Author: Vivienne Winterman, Senior Consultant
Physical or virtual?
Tangible or indefinable?
Real or imaginary?
The list is endless. These are the worlds the information professional (IP) has to deal with. Skill requirements are changing. Paradoxically the world is getting bigger yet smaller at the same time in information terms. As the rate of information creation continues to increase at an exponential rate, its retrieval is still ever challenging. Digitisation is in to bring the world of archives into our homes and businesses.
When will it stop?
How do you contain it?
Is it necessary?
Does it benefit us?
To answer the questions. Never. You can’t. Yes/no (glass half full/empty syndrome). It should do.
To take the last question first. It should benefit us. We should learn from good practice, stories and events that ought not to be repeated. But do we?
Is it necessary? Absolutely. All information should be transparent and there if you need it. It does of course need to be well managed, structured and retrievable.
How do you contain it? Well the cloud concept is doing a good job, but I dread to think what will happen when there is a cloud burst! I’ll leave that to your imagination.
Will it stop? No way. There is so much to learn. With the world population rising to 7 billion more and more information will be created just to manage daily living requirements.
What an opportunity for the IP. TFPL’s recent report ‘Connecting information with innovation’ (TFPL’s 2011 survey of skills and roles) http://www.tfpl.com/resources/index.cfm shows that investment in knowledge and information management (KIM) is seen as an essential component contributing to business success. KIM skills are being embedded in the workforce to bring about a new way of working, so that KIM is ‘not another initiative’ but the ‘way we do things around here’. IPs rapidly need to increase their range of skills. They need to be IT proficient, provide e-learning as a means of communicating with the virtual, global, workforce, be metadata and taxonomy advisors, maintain information governance, be concerned about managing risk, aligned to the business supporting the goals and objectives, and many more as detailed in the report. Over 350 individuals have downloaded the report, available in English, French and German. Have you?