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Newsletter No.239


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FreePint 11th October 2007
No.239
 Contents


 About FreePint

FreePint is a global network of people who find, use, manage and share work-related information. Members receive this free twice-monthly newsletter, packed with tips, features and resources.

Joining FreePint is free at <http://www.freepint.com/> and connects information practitioners around the world with resources, events and answers to their tricky research and information questions at the FreePint Bar, our free online forum: <http://www.freepint.com/bar/>.

Please share FreePint with others by forwarding this message. The FreePint Newsletter is available online in several formats and can be read, saved and forwarded at <http://www.freepint.com/issues/>.

 Editorial

By Monique Cuvelier

Monique CuvelierIt was the end of the last millennium, and things were going well in the Cuvelier household. I had more work than I could handle, had opened up a big mortgage and was earning more than I thought possible. My husband and I weren't getting rich like some of the Silicon Valley millionaires, but then again, we weren't overly concerned with the cost of eating out a few nights a week.

And then a funny thing happened. Every publication I worked for went out of business, owing me $20,000, and my husband couldn't find a single contract. For two years.

Rainy day fundIt was the dot-com bust, and it humbled us enormously. It taught me to look sceptically about any fast turns the so-called new economy takes.

Flash to an October morning in 2007, I'm watching the morning news learning how Facebook is holding out for a $15 billion offer. This economy is still developing fast, and peaks and troughs aside, it seems here to stay.

Martin De Saulles noticed it. A course leader in information management at the University of Brighton, De Saulles has spent the last year making some significant changes to the institution's professional development offerings. He writes about his research in this issue.

And John McBurnie too. His nicely researched article on online identities talks about how librarians and other information workers can put social networking sites to work for their own marketing causes.

Jothi Nedungadi reviews Martin White's "Making Search Work", which addresses how enterprise search continues to evolve.

Online Information, our industry's annual event, is on the horizon. Free Pint Limited will be exhibiting again, providing us with opportunities to get early-warning notice of the next emerging trends. If you'll be attending the event, please take a minute to let us know at <http://www.freepint.com/events/
online-info-2007/
>, and we'll keep you posted on what's happening at our stand.

These days I put more money into my rainy day fund than I spend on eating out, but I'm still heartened to hear about how the new economy is evolving. And if Mark Zuckerberg, the 23-year-old who founded Facebook, can get $15 billion out of Microsoft, more power to him.


FreePint is a Registered Trademark of Free Pint Limited (R) 1997-2007

Down

Online Information





Online Information Exhibition

4-6 December 2007, Grand Hall Olympia, London

Discover how to find, create, manage and share information for competitive advantage at Online Information, the world's no.1 event for online content and information solutions.

Register for free entry at <http://www.online-information.co.uk>

FreePint



FUMSI Award for Most Useful Article

Nominate today -- tell us how an article has helped you at work

We put practical information at your fingertips; tell us how it's made a difference. Nominate your favourite FreePint article for the FUMSI Citation for Most Practical Article.

Details and online nomination form:
<http://www.freepint.com/events/
online-info-2007/citation/
>

Recognition and award to both nominator and author.

 My Favourite Tipples

By Judith Schilling

Cheaper phone calls, cleaner beaches and improved product safety are just some examples of how the European Union affects our daily lives without us necessarily realising it. Information professionals can pursue the following avenues to learn more about the EU - all services and publications for the general public are for free.

** Submit your top five favourite web sites. See the guidelines at <http://www.freepint.com/author/>.


Judith Schilling works toward improved accessibility of the Commission's abundance of publications for schools and libraries. She speaks English, German, Swedish and French - more or less.

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Bureau van Dijk





Bureau van Dijk Electronic Publishing (BVDEP)
specialises in private company information

We have products covering the UK, Europe, and the globe
Our products include MINT, FAME, ORBIS and AMADEUS


Register for your free trial:
020 7549 5000 uk@bvdep.com <http://www.bvdep.com>

FUMSI

Web-Based Resources In and About Europe

Get a head start with the new FUMSI report: European Research Resources <http://web.freepint.com/go/
shop/report/
>

Whether you're looking for EU government statistics, French news agencies, or German consumer market data, FreePint's latest FUMSI report will help you get results more quickly.

Includes links to hundreds of resources, many of which offer free information.

View a sample and purchase now: <http://web.freepint.com/go/shop/
report/european-research/
>

 FreePint Bar

By Monique Cuvelier

<http://www.freepint.com/bar>

Market research is backing a flood of activity on the FreePint Bar recently <http://www.freepint.com/bar>, with questions ranging from the number of people in the UK using Blackberries to the depth of the children's gardening market. A few samples are below, but many more abound at the Bar.

  • Facebook has an increasingly enormous following (and, according to Microsoft, may be worth a staggering $10 billion), but is it any good for conducting surveys? A FreePint Bar member is wondering if it's a useful way to assess English university students' thoughts on the quality of their campus buildings <http://www.freepint.com/go/b184155>. Send your insight, and then read John McBurnie's article on online identity.

  • A newly minted market researcher is looking for guidance from the FreePint community on how to dig into the children's gardening market <http://www.freepint.com/go/b183422>. Pick up a few tips from some seasoned researchers or post your own.

  • Issues with contaminated land seem to be popping up with increasing regularity, so it's little wonder there's such a rich flurry of discussion on the topic on the Bar <http://www.freepint.com/go/b187990>. Read through some of the useful resources posted.

  • A 30-year backlog of Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery is a hot commodity on the Bar <http://www.freepint.com/go/b188393>. Check in if you're interested in taking ownership of this weighty archive.

  • It often seems that everyone has a Blackberry in the UK, but just how many are wired? One researcher is having difficulty finding much information on the topic, which appears too small for larger sources to address. Have ideas <http://www.freepint.com/go/b189082>?

Sign up for the twice-weekly Bar Digest at <http://www.freepint.com/subs/>.


Monique Cuvelier is editor of the FreePint Newsletter. She has edited, launched and written for many magazines, newspapers and websites in the US and UK. Learn more about her at http://www.onopoly.com/support/team/.


The FreePint Bar is where you can get free help with your tricky research questions <http://www.freepint.com/bar>

Help with study for information-related courses is available at the FreePint Student Bar <http://www.freepint.com/student>.

Subscribe to the twice-weekly email digests at <http://www.freepint.com/subs/>.

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OI 2007

Online Seminar Programme

Online Information Exhibition
and free seminar programme
4-6 December 2007, Grand Hall, Olympia, London

Discover how to find, create, manage and share information for competitive advantage at Online Information, the world's no.1 event for online content and information solutions. Register for free entry at http://www.online-information.co.uk

ResourceShelf

ResourceShelf Resource of the Week: Kids.gov ... and a few other resources for students and teachers

<http://digbig.com/4tqjy>

Explore the latest posts in mobile search, search engine news, podcasting and more.

Latest Searcher's Guide features outstanding collections in social networking, webliographies, fast facts and more:

<http://www.resourceshelf.com/
newsletter/
>

Visit <http://www.resourceshelf.com/>

 Jinfo - Jobs in Information

<http://www.jinfo.com/>

The Jinfo service enables you to search and advertise information- related job vacancies.

The Jinfo Newsletter now features CV Makeovers, in which a job seeker's CV is critiqued and revised by specialists in the field as well as career tips for all experience levels. Read the latest edition and subscribe free at <http://www.jinfo.com/newsletter/>.

Jinfo Jobs in the FreePint Newsletter are supported through our partnership with Quantum2, an innovative skills development programme offered by Thomson Scientific. Learn more at <http://www.thomsonscientific.com/quantum2/>

Here is a selection of the latest featured entries in the Jinfo database:

  • Knowledge Administrator
    Excellent opportunity for a Knowledge Administrator or recent Knowledge/Information graduate to develop technical & KM skills.
    Recruiter: Weekes Gray Recruitment
    Country: United Kingdom
    <http://www.jinfo.com/go/j7313>

  • Financial Researcher - Kent
    Full time permanent Researcher role available within a leading firm of chartered accountants based in Sussex.
    Recruiter: Aslib, The Association for Information Management
    Country: United Kingdom
    <http://www.jinfo.com/go/j7739>

  • Records Management Assistant
    You'll need an academic background or experience in records management and archives and have attention to detail and an eye for accuracy.
    Recruiter: TFPL
    Country: United Kingdom
    <http://www.jinfo.com/go/j7790>

  • Records Advisor
    Medical body needs someone with EDRMS implementation experience to support rollout and train staff, also managing 4 records assistants.
    Recruiter: Sue Hill Recruitment and Services Limited
    Country: United Kingdom
    <http://www.jinfo.com/go/j7794>

  • Researcher - Human Resources
    Excellent training opportunity for bright, confident and methodical Researcher to learn to use online databases for friendly Consultancy.
    Recruiter: Glen Recruitment
    Country: United Kingdom
    <http://www.jinfo.com/go/j7807>

[The above jobs are paid listings]

NB: These are just a selection of information-related jobs in the Jinfo database <http://www.jinfo.com/>. Receive the latest job listings weekly with the free Jinfo Update. Free to subscribe at <http://www.jinfo.com/>


Develop Your Strengths with Quantum2 quantum2

For a wide array of hands-on training and resource materials, turn to Quantum2, an innovative skills development programme provided *free* by Thomson Scientific. The programme helps information professionals:

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Subscribe to the free Weekly update of the latest jobs, plus the monthly newsletter with career tips:

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DocuTicker

On the Ticker: Use DocuTicker for Full-Text Resources

<http://www.docuticker.com/>

Find free full-text reports put out by government agencies, NGOs, charities and other public interest organisations. Recent additions:

  • SIPRI Yearbook 2007: summary versions in 8 languages

  • Broadband Over Power Line (BPL) Report, Phase 2

Subscribe to the weekly ResourceShelf Newsletter for highlights, capture the DocuTicker RSS feed, or visit daily.

VIP

South of the Border: September's VIP Searches Latin America
<http://web.vivavip.com/go/vip/46>

A economically growing region with different information sources and norms -- VIP summarises resources for Latin America business research.

Single issue: GBP 54, or save 60% on 12 monthly issues by subscribing now: <http://www.vivavip.com/order/>

Request a sample issue of VIP: <http://www.vivavip.com/order/>

 Tips Article

Plain text | PDF | Contents

"Charting a New Course: The Future of Information Work"

By Martin De Saulles

Martin De SaullesOver the last 12 months at the University of Brighton we have been setting up some new postgraduate awards in information management to complement our existing range of library and information courses. For the last several years we, like most information professionals, have been aware that the sector is undergoing significant changes and that the drivers of change are coming from a number of fronts. In early 2006 we had a close look at the courses we were delivering in the light of these changes and decided that a new course was needed to address some of the emerging demands being placed upon library and information professionals.

In assessing the continuing professional development (CPD) needs of information professionals, we invited feedback from potential applicants via the FreePint Bar and the CILIP Gazette. Both of these generated significant feedback that was hugely valuable. The course development team that I led was very impressed with the willingness of people to contribute their views. I am sure it is the same in most universities, but we were not given a budget for market research and so relied on the goodwill of interested parties to provide us information about what professionals in the field want from a postgraduate CPD course.

Web 2.0 expertise important

One of the key themes that emerged from the feedback was an interest in how some of the new Web 2.0 or Enterprise 2.0 services could be used within the context of information management. Anybody who reads the library and information trade press, attends conferences and exhibitions, or subscribes to specialist blogs knows that there is something going on out there beyond the usual hype that accompanies new technologies.

I am not the first person to say this, but it reminds me of 1995 when people were starting to become aware of this new 'Internet thing' and could see the potential for transforming communication and information distribution. Those of us with spam-filled and overflowing inboxes may wonder how much progress has been made on the communication side of things, but the Web has certainly transformed the way most of us consume and share information.

Some of the feedback I received expressed a desire to better understand how to make sense of some of the new technologies and services such as RSS, wikis, blogs and how they might better use them in their work. I hope that several of the modules we have created for our new MSc in Information Management will tackle these technology- related issues. Our aim is to provide a practical course that shows students how to use new information management technologies effectively but also to understand them within the context of broader and more long-term developments in library and information management.

Emphasis on training and distance learning

Respondents also expressed an enthusiasm for a course that would help them with the job of end-user training. This seems to be an increasingly important role for information professionals, as patrons of library and information services are using many information services themselves but often do not have the expertise to get the most from them. Being able to draw on the expertise of the University of Brighton's Centre of Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) has been a great help to us in thinking about how to structure a module that would 'train the trainers'.

A third theme coming out of the responses I received was enthusiasm for distance learning as a delivery method. This reflects the needs for information professionals to balance their work, personal and CPD needs. In the end, we have decided to stick with our blended approach to course delivery, where students undertake a significant portion of the work at home and attend the university in short, intensive blocks lasting three to five consecutive days. We have found this works well because it allows students to get to know each other and the teaching staff, and is less intrusive on their work lives. Next year we will be exploring the use of technology to deliver one or two modules on a completely remote basis.

I believe the interest in distance learning is part of a broader trend in education and professional development amongst library and information professionals. This stems from rapid technological changes requiring new skills to both use these technologies and understand their role within information-intensive organisations. Organisations themselves are facing pressures to adapt to globalisation, increasing competition and raised expectations from their user base. These factors place dual pressures on information workers to adapt to technological and organisational change. Spending time out of the office or library to attend college becomes increasingly difficult, so options for home study are particularly attractive.

Ironically, some of the technologies that are forcing information professionals to update their skills are also those that make distance learning more practical. Cheap personal computers, pervasive and fast broadband, and collaborative Web tools such as blogs, wikis, instant messaging and video conferencing allow a degree of interaction between students and tutors that would not have been possible even five years ago.

Human interaction still has its advantages

However, there is a danger for educators in becoming carried away with technology and forget that teaching and learning is more than sitting in front of a computer. In my experience, some of the most useful sessions with students have been where a classroom discussion has spontaneously developed around a lecture topic. While this is not impossible to replicate using technology, there is something special about all the participants physically being in a room together.

The challenge posed by all these changes for established educational establishments, including my own, are enormous. The move to mass higher education in the UK, the increasing demands from employers for students to be taught skills relevant to the workplace and the emphasis by policy makers on lifelong learning for all citizens may not always be best served by the traditional approach of lectures and tutorials taking place within university buildings.

The innovative approach to training librarians in how to use new technologies by Meredith Farkas and her associates in the US has shown the potential for people outside the educational system to teach others. Their '5 Weeks to a Social Library' programme which ran earlier this year used a range of Web tools to help librarians better understand how new social media can help with the delivery of library and information services. Although the online programme was limited to 40 participants, the teaching materials are all still freely available on their website <http://www.sociallibraries.com/course/>.

Making such materials freely available for others to use and redistribute on a non-commercial basis runs counter to the philosophy of many educational establishments, where educational materials are kept locked behind firewalls and offered only to fee-paying students. A notable exception to this is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US which has put lecture notes, presentations and supporting videos for over 1,700 courses on their website for free public access. That one of the world's leading universities feels confident enough to make such information freely available shows that education is more than just reading and listening. It is the interaction with tutors and fellow students on top of the reading, listening and thinking that facilitates true learning.

Looking ahead

Coming back to the University of Brighton and our new postgraduate information management courses, I hope that we have developed some courses which combine the best elements of distance learning with classroom interaction and discussion. Following our consultation process and internal discussions we created two new MSc awards: MSc Information Management and MSc Information Management (Health), which both started at the end of September 2007.

Both these courses are aimed at librarians and information professionals with at least several years' professional experience in this area. As I write this, our new students are now enrolled and I look forward to teaching them over the coming months. We have been able to offer some funding towards tuition fees for new students and hope to be able to do this again for entry to these courses in September 2008. Overall, the informal consultation process worked well and has, I hope, resulted in courses that meet the needs of today's library and information professionals. A key task for my colleagues and I will be to continue this dialogue and make sure the courses remain relevant. I welcome any feedback or questions about our courses and my contact details are in my biography.


Martin De Saulles, Course Leader, MSc Information Management and MSc Information Management (Health)

Dr Martin De Saulles is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Brighton where he teaches and performs research in the areas of knowledge management, information law and information policy. Prior to joining the University in 2003, Martin worked in a number of information-related roles including Information Manager at Mercer Management Consulting and Senior Analyst at Analysys Consulting. Email him at <mrd@brighton.ac.uk>.


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FreePint

"Thanks for all that I have learnt from FreePint over the years. It is the one completely indispensable email newsletter I get." -- UK

Tell your story: Provide your FreePint testimonial here:

<http://www.freepint.com/
testimonial.htm
>





Jinfo

Join the Job Seekers

Information-related jobs at Jinfo can put you in a new position by summer. 30,000 job views last month -- search the database at:

<http://web.jinfo.com/jobs/search/>

Subscribe to the free Weekly update of the latest jobs, plus the monthly newsletter with career tips:

<http://www.jinfo.com/subs/>

 Review

Plain text | PDF | Contents

"Making Search Work"

Written by Martin White
Reviewed by Jothi Nedungadi

"Making Search Work" by Martin White is a well thought-out, well- researched read for any IT professional looking to handle enterprise searches more effectively.

Making Search WorkThe jargon, terms and language used are appropriate for IT professionals. The author has done a superb job of conveying the information in an understandable fashion and putting things in perspective for non-IT persons among us as well.

Having read the book, the title seemed a little misleading. It would have been more appropriate if it had been titled "Making Intranet Searches Work" or "Making Enterprise Searches Work". This is not to undermine the content of the book in any way. It has all the requisites for organisations to understand the magnitude of what the author is suggesting.

It requires a visionary organisation to be able to understand the depth and breadth of what it takes to make searches within organisations more effective. It also requires a strategic organisation to be able to plan, manage, orchestrate and implement a robust search engine to meet the growing needs of an organisation. This book is informative, and as I was reading it I was left wondering if any organisation would take advantage of the foresight that the author has so shared so diligently.

IT functions within an organisation these days seem to be focused on meeting the immediate, day-to-day operational requirements of the organisation, while the chief executives are looking to outsource parts of - if not the whole - IT function as a cost-cutting measure. As well-researched as this book is, the reality is that IT departments invariably do not have the time, the budget or the inclination to take on what is suggested in this book. And if they do venture to take on the challenge, it is a long-term proposition that many organisations are unwilling to accept, as they have more pressing problems to handle.

So while the content of this book is what is needed to effectively index, structure and manage enterprise-wide information, the fact still remains that most organisations are probably not in a position to undertake a project of this magnitude. They end up with disorganised, mismanaged and redundant information or document searches. It seems idealistic and perhaps even a wasted effort to lay out the information as the author has, if IT professionals are not able to utilise the structure, the expertise and the cautionary tone that go along with it.

This is however an impressive compilation of information and a commendable effort by the author to address intranet search. His perspectives on making searches work are invaluable. I would recommend this book to those who are considering implementing an enterprise/intranet search engine. There is definitely more to it than meets the eye!


Jothi Nedungadi has a background in training, OD and performance improvement in the healthcare industry. She has been involved in Learning Management System implementations, 360 implementations, surveys and evaluations, for corporate-wide initiatives while managing technical training for Fortune 500 companies in the pharmaceutical and medical insurance industry. Jothi was conferred the Myra T. Grenier Award for committed interest in contributing to the information profession by AIIP (Association of Independent Information Professionals) in 2007. She is dedicated to helping clients with strategic information needs. She provides information research services to her clients as CEO and Principal of Competitive InfoSearch, LLC <http://www.competitiveinfosearch.com>.


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Propose an information-related book or resource for review today. Send details to Monique Cuvelier, editor of FreePint <editor@freepint.com>.

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 Feature Article

Plain text | PDF | Contents

"Your Online Identity: Key to Marketing and Being Found"

By John McBurnie

We all have different identities that change depending on where we are and who we are with. There is fluidity to our identity in different contexts; identity is a complex construct. Certain people and situations bring out different aspects of our identities. As a result, different people will perceive us differently as they have experienced the constructs of our identity in different situations.

Now many have started to build an online identity, again changing the idea of identity. People have different online identities; flickr <http://www.flickr.com/> identities, Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/> identities, FreePint Bar <http://www.freepint.com/bar/> identities and even identities with secret pseudonyms. As social networking tools become more prevalent, the concept of online identity becomes more important. This article looks at libraries building an online identity using MySpace <http://www.myspace.com/> and information professionals using social networking tools to build an online identity.

Making MySpace work for libraries

The influence of (mostly free) social networking tools is changing the way libraries interact with their users. This is especially true for institutions such as university libraries, whose core users are part of the demographic most likely to use tools such as MySpace. In August 2006 The Financial Times called the UK's 16-24s the 'networked generation'. This was in response to an Ofcom report that concluded young people were moving away from 'traditional media' such as newspapers, television and radio to online communities. According to the survey, more than 70% of 16-24 year olds visited social networking sites and 54% used them at least weekly.

Traditionally, libraries have communicated using one-way messages. The message is created by the library and directed at the user. With MySpace, the messages are delivered using a peer-to-peer pyramid model. For example, the Brooklyn College Library (BCL) MySpace page <http://www.myspace.com/brooklyncollegelibrary> delivers messages and targets its audience organically. At the time of writing BCL has 3,257 MySpace 'friends'. These are people who wish to be associated and networked with the BCL. The peer to peer pyramid model means that 'friends' of 'friends' will visit BCL's MySpace page.

By simply ensuring that the content on their page is current and useful, MySpace's networking model ensures that BCL's message is distributed to a wide audience, as their MySpace popularity increases by virtue of peers reviewing one another's friends and interests. Information from peers is becoming more trusted and influential. The 2007 Edelman Annual Trust Barometer study found that in the US trust in a 'person like me' was 68%, compared to 20% in 2003. This is why organisations like BCL are using MySpace - it is a powerful tool, especially amongst young people.

If librarians use tools such as MySpace, they cannot be 'tourists'. It is not enough for libraries to use the basic functionality of social networking tools to project a credible online identity, by dressing up tired messages with pictures and MP3s. A library's use of any social networking tool must be purposeful. A MySpace page can be used as a portal to push users towards resources such as online libraries or catalogues.

Other MySpace profiles can be good sources or gatekeepers of information. For example, a library that is particularly concerned with Californian history can link to the Californian Historical Society profile. Libraries can help users by making more information rich profiles their 'top friends' and hence more prominent.

The functionality of MySpace allows libraries to deliver targeted messages. The profiles of friends allow libraries to find out more about users than they might in traditional interactions. This gives libraries the ability to deliver more personalised, informal messages. In a university setting, for instance, if a biology student becomes a friend, a welcome note can be sent recommending that the student contact the science librarian with any subject-specific questions or giving instructions on how to access a subject-related database. Announcements can be sent out to groups of friends according to a particular demographic or interest. For example, a pubic library hosting a Teen Reading Week can send out a bulletin to all teenage friends.

A MySpace page must be kept current. Social networking tools allow an online identity to grow, but only if there is content that people feel is worth sharing with their peers. As well as timeliness of content, libraries should treat personal messages via MySpace as they would emails. According to an AP-AOL Instant Messaging Trends Survey published in early 2006, nearly three in four (72%) teens who use instant messaging (IM) say they send more IMs than emails, as do one in four (26%) adults. If libraries are to build relationships with their users, they will have to embrace instant messaging as it becomes more popular.

Building an online identity using social networking tools

As individuals, information professionals can build up an online identity to present themselves and their profession. On his blog <http://www.benhammersley.com/>, Ben Hammersley (currently a BBC journalist, who amongst other things, coined the term 'podcasting') presents his online identity via links to Wikipedia <http://www.wikipedia.org>, Facebook, Twitter <http://twitter.com>, YouTube <http://www.youtube.com>, del.icio.us <http://del.icio.us> and Flickr, rather than having a biography or About Me section. Hammersley allows us to explore his online identity, find out what he has done in the past, what he is currently doing and his plans for the future. We can even delve further into his online identity to find out a little about his personality. Ultimately, we can decide if he is a person that interests us or not.

Via blogs and pages such as Facebook, information professionals can declare who they are, and where they can be found. Services and value are demonstrated via these facets of online identity. Online identities should allow people to interact with one another and explore shared interests. Most obviously, this is accomplished through things like becoming friends on sites like Bebo <http://www.bebo.com> or through social bookmarking. Social bookmarking sites such as del.icio.us and Furl <http://www.furl.com> provide a powerful tool for people to find out about one another's interests by looking at their bookmarks. This can be taken a step further by looking at profiles of users who share the same bookmarks. As well as providing peer reviewed content, social bookmarking sites allow online identities to be built. On top of this, content created can be easily shared; therefore it is important that your websites and blog posts can be easily bookmarked.

Information professionals have the ability to build specific, personalised networks using tools such as Ning <http://www.ning.com> or me.com's Snapp network <http://www.me.com>.

Ning allows anyone to create their own functional and customised social networks quickly and easily. Social networks created on Ning are personal and tailored to specific interests. At the time of writing, there are over 76,000 Ning networks, nearly 200 of which turn up in a search on the word 'Librarian'.

Ning differs from tools such as Facebook and MySpace in that it is less proprietary and more specialised. As social networking becomes more popular and people begin to build a more robust online identity, they will become more interested in creating their own worlds, their own social networks, around different needs and niches. As such, pliable applications such as Ning will become more powerful. Don't know where to find statistics on a certain topic? Join a Ning group and discuss this and other issues with people who have a definitive interest. The Ning group doesn't exist? Build one and wait for like- minded individuals to join (no matter how small the niche). Gaps in knowledge can be bridged by looking outside of comfort zones, as Ning allows networking amongst practitioners of many disciplines.

Finding and being found

The importance of building a viable online identity by those who want to be found is reflected in the number of people search engines such as Peek You <http://www.peekyou.com> and wink <http://www.wink.com>. As well as people search, more profile aggregators such as claimID <http://www.claimid.com>, Lijit <http://www.lijit.com> and Ziki <http://www.ziki.com> are being created. Profile aggregators allow various profiles to be accessed in one place. Tools such as Ziki allow a more complete online identity to be built by enabling users to aggregate identities, post contact information, interests, tags and photos. Other features include a blogging facility and related Zikis, a network of users who share similar interests; these networks are built up around the tags attached to profiles.

Building and managing a consistent online identity will help to project an image of an active, well-informed, progressive individual or organisation. As well as building a reputation to promote themselves, libraries and information professionals can build an online identity to push and pull rich information. Online identities should be accessible and frank, but most of all, interesting.


John is an independent research and information consultant, with previous experience in both corporate and academic environments. John helps his clients by offering services such as business research and analysis, competitive intelligence and advice on how to make information and information tools work for them. John is available to discuss potential projects and can be contacted at <john@johnmcburnie.com> or via Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=599323134>.


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 Events

It is free to search and advertise information-related gatherings in FreePint Events <http://www.freepint.com/events/>.

Premium listings

These events are hosted by our partner organisations and/or advertisers:

  • "Defining the Value of Information: Beyond ROI" 18 October

    Information Professionals are constantly being challenged to produce "ROI" statements on their expenditures for information. Upper management may ask, "Why should we spend all this money for information services, when everything we need is available on the internet for free?" This Quantum2 session goes beyond traditional "soft" metrics (e.g. time saved) to take a hard look at the business value information expenditures bring to those who pay for them.
    Organised by Thomson Scientific
    <http://www.freepint.com/go/e919>

  • "Defining the Value of Information: Beyond ROI" 18 October

    Information Professionals are constantly being challenged to produce "ROI" statements on their expenditures for information. Upper management may ask, "Why should we spend all this money for information services, when everything we need is available on the internet for free?" This Quantum2 session goes beyond traditional "soft" metrics (e.g. time saved) to take a hard look at the business value information expenditures bring to those who pay for them.
    Organised by Thomson Scientific
    <http://www.freepint.com/go/e920>

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<http://www.freepint.com/events/>


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 Gold

A look back at what FreePint covered at this time in previous years:

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 Forthcoming

FREEPINT FORTHCOMING ARTICLES
[Provisional]

  • Ethical Acquisitions
  • Journal Lifecycle
  • Taking Enterprise from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0
  • RSS on the Go
  • The Leaving Employee
  • Corporate IT convergence

If you have a suggestion for an article topic, or would like to write for FreePint, then please contact FreePint's Editor Monique Cuvelier, <monique.cuvelier@freepint.com> or read the notes for authors at <http://www.onopoly.com/author/>

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 Contact Information

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Telephone:

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Directions and maps: <http://www.freepint.com/contact.htm>

Contributors to this issue:

Judith Schilling, Martin De Saulles, Jothi Nedungadi, John McBurnie, Monique Cuvelier (Editor, FreePint), Robin Neidorf (General Manager, FreePint), Shirl Kennedy (Senior Editor, ResourceShelf and DocuTicker), Pam Foster (Editor, VIP), William Hann (Managing Editor, FreePint), Penny Hann (Production Editor, FreePint), Douglas Brown (Proofreader).

Advertisers/Sponsors:

Bureau van Dijk Electronic Publishing, VNU Exhibitions Europe, Thomson Scientific, Weekes Gray Recruitment, Sue Hill Recruitment and Services Limited, Glen Recruitment, TFPL, Aslib, The Association for Information Management, VIP, ResourceShelf, Researcha, DocuTicker, Jinfo.


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Please note: FreePint (ISSN 1460-7239) is a registered trademark of, and published by, Free Pint Limited. The publishers will NEVER make the subscriber list available to any other company or organisation.

The opinions, advice, products and services offered herein are the sole responsibility of the contributors. Whilst all reasonable care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the publication, the publishers cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions.

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