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Tuesday, 11th December 2012 Please login top-right to be able to star items

By Scott Brown


The framing question of this Information Practice Newsletter editorial seems to be: what are we doing? The tone of that question seems fraught with existential angst, but this issue provides some practical guidance.


The framing question of this Information Practice Newsletter editorial seems to be: what are we doing? The tone of that question seems fraught with existential angst, but let’s take a practical look.

The FreePint Report: Adoption in the Organisation pulls together a broad range of perspectives on what information professionals are doing across the organisation. Guest editor Melanie Browne observes several aspects - social, mobile, collaboration, integration -trending through the featured articles.

What practices can we draw and adopt from business? Aileen Marshall re-frames looking at our services in the organisation from a business perspective, including knowing your library’s strengths, resources, culture and values, setting and adjusting goals and developing your brand. Intuitively I think a lot of us realise the importance of these factors. Yet examining what we do through this lens helps us to make better decisions to keep ourselves relevant.

Inwardly, what are we doing to help ourselves with information management? James Mullan takes on two perspectives here. First is the value of taking time to ‘get off the treadmill’ of getting things done – if even just for a moment – to reflect on where we have been and where we are going. Whilst this approach seems counterintuitive at first – shouldn’t we all just be working harder, faster and more efficiently? – James suggests that perhaps the cure to feeling overwhelmed and under pressure is to pause and reflect.

Second, James addresses my own personal millstone, email. Literally hundreds of emails hit my inbox over the course of a day, which certainly makes me feel wanted – until I realise I need to respond to some proportion of them. James points out that struggling with email overload is actually more complex than just getting through email – it’s based on feelings of both reward and reciprocity. These don’t have to go away, James suggests – there may simply be better solutions – whether you go in for self-punishment or not.

From these pieces and more, I think you’ll find some answers to the question “what are we doing?” in this edition of the Information Practice newsletter.

As always, we welcome your comments. Go ahead and email me – it’ll make me feel needed.


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Scott Brown is the owner of Social Information Group (, 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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