ILI 2014 SLA Member Discount

… bringing the Special Libraries Association (SLA) to information professionals across Europe

Reminder: Board of Directors & Bylaw change voting – deadline 24th of September.

A reminder that with a week to go (deadline: 24th of September) on the SLA 2015 Board of Director voting, we are also voting on two important Bylaws changes:

• To recognize Joint Cabinet as an official body of the Association
• Allow caucuses to be formed based upon geography

Links to more information about the Bylaws changes can be found at – General election information and links – Notice to the Members - Explanation from Cabinet Officers – Information Session: Unit Restructuring webinar and slides

Don’t forget to check your junkmail if you have not received your voting ballot email.

Event review by Katharine Schopflin: The Evolving Value of Information Management

Our thanks to Katharine Schopflin for kindly reviewing an SLA event exploring a study on the evolving value of information management. Katharine is a knowledge and information manager and can be found on Twitter as @Schopflin and on LinkedIn. Photos from the evening can be found on SLA Europe’s Flickr account.

‘The evolving value of information management’ was a research study commissioned by SLA and the Financial Times to gain a picture of the information needs of the modern workplace and how far we as information professionals are meeting them. Last night’s panel discussion was based around the ‘12 tasks for information professionals’ that emerged from the research. The panelists, moderated by SLA President Kate Arnold, Stephen Phillips, Sarah Fahy and Janice LaChance, offered their take on the suggested actions.

The overall conclusions of the report were that while CEOs are increasingly recognizing the value of information, they are not necessarily looking to information professionals as their source for it. This suggests that we should make sure our activities are aligned with the needs of our employers – the ‘efficacy’ identified by the FT’s parent company themselves as essential to remain customer-focused. Many of the observations made by the speakers – and in the report – called for us to ensure we understand our organizations and the motivation of the people using your service.

Janice La Chance called for us to be more commercially minded as service providers, to act as though our information service is a business and our users are our customers. We should give them a reason to come back to us with return business. We also need to make sure those at the top – influencers and decision-makers as well as the Chief Executive – understand what we do and why it matters. Lets make sure we have our elevator speeches ready.

PanelSarah Fahy later brought up the importance of the feedback loop in aligning our services. It’s rare that information services actually ask their users what they did with the information that was provided for them and how useful it was. We may receive some surprises if we ask them, but such questions can help us focus our services and the level at which we pitch our work. There is no point in providing, for example, research briefs which users find too dense to read.

It’s vitally important that we understand the business we work in. We don’t just need to know the sector, but also the threats and opportunities our organizations are facing. It’s a good way of understanding the perspective of our users. Attending internal and external events helps us achieve this. Knowing what our users know enables us to ensure our solutions match their needs. It also helps us be seen as a peer, rather than as a service-provider. Keeping up to date with trends also helps us predict what might be coming in the future. We need to be ready for organizational change and be prepared to drop services if they aren’t of value to organizational ambitions.

It’s important to know stakeholders, sponsors and advocates as well as day-to-day users. They are ultimately the people who make decisions about the information services future and we should know when we can, for example, ask them for money. Stephen Phillips advocated not merely being a service within the business, but being a corporate partner, putting services at the heart of corporate strategy. We should think about how the information service can help the business as a whole and meet its customers’ needs. We can demonstrate corporate responsibility and ownership by ensuring that purchasing budgets and staff time are spent on behalf of the business as a whole, rather than the information service as an entity. And we should be transparent and accountable to users, managers and staff.

Library services have traditionally suffered from being seen as an overhead. Part of understanding our businesses is linking our activities to savings and profits. At Morgan Stanley their metrics measure not just performance, but their cost per hour in relation to other departments. This helps demonstrate value as well as providing a perspective on the real costs of our products. Getting to know the finance department is a useful tool to this end, as they can help develop better metrics and imaginative means of reporting. They are likely to be supporting if user departments are pressurizing us to buy new information products. Unlike us, they are likely to know if the department can afford it or not.

One of the report’s recommendations was for information services to be part of the solution to stretched organizational resources. Stephen advised us to ‘sweat our assets’, reuse information products when necessary and use our internal expertise, as well as those of colleagues. He advocated embracing ways of doing things cost-effectively, even where this might involve ceasing to carry out a service in-house.

As well as generally being the answer to your organisation’s problems, the speakers raised specific things the information service could do to demonstrate value. Being the organisation’s ‘technical mastermind’ was one recommendation of the report. It’s essential we make sure our customers don’t surpass us in technical know-how. But if we keep ahead of the trends, the information service can gain a reputation for being the go-to place for up-to-date tech knowledge. Joining groups like SLA and taking advantage of the training and information they offer helps with this.

One important role an information service can take is risk mitigation. Many information services benefit from being able to take a step back from organizational politics and put governance first, ensuring users are compliant, guaranteeing the quality of the information and supplying the evidence upon which decisions are made. For this to be valued by users, it is important to communicate what could happen if advice is not followed. A challenge for many information departments is to avoid being seen as the barriers to achievement and instead being the guarantors of quality and compliance.

Janice raised the issue of how far information professionals should add analytical value to their offering, rather than simply aiming to be as objective as possible in answering user requests. She suggested that we should offer more than the simple facts. Our advice to users should be ‘decision-ready’ and packaged so that it is easy to consume and easy to understand. It isn’t always straightforward to know where to draw the line between reporting and offering opinion and there are risks, for example, when interpreting the law. But information professionals should be able to make a judgement call as to the risk involved and know when it’s important to add this value. We can also learn when we need to say ‘No’ and direct the enquirer towards a more appropriate department.

Although the focus for many of the speakers’ examples appeared to be reactive research, Sarah Fahy also highlighted the importance of creating proactive solutions. There can be limits to what can be pre-packaged, particularly in the context of the high-end analytical research that has become the domain of the modern information service. Some user-needs are too unpredictable or nuanced and require a bespoke solution. But simple-looking summaries, regularly published to support the work of your primary users can be effective and memorable, although it is important to communicate how much work has gone into them. You don’t want it to look too easy.

Communication was a key part of the report’s findings and how you frame your research can be crucial to how your services are valued. Telling a user that the item of information they are looking for doesn’t exist is reassuring, telling them you could not find it puts doubt on your expertise. Knowing when there is no answer is part of our skillset as information experts. Ironically, the economic model favoured by most businesses today is to put the least expert users in the front line, when actually it takes experience to know whether or not a question can be answered.

What came out most clearly from the speakers was that corporate information services have to make themselves an indispensible part of the value of the business, ensuring that whatever its core activity is, it is better because it uses high quality information in a compliant manner. However creative we are in providing it, our key offering is information. Our expertise is answering queries, finding, analyzing and organizing information and locating and using sources. It is our unique selling point. And what could be more useful to today’s knowledge-hungry organizations?


#SLA2015 – Call for Papers

SLA is now accepting proposals for papers to be presented at the 2015 Annual Conference & INFO-EXPO, to be held June 14-16 in Boston. Paper topics should be related to library science, information management, or other issues pertaining to client service, technology, or administration in special libraries. Paper topics should be relevant to the conference theme, “Be Revolutionary!”

A panel of SLA members will conduct a blind review of the proposals, and the strongest proposals will be selected for development into papers. Proposals will be evaluated on the strength of the ideas, quality of the writing, potential member interest, and relevancy to the conference theme.

Proposed papers must also meet these requirements:

  • At least one author must be a member of SLA.
  • At least one author must commit to presenting the paper at the 2015 Annual Conference.
  • The proposal must be submitted by the deadline (1 December 2014).
  • The paper must not have been published in, or submitted to, any other publication or conference planning group.
  • The author (and any co-authors) must sign a copyright assignment form that permits SLA to use the paper in various formats.

Deadlines are as follows:
1 December 2014: Applicants submit their proposals in abstract form. Abstracts should be single-spaced Word documents (or plain text) between 250 and 300 words in length, or roughly one page in 12-point type.

19 December 2014: Applicants are notified of the review panel’s decisions, and those with the strongest proposals are invited to develop them into full papers.

28 April 2015: Authors submit their papers and signed copyright assignment forms.

14-16 June 2015: Authors deliver 15-minute presentations of their papers during 90-minute sessions.

To learn more, read the 2014 contributed papers or contact Leslie Reynolds.

Event Review: Walking Tour of Spitalfields

Our thanks to Andrew Grave for this review of our Walking Tour with Rachel Kolsky and Legalinx. With a background in business research and analysis, Andrew provides training and support to corporate information teams and to organisations without an information function through his company Research Counts.

Brick Lane. Note the traditional N. Katz signage amongst the present restaurants. Photo: Seema Rampersad

Brick Lane. Note the traditional N. Katz signage amongst the present restaurants. Photo: Seema Rampersad

Like a lot of people, my first awareness of the Spitalfields area was through the famous Bangladeshi street of Brick Lane with its curry houses and colourful shops. Learning that SLA Europe was organising a tour of Spitalfields, I was keen to join and discover more about the area.

We met in Bishop’s Square near Spitalfields Market. It is London’s oldest market but has been modernised and reduced in size by the City of London. It is still home to many independent traders and well worth a visit! Our guide for the evening was Rachel Kolsky. Not only is Rachel a prize-winning Blue Badge London Tour Guide but she is also an SLA member of 30 years.

One of the most photographed and filmed buildings in the area is this partially unrestored building. Photo: Andrew Grave

One of the most photographed and filmed buildings in the area is this partially unrestored building. Photo: Andrew Grave

Rachel soon knuckled down to business and explained that Spitalfields was renowned for its immigrant communities. For a long time the area fell outside the boundaries of the City’s guilds making it an easier area for immigrants to work in. It also benefited from its proximity to the City and the docks.

In addition to the current Bangladeshi community, the area has been home to other communities, most of whom have left their mark on the area. I emphasise most because Rachel explained that whilst there had been a sizeable Irish community at one stage, they have left little evidence of their time here. The two other communities who left their mark here were the Jewish and French Huguenots communities.

The Huguenots were French Protestants who fled persecution in France in the 17th and 18th centuries. There had been a small silk industry in Spitalfields but the Huguenots developed it significantly. They built large houses to accommodate their looms which still exist today. Rachel pointed out that the looms were located in large attics the top of their houses and contained large, multiple windows so that the weavers could get as much light as possible. Following a downturn in the Irish linen industry in the 1730s, many Irish linen workers crossed the sea to work in Spitalfields silk industry.

As well as the many houses in the area, the Huguenots also were responsible for the French names of many of the streets including Fournier Street. Eventually, Spitalfields silk industry declined and many Huguenots moved out to the suburbs and another immigrant community took their place.

Tour guide Rachel Kosky highlights a mezuzah in the doorway of a Jewish house. Photo: Seema Rampersad

Tour guide Rachel Kosky highlights a mezuzah in the doorway of a Jewish house. Photo: Seema Rampersad

The Jewish communities comprised Jews fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe and before them impoverished Jews from the Netherlands who sought better economic prospects.
One of the first indications of Jewish inhabitants in the area was highlighted by Rachel. She showed us a tiny mezuzah in the doorway of a house. A mezuzah comprises a case with the Jewish prayer Shema Yisrael in it. Whilst the example Rachel showed us was very subtle, we learnt that modern cases may be a lot larger and more ornate.

The Jewish imprint was most evident in the large Soup Kitchen for the Jewish Poor. Opened in in Leman Street in 1854, it relocated to what is now Brune Street in 1902. It closed in 1992 to merge with another organisation. Rachel informed us that the Kitchen cleverly contained space above the first floor which had been rented out to generate income to help fund the kitchen’s charitable efforts.

Jewish Soup Kitchen, Brune Street. Photo: Andrew Grave

Jewish Soup Kitchen, Brune Street. Photo: Andrew Grave

Other evidence of the Jewish community’s presence includes a number of current and former Synagogues.

Sandys Row Synagogue, founded by Dutch Jews. Photo: Seema Rampersad

Sandys Row Synagogue, founded by Dutch Jews. Photo: Seema Rampersad

As each community in time grew more prosperous, they were able to move out from the relatively cramped conditions of Spitalfields into London’s suburbs. The Jewish community favoured the Northern Line and many families were able to sell up and move to Golders Green, Finchley and Kingsbury.

One building which has reflected the changing face of the area is the building now known as the London Jamme Masjid on the corner of Fournier Street and Brick Lane. Built as a Huguenot Church in 1743, when congregations dwindled it was briefly used by a Christian movement aimed which tried to convert Jews to Christianity. In 1819 it became a Methodist Chapel, in 1897 an Orthodox Synagogue and in 1975 a Mosque.

London Jamme Masjid, Brick Lane/Fournier Street. Photos: Andrew Grave

London Jamme Masjid, Brick Lane/Fournier Street. Photos: Andrew Grave

In contrast to the Jamme Masjid is the imposing Grade 1 Christ Church in Commercial Street whose use has remained unaltered. Built between 1714 and 1729, it was one of twelve churches built by the optimistically-titled Commission for Building Fifty New Churches. Located in what originally was a Huguenot area, Rachel explained that the church had always struggled to get large congregations due to its mismatch to the religion of the area. By 1960, the church was in a poor state of repair and services were held elsewhere. In 1976 the Friends of Christ Church Spitalfields was formed to raise money and restore the building. 1987 saw the resumption of church services there.

Christ Church, Commercial Street. Photo: Andrew Grave

Christ Church, Commercial Street. Photo: Andrew Grave

In the 1970s and 1980s Bangladeshi men started coming to the UK for work in substantial numbers. This was driven by war and poverty at home. Initially it was working men who made the trip; their families followed later on. Rachel stated that historically seamen found that shipping-related labouring in London was far better paid than back home and so remained behind in London long after their ships had returned home.

Verde & Company, Brushfield Street. Photo: Andrew Grave

Verde & Company, Brushfield Street. Photo: Andrew Grave

Over time, Brick Lane developed its distinctive ambience with its numerous Balti and curry houses.

Spitalfields today is home to some well-known artists including Gilbert and George and Tracey Emin. They have lived there since the area was a working fruit market and considered an undesirable and unlawful area. Tracey is a keen enthusiast of the area and has bought and restored a row of houses which she is selling off to sympathetic owners.

Author Jeanette Winterson (“Oranges are not the only Fruit”) bought a derelict Georgian house in Brushfield Street, converting the top into a flat and the bottom into organic food shop Verde & Co.

There is also a wealth of street art with colourful graffiti from local artists adorning the area adding a bohemian feel to the neighbourhood.

Spitalfields Street Art. Photos: 1 & 2 Caroline Horne, 3 Seema Rampersad

Spitalfields Street Art. Photos: 1 & 2 Caroline Horne, 3 Seema Rampersad Spitalfields Street Art. Photos: 1 & 2 Caroline Horne, 3 Seema Rampersad Spitalfields Street Art. Photos: 1 & 2 Caroline Horne, 3 Seema Rampersad

With a slight nip in the August air we retired to the warmth of the Kings Stores pub to discuss what we’d seen and to network over a swift half or two.

Thanks are due to our sponsors LegalinX-7Side who made this event possible. LegalinX-7Side is a market- leading provider of accurate, trusted and critical business, property and consumer information. Product and service lines include UK and international company information, formations & secretarial, anti-money laundering and credit reports.

SLA Europe 2014 Vacancy: Blog Editor

We currently have a vacancy for the blog editor position within SLA Europe.

Volunteering for SLA Europe can be a wonderful opportunity to become more engaged with the wider profession, and we would love to hear from anyone who is interested in the position.

Qualities & experience sought:

  • Excellent English language skills to edit and proof read blog posts
  • Willingness to reach out and contact potential contributors for the blog
  • Interest in social media is essential
  • Experience with WordPress is advantageous


  • Creating and monitoring a schedule of content for the SLA Europe blog at
  • Attending virtual bi-monthly meetings focused on improving and facilitating SLA Europe’s communication and social media strategy, as a member of the Digital Communications Committee
  • Liaising with the Events Committee to advertise SLA Europe events and to source potential blog contributors to provide event reviews
  • Liaising with the Awards Committee to advertise awards and solicit write ups from the award winners
  • Liaising with sponsors to publish promotional content on the blog as per sponsorship agreements

 If you have any questions or if you would like to express an interest in the role, then please contact

‘Creating Real Impact’ at this year’s Internet Librarian International

ILI 2014 bannerInternet Librarian International will take place at Olympia, London on 21-22 October. SLA members benefit from a 25% discount on the full conference fee, and SLA Europe will be hosting a Drinks Mixer for delegates and SLA members. Conference director Kat Allen gives us a preview of what to expect from this year’s conference.

The runaway success of Internet Librarian International (ILI) in recent years has been very exciting – but it also presents the conference organising team with renewed challenges as we get to grips with the planning and programming of the 2014 conference. How do we top last year’s event? What are the hot topics this year? Which key themes will resonate for information professionals from a variety of sectors, and from more than 30 countries? How should the conference format be varied?

This year, the challenge is even greater following the demise of Online Information and the increased interest in ILI that has followed as a consequence.

This year’s conference theme is ‘Positive Change: Creating Real Impact’, and the scene will be set by this year’s keynote speakers – Smithsonian thought leader and digital strategist Michael Edson; and Rachel Neaman, newly appointed CEO of Go ON UK, the digital inclusion charity founded by Martha Lane Fox.

Opening keynote speaker Michael Edson is at the forefront of digital transformation in the cultural sector. He has worked on numerous award-winning projects and has been involved in practically every aspect of technology and New Media for museums. I’m really looking forward to Michael’s keynote ‘The Dark Matter of the Internet’ in which he will argue that success for today’s organisations depends on how well we harness the collaborative, social, peer-to-peer and read/write opportunities presented by the internet.

I’m also excited that Rachel Neaman has agreed to give the Day 2 Keynote, as this will be one of her first public-speaking events in her new role as CEO of Go ON UK. She is joining Go ON UK from the Department for Health, where she was responsible for developing digital strategy, policy and guidance on transforming public services, and assisted digital and digital inclusion so I think her perspective on how digital skills are empowering people, businesses and countries will be both thought-provoking and inspiring.

ILI is known as ‘the technology and innovation conference for information professionals’. That said, the focus is not on massive technology implementations, or wholesale organisational change (although both of those can, and do, feature in the conference programme). ILI speakers are just as likely to share their experience of small-scale, boot-strapped projects with low (or no) budgets.

As ever, ILI’s focus is on real-life case studies, with info pros sharing their ‘warts and all’ view of ground-breaking and creative projects. Radical new roles for info pros, and radical new ways of delivering information services, feature strongly this year.

Georgina Cronin of Cambridge Judge Business School will share her experience of being a ‘UX’ librarian, explaining how, as a user experience specialist, she is able to carry out a variety of wide ranging research that informs the library’s approach to service design.

Gimena Campos Cervera from the US Embassy to Italy (and recipient of the SLA Europe Information Professional Award in 2009) will share her experience of setting up YouLab Pistoia, an innovative library space offering the latest digital technology in photography, video-making, 3D printing and the like, where people feel welcome to explore their creativity and express themselves through new digital media.

This year’s conference tracks include:
• New Blueprints for Libraries – including a look at trends in library services, and an exploration of radical new roles for librarians, including the UX librarian, and the librarian as DJ
• Technology Innovation and Impact – including 3D printers, augmented reality, library labs, and gamification
• Content Innovation – with sessions looking at the future of documents, the library as content hub, and new acquisition models
• The Marketing and Impact track includes a look at metrics and altmetrics, and generating meaningful social media
• The Search and Discovery track includes Phil Bradley’s famous roundup of the best new search apps and tools, and explores user perspectives on Discovery tools.
• The Closer to Communities and Customers track looks at co-creation, co-operation and communities, and ways to reach new audiences.
• The conference also features the new X Track – an informal, participatory space for delegates to explore, collaborate and share where delegates will be able to see new technology in action, chat informally with speakers and experts, experience and participate in an unconference session, and experiment with co-creating an app.
• Plus Social events, awards, and a delegate visit to the British Library

As ever, the social side of ILI is just as important as the formal sessions! We’re really pleased that once again SLA Europe will be hosting a Drinks Mixer for ILI’s delegates and SLA Europe members (Monday 20 October from 18.00 – 19.30 at Olympia Conference Centre). I look forward to seeing you there!

Discounts for SLA members:

SLA has negotiated a 25% discount for SLA members registering with the discount code SLA25.

Further Information:

Internet Librarian International 2014
The Innovation and Technology Conference for Information Professionals
21 & 22 October 2014, Workshops on 20 October 2014

The conference includes hands-on workshops; three parallel conference tracks, plus brand new ‘X Track’; keynotes; plenary sessions; panel discussions; 55 conference presentations including more than 40 case studies and 70 world-class speakers; networking with information professionals from over 30 countries, and the event’s Sponsor Showcase of global information products and service providers.
SLA members are entitled to claim a 25% discount on fees for the main conference. Discounts are also available for multiple delegates from the same organisation.

View the full programme and register at

This is a sponsored post as part of our sponsorship agreement with ILI2014.

Q&A with the 2015 SLA President-Elect Candidates

The voting for the SLA Board of Directors 2015 runs from the 3rd-24th of September 2014, so don’t forget to keep an eye on your email on the 3rd of September for the online voting details and read up on the candidates at the Board of Director’s candidate page. There are also Bylaw proposals on the ballot.

We’re very pleased that the President-Elect Candidates were able to take some time out of their busy schedules to answer a few lighthearted questions for us.

Tom Rink (of Northeastern State University) and Jim DelRosso (of Cornell University) are this year’s Presidental-Elect candidates and here’s their thoughts on an unlimited budget for European travel, what their alternate universe selves are up too (or have been up too!), what tools/apps they love and what technology they’d tell their 15 year old self about if they could.

Where would you go in Europe if given the chance and an unlimited budget?

Jim DelRosso:

Tough question! I’ve been lucky enough to visit Europe a few times already, with stops in France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. With an unlimited budget, I’d likely be crisscrossing the continent via the enviable rail system, revisiting places I’ve enjoyed and seeing new ones.

As far as places I haven’t yet visited, I’d very much like to see Spain — my wife’s been there, and loved it — and the UK. And if I were looking to return to someplace I’ve already been, I’d love to be able to go back to Florence: I spent a few days there many years ago, and would love to be able to take my time in the region.

Tom Rink:

Well, if I had an unlimited budget (as well as an unlimited amount of time), I would want to hit as many places as possible. I really enjoy traveling and I love to explore new places. But when you consider that Europe is comprised of more than fifty countries, states, and territories, hitting them all seems a bit unrealistic.

However, being an art enthusiast (and collector), I would probably focus my travels on some of the great museums and galleries of Europe . . . specifically Musee du Louvre (Paris, France) , the Hermitage (St. Petersburg, Russia), Musei Vaticani (Vatican City, Rome, Italy), Museo del Prado (Madrid, Spain), the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Galleria degli Uffizi (Firenze, Italy), the National Gallery and the Tate Gallery (London, United Kingdom), and the Alte Pinakothek (Munich, Germany). I think this would be a great start. I’m also a wine and food enthusiast and could easily envision myself eating and drinking my way across Europe between museums and galleries. So, when do we leave?

You run into yourself in the street one day and it turns out you’re not an information professional! (Oh no!) What does your alternate universe self do?

Jim DelRosso:

Well, before I found my calling as a librarian, the two paths that seemed likeliest were lawyer and actor: I went into college planning to do the former, but ended up spending a good amount of my free time practicing to be the latter.

Truth be told, though, the most likely place I’d have ended up is in the public policy field: my undergraduate studies focused strongly on policy issues, and I received my MPA long before I got my MSLIS. So there’s a good chance that the street where I met this alternate universe self would be in Washington, DC, and he’d be a very busy policy wonk. Of course, the call of academia may have ended up being too strong, so perhaps he’d just be teaching public policy at some college or another.

Thinking about this actually reminds me why I enjoy being a librarian so much: it allows me to partake of the aspects of all those other possible occupations that I found most interesting. (Yes, even acting.)

Tom Rink:

I have already experienced a couple of “alternative universes” and know that predicting the future is always risky at best. But when considering my past, several years ago I would have run into a police officer (my previous career) and I quite possibly would have answered this question with “information professional” as my alternative universe self. Prior to that I would have run into a viticulturalist (grape grower) and oenologist (wine maker) for the family winery and vineyard who would have answered this question with “police officer.”

But if we look at a future alternative universe as opposed to my past alternative universes, then I would have to say that the next time I run into myself on the street, I will probably be a baker (the sole proprietor of “Thom E.’s Cheesecakes” perhaps?) or someone involved in the culinary arts. I’ve been baking cheesecakes for friends and family for a very long time now and have even considered starting my own business. Hmm, maybe one of these days I will take the necessary steps (i.e., do the research, complete a business plan, and move the idea to the next level) to make this new dream a reality. Bon appetit!

What are your go-to five apps or tools?

Tom Rink:

Ah, so many apps or tools from which to choose . . . I would have to go with WordPress, Twitter, Google Maps, Calendar, and the Weather Channel, I have been blogging every day for a little more than six years now, so having access to WordPress is essential. I like and use Twitter on a daily basis just to keep up-to-date and up-to-speed with this social media account. I find Google Maps very handy when I’m traveling; it sure simplifies navigating in unfamiliar locations. My Calendar app allows me to keep track of all of my appointments and schedule for the day. The ability to set alerts and reminders is invaluable. And last but not least, the Weather Channel. Living in Oklahoma, having access to the most up-to-date weather forecasts and radar is a must, especially during severe weather patterns (which are quite frequent in Oklahoma).

Jim DelRosso:

This list can be interpreted as having more than five items or fewer than five items, but it averages out to around five:
1. Gmail: Fully searchable archives, usable from every device I own, and in this line of work our most powerful resources are our colleagues and peers.
2. Google Drive: Allows me to work on documents from multiple devices, and collaborate with others. There are a lot of options for this sort of thing, and I’ve tried several, but right now Drive is working best for me.
3. Dropbox: Google Drive may end up taking over my cloud storage soon, but for now Dropbox is still my app of choice for moving files between devices and among collaborators.
4. A whole mess of social media: The ones I check with regularity right now are Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn. That’s a huge part of the landscape of personal and professional communication for me right now. I have accounts for several others, but they see far less use.

There are many more apps on my devices, but they either see niche use (or none). The ones listed here seem to have staying power.

What technical advancement would you tell your 15 year old self about if you had the chance?

Tom Rink:

Given the chance I would definitely tell my 15-year-old self about Smartphones. These technology powerhouses continue to amaze me with the extent of their capabilities (especially when in the hands of someone who really knows how to use them to their full potential). And while I have never considered myself an “early adopter,” I do embrace and use new technology fairly well in my humble opinion. Of course my 15-year-old self would have probably laughed at me and told me “you sure have a great imagination.”

There is one futuristic technology that I am still waiting for though that I would have loved to have been able to tell my 15-year-old self had become a reality — the “transporter” system used in the Star Trek television show and movies. Unfortunately, we may have to wait for that one a little longer. Beam me up, Scotty!

Jim DelRosso:

First off, thank you for being the only folks during my candidacy to ask me questions regarding both alternate universes and time travel. This warms the cockles of my geeky heart.

If I were feeling purely mercenary, I’d let my fifteen-year-old self know about the coming ubiquity of the internet, specifically the dot-com boom and crash. But I rarely feel purely mercenary, so I’d probably give him the heads up on the coming of mobile: that someday he and millions of others would not only have the equivalent of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in their pockets, but also the ability to catalog and share the sights and sounds and thoughts of their lives with people all over the world.

And I’d tell him that the most important thing about those devices is their great potential for spurring social change. Which would probably mean he’d end up becoming the aforementioned policy wonk. Or a librarian.

To learn more about Jim and Tom and their answers to the more serious SLA related questions, you can visit their individual candidate pages and watch a recording of their Candidate Webinar

Podcast: SLA conference mix 2

SLA 2014 conference logo

For the SLA Europe podcast, Dennie Heye asked a variety of SLA members to send clips they recorded at the SLA Conference in Vancouver. This way he received a great collection of recordings: first timer’s impressions, interviews with board members, summaries of meetings, and much more. He will compile several SLA Europe episodes using this clips to give you a unique insight into what was going on at the SLA conference.

In this second episode you’ll hear:

- Lauren Lawler and Lindsay Robinson reflecting on the opening of the SLA annual conference;

- Marie Cannon giving her thoughts about the opening of the SLA annual conference;

- Rosie Hare, Michelle Bond, Sam Wiggins, Ruth Jenkins, Lindsay Robinson and Marie Cannon sharing their comments and take-aways at the end of the conference

You can listen or download the podcast.

Beyond Borders at #SLA2014

Michelle Bond is back again after kindly writing up the ‘Beyond Borders’ session from #SLA2014; a session which Michelle Bondexplored working across different cultures and countries.

True story: before I decided to be a librarian, I was considering doing my masters in cross-cultural communication. I thought it might be a bridge between my itinerant lifestyle and a proper career.

So I was very interested to see this session on the schedule at the conference, and even more interested to see what the panelists had to say about their time working overseas. The panel consisted of SLA Europe President Don Roll; new SLA Fellow Catherine Lavelle-Walsh and Hyoshin Kim from Douglas College with Geraldine Clement-Stoneham acting as moderator.

Taking the form of a Q&A session, the panel had many tips and stories to share about their experiences. There was plenty of laughter as the panelists recounted tales of mishaps and unintentional offenses, which for me shows the most important part of intercultural communication (and a general life tip) – don’t take yourself too seriously! I was also particularly impressed to hear that Don had only spent a total of 2 weeks outside of the US before moving to the UK!

My top 5 tips from the session are:

  1. Do your research before engaging – some cultures have specific customs which you should adhere to. One often used example is of the exchange of business cards in China – this is an important custom and is quite intricate, including ensuring you present the card with two hands and study the card you are given in return.
  2. Body language is just as important as spoken language.
  3. Everyone has an accent – even you! This is also linked to another tip, which is…
  4. Don’t assume your cultural habits are the norm. Don told us that whilst in British meetings there is always the exchange of social niceties before work starts, whilst New Yorkers will generally jump straight into it. Neither is the ‘correct’ way of doing things, it all depends on context.
  5. Vocabulary used is important – remember there are different forms of English and different vocab used across them (think “trousers” vs. “pants”). Also be careful about using humour – British people tend to have a very dry humour which isn’t necessarily appreciated overseas.

Overall I really enjoyed this session; it had lots of tips that rang true to me, having spent a lot of time overseas. It also chimed really well with the ‘Beyond Borders’ theme of the conference, and I hope I added to this by tweeting the session and engaging with various people about the issues raised. It would be great to see this session run again in the UK.


Event: Competitive Intelligence as a Leadership Tool – Thursday September 11th

SLA NY, SLA Business & Finance Division, SLA Europe and the SLA Legal Division are pleased to present a competitive intelligence program with a look to the future of your career:

Competitive Intelligence as a Leadership Tool


Zena Applebaum, Manager of Intelligence & Intranet at Bennett Jones LLP, will lead a dynamic presentation that will literally cross the pond as members from both the United States and Europe gather via videoconference to discover how competitive intelligence can take the leap from information center to leadership within the organization.

Zena’s presentation will provide attendees with a view of how Competitive Intelligence fits within organizations and how it can transform the role of the Information Professional into that of a trusted and respected leader by exploring both soft and hard skills such as:

  • Consultative Modes – How do you currently provide services? Where do you fit into your organization and where do you want to go? From Fire Fighter to Leader.
  • Understanding Information Processing Patterns of Senior Management – How information professionals can bring CI forward to compliment the profiles and needs of management.
  • Effective and Efficient Analysis Frameworks –  How using the right analysis at the right time can demonstrate an appropriate level of leadership and understanding.
  • The Right Way to Communicate Deliverables – Tying it all together.



Join SLA NY, SLA B&F Division, SLA Europe and the SLA Legal Divsion

Thursday, September 11,  8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. NY Time and 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. London Time.


Breakfast will be served in New York and a light lunch will be served in London.

Bloomberg LP

731 Lexington Avenue

(between 58th and 59th Streets)

New York, NY

Skadden, Arps

40 Bank Street, Canary Wharf

London, E14 5DS


Members: $30.00


Register no later than Wednesday, September 3 at


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