Monday, 20 June 2011

Event - BIALL 2011 Conference

Sage Centre, Newcastle Gateshead
Back in the office today after a very enjoyable three days spent at the BIALL Conference.  So many great sessions, two good evening social events and lots of brilliant people to catch up with!
The most memorable session for me has to be Nick Davies who gave us an excellent presentation on good presentations to engage your trainees.  He spoke on the main stage for an hour with no notes, which was impressive in itself!  Most memorable tips?  Don’t use dry facts and figures, liven it up and make it engaging for people with imagery, stories and metaphor.    For example instead of telling people that “painting the Eiffel Tower takes 60 tonnes of paint, costing £1.8m”   instead bring a pot of paint to the session and get everyone to pick it up – then tell them how many pots it will take and “...too many coats and it will fall over”.
Another great session was run by Mats Bergman, Information Architecture Manager at Clifford Chance on the taxonomy management systems they have.  Mats described how, over eight years, they have moved from “chaos” with multiple lists of terms, to a controlled vocabulary and the majority of repositories of content using their “gold standard”, centrally controlled, taxonomy.  Challenges are now being posed, however, by the firm’s introduction of Sharepoint as a platform in preparation for moving towards cloud computing services – this means they have to consider social tagging and a very different model for creating and managing a taxonomy.
Fiona Fogden gave an interesting description of how she has worked at Baker Tilly to consolidate and streamline their current awareness services.  With a small information team, the demand for more complex and tailored alerts was straining their resources, and the users themselves were suffering from information overload with 6 or 7 different alerts from different sources arriving in their inboxes.  Over the period of a year they moved to a new software supplier (Linux) and new content provider (Thomson Reuters Newsdesk), which allowed them to increase their regular tailored alerts from 35 to 180.
Several people I spoke to afterwards felt that the session by Michael Maher and Kate Stanfield at Integreon, which had been hotly anticipated, still left them with lots of questions about how outsourcing a law library service actually worked in practice.  What about hiring qualified librarians, but those who had never worked in a commercial firm?  What about graduate traineeships and sponsoring people to do their masters qualification?  What about licensing where fee-earners or remaining know how or information staff still want access to sources, as well as Integreon staff – does the firm have to pay twice?
Other really interesting sessions I managed to get to were by Sue Dowey on Customer Journey Mapping, James Mullen on using LinkedIn for more than just connections, Suzanne Wheatley on maximising your personal impact, Sweet & Maxwell on how to use scenarios to make training meaningful for legal trainees, and Penny Bailey on using enquiry workflow management systems.
- Nicola Franklin

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