VIP report on outsourcing

The latest issue of VIP includes a summary of a report on outsourcing that Freepint and Integreon undertook. The report looked at how information professionals and information centres are approaching the outsourcing of Knowledge and Information Services. The report also looked at what some of the barriers to outsourcing are and how satisfied companies who have outsourced elements on their Knowledge & Information Services teams are.

Now if you're anything like me as soon as you hear the word outsourcing you will grimace, outsourcing to me = job losses. So some of the content of the summary made interesting reading.

  • Out of 71 respondents to the survey that formed the basis of the report 41% are currently outsourcing some element of the Knowledge & Information Services department
  • Of the rest of the respondents 25% were not considering outsouring at all.

So it's not all doom and gloom when it comes to outsourcing. I should say I think there are some elements of Knowledge & Information Services that could potentially be outsourced for instance around document preparation or where the output from research is a profile of a company or organisation/where a template can be used and followed by anyone.

There are also some administrative duties that could certainly be outsourced and there are some good examples of companies like Prenax consolidating and labelling deliveries of journals so that staff time is spent doing this. Legal Research however is altogether very different and I cant see how an outsourcing company would be able to match (in terms of quality) the efforts of an internal team.

KM tips for introvets

Neil Richards of the Knowledge Thoughts Blog has written an interesting piece entitled "Channel your inner George Costanza; KM tips for Introverts" In the post Neil looks at how introversion can effect the work of Library/Information Managers by influencing the networking they do and subsequently the number of people/groups that they're exposed to. This is especially important when it comes to Knowledge Management but I believe their is a much bigger issue, which is around marketing and self promotion.

Before I talk about that I want to say that although I broadly agree with Neil's comments that Librarianship and introversion go hand in hand I by no means believe that all Librarians are introvets. This would follow the widely believed stereotype that we're all bespectacled cardigan wearing women and also because there are many examples of Librarians who are extroverts. Anyone who has ever spoken at a Conference has to be fairly outgoing...or mad...or very brave. Many Librarians are also involved in the organisation and running of committees which does involve networking and talking with individuals outside of your "comfort zone"

In terms of marketing and self promotion Librarians, especially in Law Firms face some major problems. Yes we have pages on the Intranet which tell people what we do but do people actually know who we are? It would be interesting to poll a cross section of fee-earners to find out what they thought Law Libraries did and who worked in them. Effective promotion of ourselves and our resources is especially important in the current financial climate but how to do it? I certainly don' t have the answer, but there are a number of resources, which look useful:

How do Law Librarians promote their services? let me know!

Managing Social Media

Mashable have written an excellent post on "How to manage social media goals and expectations" the post writes about something I have a real problem with. Indivdiuals desire to have a billion followers! From the post:

"People have been setting some strange, unrealistic, and possibly misguided expectations recently in social media. While you might believe that you’re only worth something in social media if you have a huge audience, the simple fact is that it’s not true."

The post is essentially a guide to avoiding some of the "pitfalls" that come with using Social Media and how you can manage your own expectations. Some highlights from the post include:

  • Popularity v Real Value
  • Avoiding some of the pitfalls (like having a meltdown)
  • Setting goals (very important - what do you want to get out of Social Media?)

& finally remembering "it's not a race" that it really isn't about the most followers or who can get to a trillion followers quickest, it's the value you derive from using the tool.

CLSIG events

I haven't been on the CILIP website for a while, essentially because I find it difficult to navigate but had reason to today when Hanna Lewin reminded me that the Commercial Legal and Scientific Group (CLSIG) are running a Web 2.0 event in the autumn.

I soon discovered that CLSIG have been very busy running all sort of useful events over the summer and publishing presentations and other material to the CILIP website. These include "Your information service under review: building a persuasive business case with presentations from Sandra Ward (Senior Assoicate at TFPL) called "Spotlight on the information service" and Sarah Fahy (Allen & Overy LLP) called "Pulling teeth: making a business case"

This event was part of a series of seminars organised by CLSIG called the "Professional Development Club" I've been on a couple of events organised by CLSIG and have always found the content interesting and the speakers enthusiastic. The events are always very well organised and importantly very reasonably priced. The next event in this series is a Web 2.0 event tentatively called "Web 2.0 - Pros and Cons" which is scheduled for September. I'm very much looking forward to this.

Are you obsolete or mission critical?

Mary Abraham from the Above and Beyond KM blog has written a very timely post called "Are you obsolete or mission critical" in which Mary points reader to an article from rickmans posterous blog called "Should knowledge managers look for a new job?"

As Mary indicates in her blog post "The message that comes through is that in an Enterprise 2.0 world there won’t be much of a need for knowledge managers who act as gatekeepers (i.e., deciding what information is worthy of collecting or sharing) or archivists (i.e., collecting and organizing information in a central repository in accordance with a strict taxonomy). Rather, knowledge managers who wish to remain employed will need to morph into facilitators who help people work with new collaboration tools, comply with community-derived tagging guidelines, and share information"

I like Mary agree with most of what Rick is saying and Rick has a nice summary of what a Knowledge Manager should be doing in his blog post which I recommend any who currently considers themselves a Knowledge Manager reads.

A Knowledge Manager can "...can help people in how they should work with the new tools, what the common guidelines for tagging should be, how people should rate information, how people can share information. Not by providing them a strict set of rules, but by providing them guidelines on how they could work. The group decides what best for them, if chaos is best for them, than it is chaos"

33 ways to use LinkedIn for business

I love this article from the Web Worker Daily which lists 33 ways in which you can use LinkedIn for business, that is as more then just a place to "connect with people" not that this isn't valuable. Some of the suggestions are quite obvious, like filling out your profile completely but others are quite useful for anyone who is just starting to use LinkedIn or is a regular user.

[Hat Tip - The iLibrarian]

Competitve intelligence in a Web 2.0 world

Greg Lambert over at the 3 Geeks and a Law Blog has written an interesting post on "Competitive intelligence in a Web 2.0 world" the post looks at some of the tools and techniques you can use to find people on Twitter.

In the post Greg uses the example of trying to find Lawyers who work in particular law firms, but there is absolutely no reason why Greg's techniques cant be applied more widely. For example Greg suggests using Tweepsearch to find people who fall within certain "categories" so for instance if you wanted to find all "Law Librarians" who were on Twitter you would run this search.

There is some really good advice in this post which could be applied to both the searches we do when we're looking for colleagues and potentially when we're undertaking legal research.

JPMorgan Chase & Clife Woods 10K 2009

Two runs to report about here. The first the JPMorgan Chase Challenge is an annual race that I have taken part in for the last four years. I'm pleased to say that during that time period my times have always come down and this year was no exception.

My time (25:19) was a whole minute faster then last year was helped by very favourable conditions last week. Slightly overcast with a nice cool breeze. This year for the first time the organisers provided all competitors with a timing chip.

This meant that there was no need to rush to the front of the race (although people still did this) because your time was accurately recorded from the moment you passed over the start line to the moment you crossed the finish line. Unfortunately the race was marred slightly be people cheating, yes unbelievably cheating but ducking under ropes and cutting off some of the course. I find this behaviour unbelievable and not at all in the spirit of the race, which is for charity, at the end of the day they're only cheating themselves as well.

My last race was the Cliffe Woods 10k this is a great little race held in Cliffe no woods involved unfortunately. Like last year the temperatures were high (low 20's) but thankfully the organisers had laid on 3 water stops, which helped slightly.

There was also the option of being hosed down by a very kind old man in a garden that adjoined the course, bliss! Unfortunately instead of hosing me down generally a got a cold blast to my left hand side which was more shocking then helpful! The best thing about this race is that the start is always fast and this year was no exception as I ran a 3:51 for the first KM.

This was of course the only time I ran a sub 4 minute KM on this course as I finished in a time of 45:23 a full two seconds faster then last year. The run was significantly more competitive this year as it was part of the Kent Championships so I finished 147th out of 518 starters.

Twitter for Libraries

I've seen and used a lot of useful Twitter resources recently so I thought it was only fair that I share them with you. The first is Twitter for Libraries a post from the What I learned today blog.

Then there is Twitter search in plain English, which is another great video from the team at Commoncraft. Thanks to the iLibrarian for alerting me to this. The iLibrarian has also posted about the Twitter Guide Book, which looks like a really use resource for anyone thinking about or currently using Twitter.


Volunteering opportunities...

Are you a Law Librarian...who is a member of the British & Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL)...and would like to become involved with the work of BIALL...then I'd love to hear from you!

BIALL relies on its members to volunteer for committees that work on projects like the BIALL Website, The Conference, BIALL Salary Surveys and much much more.

But why would you want to become involved in the work of a committee? Well for one thing committee work is a great way to network with your peers and colleagues (there is normally a social element to any work on a committee) committees also offer the opportunity for you to benchmark the work you're doing with other Law Librarians and for you to share concerns and any issues you may have. Committee work also looks great when it comes to professsional development, just look at me here! and really aren't that onerous, three or maybe four meetings a year at most.

So if you like to become more involved with BIALL, drop me a line here, or on Twitter.