Going ever further beyond connections

This post is a response to some of the questions I was asked during my session which I wasn't a 100% certain about. By the way if you haven't looked at the slidedeck from my session at the BIALL Conference then I recommend you do so now!

So the first question I was asked which I struggled slightly with was how you would go about creating two profiles on Linkedin and whether this is something you should do. For example if you undertook a role completely unrelated to your professional life. Personally I would never do this. In fact including more information on your Linkedin profile can only be a good thing unless of course your role is something you don't want your immediate colleagues knowing about! Including more information about what you do outside of your job also gives your profile credibility and migth encourage people to engage with you, if for example they discovered that you were the Chair of the local gardening club. If you have accidentally created two Linkedin accounts there are several helpful guides which explain how you can delete a Linkedin account.

The second question I was asked was around fake accounts and specifically whether there were any safegauards in place protecting you from people creating a fake account. The short answer is no. To create a Linkedin profile all you need is an email address which you then have to confirm. This email address doesn't have to be your current work address, although Linkedin suggests having multiple email accounts registered against your account. Unfortunately this wont stop someone creating a profile on Linkedin that is fake. There are several quite interesting articles on the subject of fake Linkedin accounts, which are well worth having a look at.

The final question I was asked was about receiving connection requests from group members, whether this was possible and whether it consituted spam. The short answer is that Linkedin groups are being used by spammers to send emails to group members, but you can control what emails you receive from the groups you belong to by updating your email and notification settings. As far as I'm aware I've never received a connection request from an individual who is a member of a mutual group which has gone to ALL group members, but that doesn't mean it hasn't happened to other people.

Those were the 3 questions I struggled with slightly, there were a lot of other question and of course I'd be happy to answer any questions about how you can use Linkedin and some of the functionality availabel within Linkedin.

To blog or not to blog...

Recently I took a look at this blogs subscribers. I'm going to be honest and tell you it's not a massive number.

I immediately posted on Twitter about how depressing it was seeing how few people were actually subscribing to my blog. Well the resulting tweets were inspiring. A lot of people it would seem pick up blog posts of interest from Twitter rather then from an RSS feed or from an email subscription. I've certainly seen that today with all the fantastic blog posts about the New Professionals Conference as well as those individuals who are undertaking the CPD23 course.

Those indviduals I salute and look forward to reading your blog posts. I will also be continuing with my blogging, having been encouraged by the responses I received on Twitter.

[I blog therefore I am from Flickr]

BIALL President-elect...who me!

In case you haven't seen the news I've been elected BIALL President-Elect for 2011-2012 which ultimately means I'll be BIALL President for 2012-2013.

Why on earth would someone want to do this!

I've worked in Law Firms since May 2001 first at CMS Cameron McKenna LLP and now at Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP. I've been a BIALL member since 2002 and have attended 8 Conferences with my first being in Edinburgh. During my time as a BIALL member I've been on the Legal Information Group (LIG) both as an ordinary member and as the Chair for 3 years and managed the development of the BIALL Code of Good Practice for publishers and introduced the concept of a yearly meeting between LIG and legal publishers. I also spent some time on the web committee first as an ordinary member as part of the project team which redesigned the BIALL website and more recently as Interim Chair whilst BIALL searched for an found and excellent Chair in Marianne Barber.

Most recently I've been a BIALL Council Member which has been an interesting role as you get to see what happens on Council and the work of all the committees, not just the one you might be chairing. Anyway to cut a long story short I've been wanting to step up into a more senior role within BIALL for a while so put myself forward for the President-Elect position and was duly elected. The response from people to my "election" has been amazing and to them I can only say thanks and hope that I can live up to the expectations that come with the role. One of the best comments came from someone I've known for a while who said "I just wanted to say that I am sure you will do very well. Every president brings something new to the role and I am sure that you will too" here's hoping!!

I don't officially take up my positition of President-Elect until the 24th of June, which is 1 week after the AGM but if you're a BIALL member and you'd like to talk to me about anything then you can contact me via this blog posting or via my Twitter account - I'd love to hear from you!

BIALL Conference highlights

The BIALL Conference is over for another year and I have to say this years was one of the best I've ever attended. There were a number of great sessions and two fantastic events where delegates could network with colleagues old and new.

For me the most memorable session was Nick Davies session on how to deliver engaing training. The mere fact that Nick stood on stage for an hour with no slides makes him a legend and that was before he even started talking. What he delivered was a whistle stop tour of techniques we can employ when deliver training to make people pay attention. Of the techniques he suggested the ones that really struck me were around using PowerPoint. Nick suggested that we should avoid using PowerPoint as a drunk might use a lampost and to stop vomitting up our knowledge on to PowerPoint slides. People attending training are there to hear you speak not look at PowerPoint slides. Nick also suggested that using stories can help you connect with your audience and that humour and spontaneity although difficult to do can be useful tools in a presenters arsenal. Nick also suggested watching 2 videos of Sir Ken Robinson speaking. Ken is a "creativity expert" who talks about how we're educating people out of being creative. I've embedded one of the videos I watched below and have to say he is a very funny and inspiring speaker and loved some of his stories, especially the story about wristwatches!

Another interesting session was that delivered by Fiona Fogden. Fiona talked about how Baker Tilly were using Linex Legal and Thomson Reuters newsoom to manage their current awareness content including content from Twitter and other social media sites. This was a fascinating look at how these two tools were being used to streamline the delivery of current awareness to fee-earners.

I also attended a session by Barry Vickery of 7Side on finding International Company Information, which was both insightful and funny because as Chair I'd given Barry strict instructions not to "sell" the 7Side product. A session by Jackie Fishleigh on "SharePoint and the Naked Law Librarian" didn't include any naked Law Librarians, which I think is probably a good thing. However it did seem to prove that SharePoint is being used by more and more law firms and that Law Librarians are well placed to be involved in the managment of SharePoint projects, either from a technical perspective or content management perspective.

However the session everyone was really looking forward to was the one delivered by Michael Maher and Kate Stanfield entitled "The Integreon model one year on". This was a follow up to the session Michael delivered at the BIALL Conference in Brighton. I found the session useful although having worked at CMS Cameron McKenna and still having friends there I was "semi-aware" of what had taken place in terms of the outsourcing of Business Services including Knowledge & Information Services to Integreon. Unfortunately much like last year there wasn't a huge amount of time left for questions, although the Chair of the session did let the session run over slightly. Reading Nicola Franklin's post about the BIALL Conference is does sound like there were other questions people would have liked to have asked, which I'm sure Kate and Michael would have been happy to have answered.

The formal business of the Conference was conducted very well by both David Wills (BIALL President) and the rest of the Conference Committee and they are to be applauded for providing delegates with a number of though provoking sessions and entertaining networking events. Roll on Belfast 2012.

Going beyond connections: BIALL Conference session

This is the slideshow of the presentation I delivered at the BIALL Conference in Newcastle. In the session I looked at how Linkedin is an extremely well used Social Networking site but the majority of users don't go beyond the obvious functionality - that is connecting with individuals.

No doubt I'll be writing a much fuller report for LIM in due course. In the meantime you can review my slidedeck and perhaps think about how you could be using Linkedin beyond just connecting with individuals.

Internal social tools that support the business

This is the title of an excellent presentation from James Robertson where he looks at some of the social tools that can be used internally both to support the work of a business and to facilitate communication between diverse groups of indviduals.

James starts the presentation by looking at the different types of Internal social media that businesses can use, these range from Activity streams to Yammer as James says in his blog post that accompanies this presentation "There are many different types of “social tools”, under the one umbrella, all working in different ways" James then provides some example of how social tools are being used effectively by organisations, these organisations include British Airways, American Electric Power and Sabre.

For me one of the most important point James makes is about understanding how your organisation works. If you don't understand how your organisation works then you'll never going to be able to provide a solution (social media tool) that is going to work effectively. To really understand the organisation you work for you need to get out there and talk to the people who are using the existing tools and hear what issues they have to deal with on a daily basis.

I've embedded the presentation below - enjoy!

BIALL Conference preview

This post should actually be called "What I'm looking forward to at the BIALL Conference" but that wasn't snappy enough for me to use! This post highlights some of the things I'm looking forward to doing at Conference as for me the Conference is not just about attending plenary and parallel sessions.

  • Catching up with old friends. Its been a while since I've seen a few people I know IRL but who I talk to regularly on Twitter so it will be great to catchup with them and find out what they're up to, possibly over a glass or two of wine. There are of course a number of people not attending this Conference who I'd loved to catchup with - maybe next year!
  • Seeing Newcastle. I've never been to Newcastle before although I was offered a place at Northumbria University to study Information & Library Management, but I decided not to accept it, so it will be great to see what the city has to offer. The Sage Centre certainly looks impressive and will no doubt provide a stunning backdrop to the first night entertainment.
  • Wearing my black tie suit. It doesn't come out of the suit carrier very often so I have to make the most of any opportunity to wear it!
  • Speaking at the last parallel session on Friday. I really enjoy presenting at Conferences and especially the BIALL Conference. I'm talking about Linkedin which is my second favourite social networking site and I hope I'll encourage anyone who turns up to this session to think about how they could be using Linkedin beyond just accepting connection requests. I'm also chairing a session which is a real honour and knowing the speaker quite well I know the session will go down well.
  • I'm also really looking forward to a numebr of other sessions include Jackie Fishleigh's on SharePoint, Fiona Fogden talking about Information Overload and of course everyone's favourite subject The Integreon outsourcing model.
Is there anything I'm not looking forward to? yep - the 3 hour train journey from Kings Cross to Newcastle :-(

Running roundup

Its been a while since I've posted anything on here about running so I'd thought I'd provide a roundup of the races I've run this year.

My first race of the season was the Whistable 10k. I've run this race a couple of times in the last few years and have always posted a very respectable time. This is mostly down to the fact that the course is as flat as a pancake. However this year the weather conditions were to say the least a bit challenging with a strong head wind for the first 5k and then a tail wind for the last 5k. Despite that and the challenge of running around Bank Holiday day trippers I posted a very respectable time of 46:09 and finished 156th out of 613 runners.

The second race I ran this year was the Larkfield 10k I'd only previously run this race once and remember it being a very nice flat course around the Leybourne Lakes unfortunately unbeknown to me they changed the course last year into a two lap course. Now anyone who knows me will know that I hate laps. There is something about laps that makes me lose my focus and strikes the fear of god into me. I think it harks back to when I ran my first 1/2 Marathon and we had to run the same hill at Brandshatch a total of 4 times :-( So it was no surprise that I finished in a time of 48:23 and came 139th out of 339 runners.

The most recent race I've run was the Bluewater 10k, this is my local race and I've supported it since it has been held, plus they always give you a really great training top and goody bag at the end! Unfortunately about 10 days prior to running this race I managed to injure my knee. I have no idea how only that I was running really well up until the point I injured myself so was not very happy. Despite my slight injury I still managed to post a semi-respectable time of 47:48 (see what I mean about laps) on what is quite a challenging course. This saw me finish 362nd out of 1903 runners.

So quite a mixed bag of results. I'm still training, when I don't have an injury or a cold and recording all my runs and races on Runkeeper. Fingers crossed my next race will be the Weald of Kent 10 which takes place on the 26th of June. I understand this is a very flat course so I'm hoping for a decent time - as long as I put the training in!

Defragmentation of the information professions meeting

Yesterday I attended the latest meeting in a series of meetings looking at the "defragmentation" of the information professions. This was the first open meeting discussing this subject but the third meeting organised by Mark Field, Conrad Taylor and Nicola Franklin. The previous meetings, which are well reported by Nicola on her blog and on the SLA Europe blog, were "closed" meetings in that attendance was by invitation only and was limited to representatives from organisations that represent information professionals.

This meeting was publicised as an opportunity to discuss this issue in more detail, as such it was an "oversubscribed" event which included repsentatives from BCS, BIALL,IDA, ISKO UK, IRMS, KIDMM, LIKE, NetIKX, SLA Europe, UKeIG and of course CILIP. What I should say before I get into what was discussed at the meeting is that if you're not aware of what the discussion is about you should read Mark Field's orginal post about the defragmentation issue. I've had to do this several times!

Shortly before the event began all attendees were emailed with a list of six questions, which we were asked to think about (I've produced these below). Once everyone had arrived and sat at our pre-defined tables (no rebelling which I thought was very interesting) the meeting officially kicked off. Conrad Taylor opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and outlining some of the issues he thought the information professions have, issues like our image, the promotion of what we do and the publicity we produce. Mark Field then talked about how we got here, including the background by his original post and what had happened since. Nicola Franklin then provided a summary of the previous meetings. Conrad then invited "activists" from some of the organisations/associations present to tell the attendees a little about their organisation and why they were here.

The tables were then asked to discuss the questions they'd been provided in advance of the meeting:

  1. What are "the information professions"
  2. How do our various organisations relate to or cater for people who work professionally with information
  3. How is technology change affecting information work and thereby the information professions?
  4. What is the value of the information professions to society?
  5. How would we like the information professions to be supported and represented; are our organisations set up well to do this?
  6. What are the ways in which organisations might collaborate around these issues?
My table didn't manage to discuss all the questions unfortunately but we were all agreed that we didn't feel CILIP was adequately representing us and that it needed a bigger/better voice. We also discussed to some degree the impact of technology and how despite some concerns around how technology is being used, changes in technology are actually good for the profession as not only are they making our live easier but there also improving the experiences our users have. We also discussed how associations and organisations should be using collaborative technologies to improve how they work with their members. There was also some discussion around the benefits associated with being a CILIP member and that for one individual CILIP membership wasn't worth the cost especially as they had no plans to undertake chartership.

Action points from the meeting

After each of the tables had fed back what they had discussed and it had been admirably summarised by Mark and Conrad the attendees were then asked to look at what actions or what documents we could produce as a result of the meeting. I thought it was quite interesting at this point that several groups asked what was the question we we're trying to answer? Mark explained that one of the biggest things we were trying to do was find some way to show our value to those people who might not be aware of the Information Professions, or who have a very short-sighted/blinkered view of what we do. Mark also suggested the groups concentrated on identifying ways in which we could focus our efforts and enage more with our users. A short dicussion by the groups followed which looked at what could be produced from the meeting/going forward.

My table got quite excited about the idea of competencies and how these could be used as did several other tables. The suggestion that associations/organisations should be working more closely together was also discussed. This is something that seems really obvious to me and you would think would happen already but doesn't appear to. The idea of a joint conference which involved not only librarians, but developers, taxonomists, information architects was also suggested both in the meeting and on Twitter.

I'm certain that all the suggested actions from the meeting will be published to the Information Professions wiki in due course. If you want to steal a march you can review four tweets from Nicola Franklin which include the action points:
  1. Create a respository of stories
  2. Create core competency statements
  3. Get groups to work more closely together
  4. Joint statements to the media (this ties in with action 3 in my mind)
Overall a really interesting meeting and good to catchup with some individuals I hadn't seen in a while. What Mark, Conrad and Nicola are doing is very admirable but I still struggle with the idea behind it so some degree but perhaps more importantly what the group hopes to achieve and what impact it will have. I guess only time will tell.