Thursday, 30 April 2009


CILIP held a Web 2.0 Council Open session yesterday at Ridgmount Street to explore how CILIP could use social computing to engage with its members and the wider professional community. An interesting aspect was that the meeting also took place in Web 2.0 with several people blogging and twittering about the meeting. To catch up with what happened yesterday I suggest you start with K Widdows blog which gives an overview and critique, then see the Library & Information Update live blog and finally the collected Twitter feed. (This last demonstrates the problems of using Twitter as a source of information for this sort of thing). There is also information on the CILIP website and in CILIP communities.

I was busy yesterday so could not follow the debate live. What I want to see is not the breathless, instant soundbites of live updates but the more considered responses that will soon appear in blogs and printed articles. CILIP does appear to have been slow to develop a coherent approach to some of the emerging technologies but it has not done too badly. This debate shows that CILIP does want to address the issue and by opening up the event with Web 2.0 it has tested a model that may well be effective in the future.

What concerns me (and many of the people who contributed to the debate) is that there is a group of the Web 2 savvy professionals who are part of this debate but there is a larger group of web-sceptics who are excluded. As Martin Lewis said at yesterday's SINTO Executive meeting, many people are simply missing out on important debates and issues. There are many reasons:
  • Barriers to using Web 2.0 in the workplace
  • Lack of time at work to spend on professional development by reading professional blogs etc
  • Reluctance by managers to encourage/allow staff spend time at work on professional development
  • Barriers to using Web 2.0 at home (not least, teenagers who monopolise the PC!)
  • Lack of time at home to spend on professional development (some librarians have a life!)
  • Lack of awareness that this is happening at all
  • Lack of commitment to CPD and professional activities

The important issue here is not whether CILIP, or LIS workers, get involved with Web 2.0 (much less whether we Twitter or blog or have a Facebook page), but how we get engaged with continuing professional development and are empowered to use the tools that are available to help us do this. You don't have to use Twitter and blog feeds to keep yourself up-to-date and involved but they are a useful tool which all LIS staff should have access to and be comfortable using.


Anonymous said...

I suppose it is conceivable that not all LIS professionals need to get involved in Web 2.0, but a professional association - representing a group of people whose core business is information - must not merely be involved in looking at new information tools, they need to be ahead of the game.
Paradoxically, by using web 2.0 tools to keep in touch with the LIS community, CILIP could help to facilite the professional development for which LIS folk might otherwise "not have enough time".

Debby Raven (CILIPGazette) said...

Carl, I like your comment about wanting to read 'considered responses'. When I asked for comments from participants (ie 'considered responses') to publish in Gazette (yesterday, during the debate, via Twitter) and said I'd prefer them emailed to me, I got a reply from one tweeter: 'you're not getting it, are you?'!
I got the idea she puts form before substance; you've got to use the appropriate tool for the purpose, and emailing me a piece of 'considered' comment works best.

Tom said...

I think Anonymous hit the nail on the head in the first paragraph. Although there was some euphoria about the whole thing yesterday, I think it is sad that it took this upheaval this late in the day to address the issue. The simplest form of web2.0, for example- blogs with comments- took years to appear in any CILIP space and then had to be forced to be open by this whole debate.

I am still interested to see what comes out of this session. A mere set of resolutions to get involved with technologies A, B, and C will be something but disappointing; a determination to engage in web2.0 will be something better, if it is backed up by action and real engagement; what I think is needed though is more of a cultural change so that CILIP is on the ball and ahead of the game with whatever form information dissemination and discovery comes in. I'm not sure how ready the library profession in general is for that, especially now that we are dependent so much on the other information professionals- computer scientists- who can come up with these new technologies as well as use them.

Phil said...

I agree entirely. One of the points that I made was that while we're having the debate the loudest voice should be remembered, because it's the silent voice of librarians who are not engaged. And they're not engaged for the reasons that you mention.

One of the things that I hope will come out of the session is that CILIP use of Web 2.0 technologies can empower librarians who are blocked from them, and can support them.