Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Upcoming conference

The Library and Information Research Coalition holds its first conference this year on June 28th at the British Library Conference Centre. The programme explores the LIS research landscape and combines keynote speakers with breakout sessions and opportunities for active delegate participation.

The programme looks excellent and I am delighted to have been asked to facilitate break out session on the day.

It's also interesting to note the low price of this conference. £84.10 seems excellent value for a one-day event in central London. Congratulations to the programming committee and all those concerned.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

BBC, social media

The ever excellent Pods and Blogs programme is a regular feature on BBC Radio 5 Live's Up All Night programming and does, of course, have its own podcast. It's the type of programme that introduces you to great content you may never have actually searched for or found without prompting. It is highly recommended.

In this week's broadcast, the programme featured Matt Novak who glories in the job title paleo-futurologist. His blog Paleofuture provides 'a look into the future that never was' by showing historical predictions for the future. In 1930, for example, the Syracuse Herald ran an article predicting the digital distribution of films in an article 'Television will soon flash talkies through the ether'. Or how about 1981's 'Computer criminals of the future' which predicts growth in computer fraud (although simultaneously predicting a decline in buglaries because computers will be guarding our homes!).

Bearded men of the 21st century is just one example of why we should all exercise extreme caution when predicting the future.

Searching Chinese patents

In 1985 China put in place its first patent law. It acceded to the World Trade Organisation in 2000. As China's presence on the economic global stage increases, its patent applications increase with its own patents and those from countries seeking patent protection in China. According to China's State Intellectual Property Office, in 2007 China received more patent applications that any country (694,000). (The US had the second most applications (484,955), followed by Japan (443,150).

This article by Christine Kaemmer is a useful and well structured resource for those who need to research Chinese Patents and Utility Models. It's written so that it's accessible to non IP experts - and sensibly stresses the importance of using expert searchers for prior art work.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Ignorance management

In discussing the huge effects that can be stimulated by an organisation’s failure to tackle or even to recognise the existence of ignorance management, Chris Rivinus throws down a challenge to all of us.
“It doesn’t matter what level of the organisation you call home, mitigation of Ignorance Management starts by looking in the mirror".

Good business information services are a force against ignorance management but it’s certainly worth thinking about whether use of BI services is feeding instinctive prejudices for action or encouraging people to stop and think on the basis of current evidence. And you may want to consider mapping ignorance in your own area of your organisation – even if you keep p your results to yourself you may be able to act on them.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Reputation management

This article by Rob Brown, published in the March 2010 issue of the journal (27/1), couldn't be more timely. In the last month we have seen several high profile sportsmen face media scrutiny of the gap between their 'personal brand' and their 'character'.

Those who listened to Rob Brown at the 2008 London Online Information Conference can testify to the power of his advice on the routes to develop personal and corporate reputations. There are so many messages in his article - perhaps the key one for us is to cultivate your knowledge, your networks, your experience - and your influence will increase with your reputation. The many areas for action that Rob covers in his article provide a good assessment tool not just for individuals thinking of their personal reputation but for people running and providing information services. Which of these actions are most likely to increase service reputation?
The article abstract is available on the Sage website.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

BIR March 2010

Just over four months ago, as the newly appointed editors of BIR, we attended our first editorial meeting with the good folks at Sage. We knew we were taking over an already established and successful journal that had benefitted from great editors and contributors. We were nervous - but excited!

We have many people to thank for their patient guidance, including Gwenda Sippings the previous editor who was consistently helpful through the handover process - and beyond; Caroline and Vijay at Sage who provided advice and support throughout and Allan Foster who ensured we benefitted from his 20+ years of experience contributing to the journal. Our editorial board members continue to provide expertise and content advice.

With the help of all these people, not to mention the contributors, our first issue as editors (volume 27/1) is now published! The table of contents is available here.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Business Information Survey 2010

The March 2010 issue of BIR sees the publication of the 20th annual survey of the current state of business information services.

This year's survey is the result of indepth conversations with 22 information service leaders in manufacturing, business and finance, law, insurance and consultancy and professional services. As always we are truly grateful to those people who shared their experiences, thinking and concerns with us so freely.
The survey reflects the increased scrutiny of the costs and benefits of information services that a tough business environment makes inevitable. The respondents report tough negotiations with vendors as they battle to keep expenditure as low as possible. 85% of the respondents report a downturn in content budget and/or staffing numbers. 20% have outsourced or offshored parts of their information fuction, while more are considering such a move. For the first time, law firms in particular are exploring this option.

The picture isn't one of universal gloom. Some services are taking the opportunity to focus on developing business critical services and raising their profile. For some, the challenging times are helping them 'move up the value chain'.

The full text of the Survey is available to download from the Sage website.