialist, working in times of widespread budget austerity, while evolving the value they provide to organisations. Big data and smarter technology can make today’s information professional more influential than ever, but the free availability of information is sometimes a threat. No longer data gatekeepers, information professionals must work hard to demonstrate their value in new ways. Doing this means making a fundamental shift from isolated, technical expert to multi-skilled team member, enabling decisions and proactively integrating into the organisation.

Some key themes emerged from the survey data and in-depth interviews which underpin this report:

  • What worries knowledge providers most is that an increasing number of their colleagues are bypassing them and accessing the information they need directly (e.g. using Google). Apart from undermining information professionals, this creates significant organisational risk. The second major, but related, challenge for information professionals is demonstrating their value to the business. Many are also struggling to meet organisational expectations in an environment of declines in budget, IT investment and headcount.
  • Information users (e.g. executives) suffer from information overload. Their challenge is a perceived lack of up-to-date, relevant, decision-ready information, delivered quickly enough for them to make use of it.
  • The majority of knowledge providers currently overestimate the level of value they provide. Overall, 55% of knowledge providers say they add “a lot of value”, yet only 34% of executives are willing to say the same of them.
  • But executives appear more ready than ever to engage with information professionals. Some 49% of information users expect the level of interaction and engagement between knowledge providers and senior management to increase in the next three years.
  • One key way in which this engagement is set to increase is through the use of “embedded” information professionals. This will see information departments shrink or disappear, but will also dismantle many organisational barriers. Rather than being siloed in libraries, information professionals will become team members within departments that were once internal customers.
  • Communication, understanding and decision-ready information are rated (by all respondents) as the most important attributes for modern information professionals. They are also among the areas with the largest shortfalls in performance ratings between users and providers, so information professionals should focus on improving these attributes above all others.

The report also describes five essential attributes for modern information professionals to strive for:

  • Communicate your value
  • Understand the drivers
  • Manage the process
  • Keep up on technical skills
  • Provide decision-ready information

I would be curious to hear from other knowledge and information professionals with their opinions and reactions to the report!

Space Station over Toronto

Space Station over Toronto

Posted 21 February 2013 | By | Categories: Photography | No Comments

Space Station over Toronto

via Cmdr_Hadfield

Get Ready for the Future with Operation Vitality

Get Ready for the Future with Operation Vitality

Posted 23 January 2011 | By | Categories: SLA | No Comments

Cross-posted with Future Ready 365.

SLA isn’t yet Future Ready, so I am doing something about it. This site is the first live website to use SLA’s new web hosting service and newly designed theme for WordPress!

For many years, our unit websites have been disparate in content, design, and functionality. Some sites are coded “old school” with plain HTML, some use ColdFusion, some ASP or PHP, and some are externally hosted. They can’t effectively exchange data with Headquarters (or each other) and, to be honest, many have seen better days. At first glance, you would hardly know they were units of the same organization!

Operation Vitality*

SLA will revitalize its website community as “Operation Vitality” swings into high gear this year.

“Operation Vitality” has five objectives:

  1. Provide a stable and modern website hosting service to all chapters, divisions, and caucuses;
  2. Ensure the service is affordable and cost effective for the Association;
  3. Design a brand-compliant template for all units to use;
  4. Promote a common content management system we can all use, understand and build upon; and
  5. Rebuild the community for SLA’s webmasters.

I ran for the Board of Directors on a Leadership, Volunteers and Technology platform and “Operation Vitality” sits at the intersection of these three themes. This will be my main focus during my last year on the Board.

New Hosting Service

The SLA staff has made tremendous strides towards establishing a new web hosting service for the units and 2011 will be the year we convert to a common content management system and promote a common look and feel.

  • SLA has partnered with award-winning web host provider HostGator;
  • WordPress will be promoted as the content management system of choice; and
  • A professional WordPress theme has been designed specifically for SLA units and will be included as part of a new web hosting service.

There will be a cost for the new service, $40 per year, which includes a fully functioning WordPress install with the SLA Theme, 24/7 technical support provided by HostGator, email accounts, MySQL databases, FTP Accounts, an easy to use and flexible Control Panel, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee. For the real web gurus out there, advanced features will also include CGI, Ruby on Rails, Perl, Python, Curl, CPAN, GD Library, Image Magick, SSH Access and Cron Job Scheduling.

The Plan

In late 2010 a set of units who self-identified as early adopters started using the new service. Based on the feedback from this pilot, the service and the WordPress theme will be adjusted and rolled out to the whole Association in early 2011. The goal is to have all SLA units who are currently hosted by SLA converted to the new service by December 2011. Units who have pursued their own hosting are encouraged to rejoin.

The Team

A large project like “Operation Vitality” requires the energy of a dedicated and talented group of people. Volunteer “Super Admins” and staff members will be available to answer WordPress-related questions and provide guidance to units as they join the new service:

  • Amy Buckland
  • Michelle Dollinger
  • Nicole Engard
  • Britta Jessen Charbonneau
  • Daniel Lee
  • Kendra Levine
  • Heather Ritchie
  • Margaret Smith
  • Linda Broussard (SLA’s Chief Administrative Officer)
  • Jeff Leach (SLA’s Director, Marketing)
  • Quan O. Logan (SLA’s Chief Technology Officer)

Are You Ready?

Today is the official launch of this project at Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. I will present details of the new service (along with a live demo of some of its features) to SLA’s leadership and will also invite units to join the second round of early adopters.

I am very excited to see what web-based innovations the association will realize when we are all finally rowing in the same direction. If your unit is ready to make the switch, or if you have any questions or comments, contact me.

Daniel P. Lee

Director, 2009-2011

Email: danielplee at sympatico.ca

Office: (416) 644-7000

Twitter: @yankeeincanada

Appendix – Early Adopters (First Round)

  • Florida & Caribbean
  • Illinois
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Philadelphia
  • Silicon Valley
  • Toronto
  • Washington, DC
  • Western Canada
  • Academic
  • Business and Finance
  • Competitive Intelligence
  • Leadership and Management Division
  • Legal
  • Science-Technology
  • Transportation

* I chose “Operation Vitality” as the nickname/codename for this project because I wanted to inject a “a healthy capacity for vigorous activity” into our webmaster community and because I was doing things slightly under the radar to build support from the ground up.

Introduction to Social Media for Organizations at the iSchool Institute

Introduction to Social Media for Organizations at the iSchool Institute

Posted 05 January 2011 | By | Categories: Librarians, Social Media, Twitter | No Comments

Connie Crosby and I will be teaching a new course at the iSchool Institute starting in January.

Introduction to Social Media for Organizations

Bring your organization up to date by learning how to develop a social media plan, taking into account its larger strategies and objectives. Learn about monitoring the web for mentions of your organization and conversations that are of interest, and joining in. Consider your organization’s key audiences or communities, where they are online and how to engage them. Learn about online community building, and measurement that is meaningful.

This is a full day introductory overview session with a focus on strategy and methods rather than specific tools or tactics.

Learning outcomes for participants:

  • How social media efforts can fit into your organization’s existing strategies.
  • How to monitor social networks for conversations about your organization and other topics that are of interest to you.
  • How different audiences or communities have different levels of engagement online, and how to reach out to them.
  • Planning your organization’s method for responding to queries and comments and engaging in conversations.
  • Methods for online community building.
  • Looking for measurement that is meaningful.

Prerequisite:
Participants are expected to have a basic knowledge of blogs, wikis, Facebook and Twitter.

Target Audience:
Management or executive level employees in library, non-profit and other organizations that want to start new social media engagements or improve existing engagements.

Marketing or PR staff in information-related organizations such as libraries who want a broader perspective on how their organizations can get involved in social media.

Registration is now open!

Generations Online in 2010: How different generations use the net

Generations Online in 2010: How different generations use the net

Posted 16 December 2010 | By | Categories: Social Media, Visualizations | No Comments

via Pew Internet

If you want to work in libraries

If you want to work in libraries

Posted 10 November 2010 | By | Categories: Librarians | No Comments
Internet Librarian 2010 – Resources

Internet Librarian 2010 – Resources

Posted 31 October 2010 | By | Categories: Librarians, Visualizations | 1 Comment

As promised, here are the resources I mentioned during my talks at Internet Librarian.

C106: Mobile Future

Mobile statistics

C302: Value-Added Research

Media monitoring and content analysis links

Internet Librarian 2010

Internet Librarian 2010

Posted 24 August 2010 | By | Categories: Librarians | No Comments

I am very excited to be presenting for the first time at Internet Librarian, October 25-27, 2010.  Here are summaries of my workshop and two sessions:

W15: From Media Monitoring to Media Insight (Pre-conference Workshop)

(October 24, 2010 / 9:00 AM–12:00 PM)

Media monitoring as we know it is evolving. Learn the latest methods, tools, and techniques used in the world of communications, politics and public affairs to extend your existing monitoring service with insight and analysis for better decision making. This hands-on workshop introduces you to simple and advanced tools you can use immediately. It includes a survey of the latest tools and applications and illustrates their use with real world products and services. This workshop will be of interest to competitive intelligence professionals and anyone looking to ramp up their media monitoring service and to impress their customers.

C106: Mobile Future

(October 25, 2010 / 4:15 PM–5:00 PM)

Co-presenting with Joe Murphy (Yale University) and Chad Mairn (St. Petersburg College).

What are some of the mobile programs currently in development? What are other organizations doing that libraries can learn from? Hear what our experienced and forward-thinking panel highlights and what we should be paying attention to in the next year to shape our plans for a mobile future. An interactive discussion of topics from the day will be included.

C302: Value-Added Research

(October 27, 2010 / 11:30 AM–12:15 PM)

Co-presenting with Amy Affelt (Compass Lexecon) and Qin Zhu (HP Labs Research Library).

Many corporate librarians use specialized clipping and alerting services to deliver value through a tangible, pragmatic information product. Daily information alerts that are tailored to individual requestors’ interests delight constituents on a daily basis, meeting their needs by playing an active, consistent role in their success. Affelt details how e-book readers such as the Amazon Kindle and the iPhone can help librarians quickly and easily look for, clip, and archive critical information, explore techniques for streamlining and organizing information through the use of these devices so that it can be delivered to requestors when and where it is needed and explains the process of integrating content from librarians’ e-book readers to requestors’ smartphones. Lee discusses going beyond media monitoring to provide insight and analysis. Zhu discusses discovery tools and processes used to put information into context.

Internet Librarian Advance Program

View the Internet Librarian Advance Program at http://www.infotodaycom/il2010/program.asp.

What Americans Do Online: Social Media And Games Dominate Activity

What Americans Do Online: Social Media And Games Dominate Activity

Posted 13 August 2010 | By | Categories: Social Media, Visualizations | No Comments

What Americans spend time online doing graphic

via Nielson

Search Engine History

Search Engine History

Posted 04 August 2010 | By | Categories: Visualizations | No Comments

Search Engine History.

Infographic by the PPC Blog.com