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By Scott Brown


Abstract:

I confess - when I was growing up, the only thing I asked for from any librarian was a good book recommendation. In grade school, I needed information on Alaska - and the librarian gave me a book on Alaska. In college, I needed some reading and criticism on Robert Burns - and the librarian pointed me to books by and about Robert Burns. It simply did not occur to me to ask the librarian for assistance beyond a book.


Item:

I confess – when I was growing up, the only thing I asked for from any librarian was a good book recommendation. In grade school, I needed information on Alaska – and the librarian gave me a book on Alaska. In college, I needed some reading and criticism on Robert Burns – and the librarian pointed me to books by and about Robert Burns. It simply did not occur to me to ask the librarian for assistance beyond a book.

Eventually, I landed an information and research role in an organisation, and I realised how much more a librarian and information professional could provide – research, analysis and training, among other things. I started to realise how an information professional’s perspective and expertise could be applied to a variety of settings.

As we all know, the digital revolution has drastically impacted the information profession, and the evolution of our roles is continuing to accelerate. Penny Crossland, launching off Martin de Saulles and his book 'Information 2.0: New models of information production, distribution and consumption’, reviews many of the trends facing us as information professionals and the expanding world of information. We are not only using and sharing information – we are also creating information and working with a universe of content creators. Our roles are evolving from, as Penny states, ‘information gatekeepers to information guides’.

To me, this is where our evolving expertise with information comes in – in being able to understand, evaluate and facilitate the best use of the expanding set of information sources available. Though we may not realise it, this is an extremely valuable and broadly applicable skill set, especially in a world of information overload. We are far beyond simply pointing our users to a good book - though that may still be a part of what we do.

Speaking of evaluation, since the last newsletter, FreePint has published reviews of Linex, Bureau van Dijk (BvD) Mint and InfoDesk InfoMonitor service. Linex integrates multiple streams of information from a range of sources; Mint provides a powerful database of company information and a strong company search interface; and InfoMonitor – powered by technology and information professionals – is a ‘turnkey’ service for custom competitive intelligence newsletters for the organisation. Each product is well worth checking out.

Information is everywhere – and information professionals are playing a key and evolving role in understanding that information.

As always, I welcome your input!


 

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Scott Brown is the owner of Social Information Group (http://www.socialinformationgroup.com), an independent information practice that focuses on the effective use of social networking tools for sharing and finding information. His forthcoming book, "Social Information: Gaining Competitive and Business Information Using Social Media Tools" will be published in late 2012. He has worked with libraries, Fortune 500 companies, startups, government organisations and individuals to help them understand and effectively use these tools for their clients, and to drive increased visibility and return on information resources. He has over 20 years of experience in library and information organisations, in public, academic and corporate settings. Scott is a regular speaker nationally on many areas of information work. He is also a professional coach.

You can follow him on Twitter at @socialinfo.

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FreePint Topics
Sources: Staying informed and aware
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Technology: Improving information work with technology
Technology
Value: Maximising value for information work and investment
Value
 
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