Reading: February’s CILIP Update

Initial thoughts on the latest issue of Update (reflections and more ordered thoughts will follow next week).

  • Shift to big data faces skills shortage, p7 – survey of big data community shows 3/4 felt there weren’t enough skilled workers in the UK; “‘when you’re on the cutting edge of technology, you have to be teaching yourself most of the time'” – Manu Marchal, Acunu Director; “8 out of 10 said that on-the-job training was the best way to ensure skills were up-to-date”; “significant majority [70%] felt there was a knowledge gap between big data analysts or managers and decision makers” – knowledge gap because “‘technology is constantly evolving, so management, like practitioners, are often not aware what can be achieved with these technologies.’ [Manu Marchal]” (applicable to any technological advance).
  • Backlash against volunteer report, p9 – “Without skilled staff a library is a shadow of its former self.” – Phil Bradley
  • Information matters, p13 – “As library and information professionals, we each have a vital role promoting the best effective, ethical, legal and literate use of data and information.” – Peter Griffiths
  • Global course to improve information literacy, p14 – Unesco course to teach importance of media and information literacy to educators. “We live in a world where the quality of information we receive largely determines our choices and ensuing actions, including our capacity to enjoy fundamental freedoms and the ability for self-determination and development.” – Janis Karklins
  • Copyright changes face challenge, p17 – new copyright proposals to make it easier to digitise content for preservation, which is good for archives BUT news agencies and media archives opposing the moves because it risks their ability to monetise archive content and allows for organisations with a license to exploit content without prior consent. Should we be protective of Guardian copyright or happy that more content can be preserved, even if it bypasses our exclusivity?
  • VP’s column, p18 – some great ideas for engaging teens with reading (check out Excelsior Award)
  • E-books: finding the way forward, p33 – Christopher Platt from NYPL highlights how important it is in current climate to collaborate “understanding where publishers and content producers are coming from is crucial to finding a way forward” – in this case, on the issue of e-books, but applies to any sticking point with other departments
  • Moving up the value chain, p39 – Laura Woods column – “Librarians are skilled at taking complex information, synthesising it and representing it in a manageable format for a variety of audiences.” Vital to proactively seek out new roles and specialising, becoming the “go-to person”, making yourself invaluable to your company. But it is also vital to outsource menial tasks that take time away from more specialised jobs – “Reframing what we do is crucial to ensuring that we have a future as a profession. I believe this is true of librarians in every sector. To prove our value, the first step is ensuring that every job we do adds value. Cutting out as many low-value jobs as we can allows us to move further up the value chain.”
  • Informed advocates – becoming agents for change, p46 – again, increased collaboration is important. It’s also important to value ourselves more – we aren’t “service providers” to more important staff, we are just as qualified and professional and should approach business relationships as equals – “Personally, I’d rather people didn’t ‘use’ me. When I hold at least as many academic and professional qualifications as those I work with, collaboration between equals is what we need to advocate for. It’s not about ‘support’ either – it’s about being part of a team and ensuring that the skills I posess are clearly recognised and seen as essential to the work of a team. Is it sensible to go on describing the work we do as a ‘service’ when we are seeing ‘services’ being outsourced?” – Bernard Barrett

Blogging From the archive: CILIP Update article

I had an article published in CILIP Update magazine last week, but I was away (good timing!) so I couldn’t blog it then. If you’ve ever wondered how the Guardian library runs the From the archive blog, here’s the place to find out.

Update were kind enough to link to it directly (Blogging from the archive: it’s all old news). Have a read if you’re interested (please!).

Digested version (John Crace style) – We used to blog. It was rubbish. Now we’ve focussed the remit and published it through the Guardian site, it’s great. Oh, and Twitter helps. Read it.

If anyone has feedback I’d be really interested. Do you run a similar project? How have you found the process of blogging for work? Disagree with any points?

Articles: Cilip Update May 2011

My mentor’s first piece of advice was to read everything I can get my hands on and write it down afterwards. This month’s Cilip Update seems a good place to start.

As well as keeping in touch with the industry in general, a few articles stood out. I’m really interested in the use of digital media in libraries, along with most librarians these days I’m sure! These are just initial notes, I haven’t quite geared my brain into forming a cohesive argument from the threads yet.

  • p9, Digital pioneers declare the death of the dump-bin – good examples of how digital services can be rolled out in public libraries
  • p11, Soundbytes: Let the Users Decide, Charlie Unskip – many benefits of involving the user in acquisitions but needs overall control as well; digital take-up is a big step for libraries – “changing the format which carries information isn’t all bad, but may take a generational shift in attitudes”
  • p25 – JISC goes lean, Elspeth Hyams – useful JUSP tool for analysing usage data, need to analyse data at work somehow
  • pp43-45 – UK Copyright: In a state of extreme flux, Charles Oppenheim – orphan works are risk of digitisation, does that apply to news articles? Would assume not (copyright held by paper?)

Further reading: