The SLA 2011 Conference in Philadelphia – The Virtual Conference Day 2
by Jane Macoustra 2011 Virtually Present Candidate for Director
Day two of the conference has started with another great panel of speakers. Please excuse my spelling; I'm from the UK, and can't attempt to "Americanize" my blogging. I'm going to highlight a couple of sessions today. This morning we had a session hosted by Ulla deStricker on Capitalising on Content to Grow Competencies. Ulla spoke briefly about how we should now be negotiating with business leaders instead of service providers.
There were three speakers, and a detailed Q&A session followed afterwards. Fred Wergeles spoke about using KM management tools to gain competitive insight and how to set an intelligence action plan, taking us through relation analysis and recommendation to management. He asked us to think about how we conducted research before the creation of the Internet. He demonstrated a case study using specialist in-house written software to analyse the relationships between connections, frequency of communication, the people in an organisation and also identifying all non-obvious connections to a particular project.
Deborah Keller took us through how the Homeland Security agency used KM for library content, demonstrating their use of tagging to develop a network of people and identify connections in a large agency. She said they keep a repository of questions and resources that they can refer back to for analysis of future developments. The current project is to develop standard models agency-wide, using multi-functional portals. Finally, Deborah advocated the use of plain language instead of jargon, and using RSS to push content.
Constance Ard spoke about one of her projects "Build me a Wiki" which she developed for a particular client. The practicalities she used to develop the Wiki included a clean up, and then defining the purpose of the Wiki. Other considerations that Constance addressed were costing issues and the risks attached to e-discovery.
Questions followed, and these were answered by the entire panel:
What skills would you have liked when you started out?
- Keeping up with new technologies; diplomacy and tact; learning to listen and communicate; top level management communication skills.
What tools did you use in order to build those skills?
- SLA, mentors, people in the organisation; clients; being treated like your opinion is valuable; read and study the same stuff as business leaders; continuing education; using social media to tap information from people you don't know.
What skills are you looking for next and what advice do you have for people new to the profession?
- Understanding new analytical tools; turning data into actionable intelligence; manipulation of data; being a subject expert or a good generalist – which? Being the best you can be; budgeting and statistical analysis. Advice: continue to build your skills; use mind map visualisation; never stop learning; you can learn every single day.
Looking at SLA Core Competencies growth – what ideas do you have?
- It is an evolving document; add thinking as part of the core competency; as work changes it (core) needs to evolve at a broader level; it should be flexible; look at competencies 15 years ago; what might they be in 20 years and what are the right here-right now competencies?
What makes us special?
- We can do lots of different things and learn a lot of skills; that is what makes us different/special; we need to continue to be relevant, doing things within an adapting landscape.
Later on in the day, we were offered the session by Mary Ellen Bates: Creating Groupies – Info Pro Geurilla Marketing. I've seen her live a number of times, and she was very lively virtually! Actually she addressed us (the Virtual crowd) on a number of occasions. We were in the room with her. MEB asked what do you offer your organisation that is unique and do they need it? She picked up on negative stereotypes and the ways in which Info Pros can change perceptions of our industry. MEB addressed ways we can market ourselves effectively to demonstrate and express the value of offerings to an organisation. She said that volunteering to work for SLA helps to develop skills and give the Info Pro a higher profile. She provided the audience with good, solid advice, which I thought was particularly relevant to those who are new to the profession. Finally, she asked us (the Virtual crowd) if we were all in Bunnie Slippers! Check out the responses on Twitter.
Today, we are again all interacting and talking with each other in the Virtual conference area and we have made professional network connections with each other. We have been tweeting so the delegates-in-person can see our input into the conference. This conference has brought together a new set of professionals who would not have met if it weren't for the Virtual conference side of Philly 2011. It is great to be a part of this particular group.
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