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As an information professional, do you find you are constantly trying to prove your worth to your organisation? Many of us have learned to collect and aggregate statistics about our products and services, but what is the quality of service and value add we offer to our customers and our organisations?  As librarians we need to be able to effectively demonstrate the impact we have on our clients.  Not just how busy we are but where and how we make a difference.

Come along on the 4th of February 2011 when I will be conducting a 1 day course on How to evaluate your library and information service using narrative techniques.  The course will be run in Sydney after the Information Online Conference which is being held at the Sydney Conference & Exhibition Centre.

I have been conducting this course in the USA at the Special Libraries Association Conference for the last 2 years with fantastic feedback.  If you are interested you can download an Evaluating information services using narrative techniques flyer and a Registration form.

I have also co-authored a paper on this technique which was published in in Information Outlook in February 2010.  There is a version of the paper freely available (without diagrams) here.

I would love to see you there


I have spent the past week in New Orleans at the annual Special Libraries Association (SLA) conference. This year, although the number were down a little, the program was fantastic. This is especially true of the Knowledge Management (KM) Division and the International Caucus sessions which I try very hard not to miss.

The KM Division was lucky to engage Patrick Lambe of Straits Knowledge as our keynote speaker. Patrick’s presentation on Knowledge Continuity and Opportunities was a great hit with the audience. Unfortunately I was chairing the International Caucus session and had to miss this one. However, the International Caucus session speakers were Dr Geoff Walton from the UK and Dr Harish Chandra from India – both of whom presented excellent papers on the theme Information Services in Transition : a global debate.

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For a long time now I have been advocating the role of the ‘knowledge broker’. When I worked at Land & Water Australia (LWA) they had a whole team of what they called ‘knowledge brokers’ but I am still uncomfortable with the role these team members took on as it did not really reflect my understanding of a knowledge broker.

The LWA definition states “Knowledge Brokering – Focuses on connecting people interested in an issue, it helps build relationships and networks for sharing existing research and ideas for stimulating new work. Knowledge brokers provide links between different entities or individuals that otherwise would not have any relationship. It is a dynamic activity and is not simply focused on moving information from a source to a recipient.” It is the last sentence that hits home. As a ‘recovering librarian’ all too often we see the role of the librarian as distributing information to a recipient. It is such a passive role and requires the information seeker to ask for information and then have it delivered. Librarians really need to think outside this role and into a proactive role – and not just running alerting services to their clientele.  The information professional needs to get outside the walls of their centre and go out and be part of their organisation and build trusted and strong relationships with their cleints.  As we hear so often it is all about building trusted relationships (my old team used to call it ‘not just a one night stand’).

I am very much of the view that all staff in organisations have a brokering role to play.  The power in the brokering position becomes obvious when you undertake a Social Network Analysis in an organisation and realise how important relationships are to successful outcomes.

I have developed a model around this and this is the first time I am actually making it public. A select few have seen this but I guess I have been refining it over time (even though it is relatively simple)

The whole idea is that each broker is empowered to create a new broker and that no one actually owns the information or knowledge that is being shared.  The idea is to encourage collaboration and sharing.

As my first post this makes me a bit nervous.  If you want to hear more about my opinions on the role of librarians as knowledge brokers listen to the podcast interview I did with InMagic about 12 months ago.

Would love some comments on this…..

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