Yesterday afternoon around a dozen people sat round a table to continue the discussions begun in December about how the various information societies and groups can work together more effectively.
We initially each had a 2 minute slot to make comments either arising from the record of the first meeting or to give the views of the various bodies represented on what the issues are or how they can be addressed. Several interesting ideas were brought up, including:
* Within government the profession is seen as a disparate grouping of organisations that don’t work in a coherent fashion
* ‘the profession’ is expanding into new areas, from social media to data protection, and these areas are often not staffed by people from a ‘traditional’ information background
* There is a perceived need to define the interface between technology and information – the plumbing and the water, perhaps!
* There is increasingly blurring between information and IT roles and skills
* Organisations have a pressing need to manage their information overload but are either ignorant of, or have misunderstandings about, the contribution information professionals could bring
* The world is changing increasingly fast – and information professionals are not changing as quickly so a disconnect is in danger of growing
* Information professionals may by nature be ‘control freaks’ – but in today’s world is flexible guidance needed more than controls or rules?
We moved on as a whole group to discuss ‘what are information practitioners’?
This produced a lively discussion. We started by thinking of job roles that could / should be included and which were outside the scope of the profession – especially in terms of information producers (writers, designers, publishers) compared to information organisers or managers. Do researchers fall within scope? How about information architects?
We moved onto consider skills – is there one core skill set that all information professionals have? Perhaps an ability to organise information, whether that is called cataloguing, classification, taxonomy, metadata, file plans or any other label.
Mark (Field) made a commitment to organise a third meeting, for as many of the participants of the first two meetings who wished to remain engaged with the process, at which we need to move from a discussion of the issues to the creation of some concrete outcomes. Suggested outputs included a précis of the initial LinkedIn discussion, an Information Manifesto and an Information Charter, and a mechanism whereby all the groups involved can draw on the collected expertise of the members to draft joint statements, for example to the media, government or employment groups.
We are also still hoping to host an open invitation meeting, advertised as widely as possible, for any interested individuals to voice their ideas – we are just in need of a venue capable of holding such a gathering – volunteers anyone?
Another review of this meeting has been posted by NetIKX on their blog
- Nicola Franklin