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By Monique Cuvelier
It 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.
It 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
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
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
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>
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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
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.
Back to top ^
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 firstname.lastname@example.org <http://www.bvdep.com>
Web-Based Resources In and About Europe
Get a head start with the new FUMSI report: European Research
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
View a sample and purchase now:
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.
Sign up for the twice-weekly Bar Digest at
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/>.
Online Seminar Programme
Online Information Exhibitionand 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 Resource of the Week: Kids.gov ... and a few
other resources for students and teachers
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/>
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:
[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
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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Free monthly newsletter and further information at:
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plus the monthly newsletter with career tips:
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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
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Plain text | PDF | Contents
"Charting a New Course: The Future of Information Work"
By Martin De Saulles
Over 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
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
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
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.
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 <email@example.com>.
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"Making Search Work"
Written by Martin WhiteReviewed 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.
The 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
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
"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
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
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
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
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
<email@example.com> or via Facebook
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Contributors to this issue:
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and Services Limited, Glen Recruitment, TFPL, Aslib, The Association
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Latest: No.550 10th September
Document the value chain, and transform the way you think about, manage and report on your product portfolio and your information service contributions to your organisation goals.
Focus on Value Chain
Director of Research Robin Neidorf describes the benefits of a Consulting Pilot on Value Chain, to tailor this process to your needs and environment:
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Consulting Pilot on Value Chain