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

Wednesday 7th May – New Professionals Guide to Knowledge Management in Legal Services

The Special Libraries Association are delighted to announce their very first event in Ireland.

A&L Goodbody host an SLA Europe event in partnership with the Legal Division of the Special Libraries Association. A&L Goodbody invite new information professionals to a lunch-time talk on Knowledge Management in law firms by Knowledge Partner, Paula Reid, and Assistant Knowledge Services Manager, Lauren Lawler.

This talk is suitable for all new professionals interested in finding out more about Knowledge Services and law firm librarianship. A&L Goodbody has a dedicated Knowledge team and has recently been the recipient of many awards, including the Best Management of Knowledge Award at The Lawyer Management Awards 2013. The session will detail the role of Knowledge Services in a large law firm. It will also discuss the responsibilities of the law librarian within Knowledge Services.

Date and Time: Wednesday 7th May, 12-1.30pm
Location: A&L Goodbody, 28 N Wall Quay, North Wall, Dublin 1, Ireland
Cost: Free

Entry is free but places are limited, so please register through Eventbrite. Tea and coffee will be provided. Please contact with any questions about this event.

Interview with ASLIB award winner Anneli Sarkanen

To celebrate National Libraries Day #NLD2014, ASLIB requested nominations for an information professional to receive flowers, and our very own Anneli Sarkanen won the award for her outstanding work at Field Fisher Waterhouse and her voluntary work for SLA and BIALL.

Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did you first become involved in the information profession?

In brief… My life in the information profession began with a graduate traineeship at the City law firm Macfarlanes around 10 years ago. After that, I undertook my Masters in Librarianship at the University of Sheffield and my first professional post was at Eversheds’ London office. I moved to Field Fisher Waterhouse six years ago.  I’ve always been an information officer and been involved in legal research, current awareness, training, and company research; the main aspects of my job have not changed all that much in each role but there have been subtle differences. In my latest role I am embedded within the litigation department and I also support the Employment and Pensions team. At first, the move to being embedded was a little nerve racking; losing the familiarity of sitting in the library with the library team. But I thoroughly enjoy it and have found it very rewarding.

Can you tell us a bit about the voluntary work you do for which you received the award, and why you do it?

In no particular order, I volunteer with SLA Europe on the Digital Communications Committee, for SLA Legal Division as International Relations Committee chair, and for the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL) as vice-chair of the PR & Promotions committee.

Award flowers from ASLIB

Award flowers from ASLIB

I first got into volunteering as I heard about BIALL’s development of a wiki which would be a collection of know-how for law librarians. I was really attracted to being involved in this and subsequently joined the committee responsible (PR & Promotions) so I could help out. That led to eventually becoming Vice-Chair of the committee and this year I’ll be taking over as Chair. I’ve been involved in the committee for around six years now, and there’ll be another three years to do as Chair. This feels like quite a long stretch of time but I’ve enjoyed it all and look forward to the challenges of the next three years.

More recently I got involved in SLA Europe, which came about after receiving the SLA Europe Conference Award in 2012 that allowed me to attend the SLA Conference in Chicago that year. Afterwards, in part as a way of thanking SLA for the award and in part to expand my network, I volunteered for the Digicoms committee, looking after SLA Europe’s LinkedIn presence.

Then last year, I was asked if I would chair the International Relations Committee of SLA Legal Division, which involves coordinating and/or writing posts for the Legal Division, updating them on events outside of North America. The committee is small but we’ve got some great people in China, Australia and more recently in Ireland, who are keen to update colleagues on events.

And so why do I do this? We all lead busy lives both from work and our social activities; finding time to volunteer for professional associations can be hard. The reason why I do this mostly boils down to the network you build up as a result of getting involved. I’ve had a chance to meet and work with people outside of law librarianship through SLA Europe, I’ve met another Anneli!! (Anneli Carter, chair of the Events committee), I’ve built on skills I might not have gotten through work, and I think I might not have gotten where I am had I not been active within the profession.

So I’d also like to say a huge thanks to Aslib for the flowers and to Tracy Z. Maleeff for nominating me. It is really nice to be recognised for the volunteering that I and many others do for their profession.

What are your plans and predictions for 2014?

Not sure about predictions but my plans involve co-authoring a chapter on training in a book for corporate information professionals. I’ve never written anything like this but I’ve signed up for a webinar from SLA LMD about writing for publication, hoping to get some tips! With taking over the chair of the BIALL PR Committee I’ll be getting to grips with that and also thinking of how we can promote the BIALL wiki more as it reaches its 5th birthday in June this year.

And outside of work, let’s see! I want to save for a trip to the States next year so this year will be low key, but I’m looking forward to celebrating the weddings of friends and family throughout the year and probably allowing my flat to drain some more of my savings with decorating and any other little DIY projects that may arise!

Interview with award winner Ruth Jenkins

Ruth Jenkins has been awarded a travel bursary by the John Campbell Trust to attend the SLA Conference 2014 in Vancouver. Ruth tells us about the award and her recent move between sectors.

Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did you first become involved in the information profession?

Ruth JenkinsAged 16, I started work as a Saturday Assistant at a nearby public library. Although not quite as unusual as the job I was doing before it, this job suited me much better than my previous work selling ice creams at the zoo.

Since then, I’ve worked in a variety of settings, including a School Library Service, Oxford University, where I completed my graduate traineeship, and the University of Reading, where I held my first professional post as Trainee Liaison Librarian until December 2013.  I recently moved into my current role as librarian in a NHS healthcare library.

I first got interested in special libraries during my Masters degree, and was successful in winning a 2012 SLA Europe Early Career Conference Award to attend the SLA annual conference in Chicago. The conference really opened my eyes to the huge variety or roles in the information profession, having met professionals from all number of weird and wonderful services. I’m excited to be attending this year’s conference in Vancouver, with thanks to the John Campbell Trust conference bursary.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of switching sectors?

Changing sectors from a university to healthcare library was a big decision, but one I am glad I made. I was worried the work would be too different, and while it is different the core skills of an information professional are very transferable.

My advice to someone considering it would be;

  • Identify and develop transferable skills, such as management, marketing, or research skills.
  • Talk to people in the sector you want to move into, or read up on the kind of work they get up to. When I was preparing for my interview, I found it useful to read blogs by other healthcare librarians to find out what issues they’re facing, what projects they’re working on, and what excites them.
  • If you’re interested in the job, but are worried you don’t have experience in that area, just apply for it anyway – what’s the worst that can happen?! You never know, you might get an interview, and you might even get the job. And if you don’t get it, at least you’ll have an opportunity to get feedback for next time.

What excites you most about attending the SLA annual conference in Vancouver?

Being new to healthcare libraries, I’m excited to meet international colleagues from medical libraries and attend sessions about this area. The international perspective will be fascinating. The Canadian health care system seems similar to our NHS, but the system in the United States is so different. I think it will be quite enlightening to talk with colleagues and compare notes.

I came back from SLA 2012 excited, enthusiastic, and full of ideas. Having looked at the sessions in the online planner, I’m sure this year will be no different!

What do you enjoy about being an active member of SLA Europe?

As I mentioned earlier, SLA has opened my eyes to the possibilities for information professionals. I’ve found the SLA Europe community to be very welcoming, and particularly so as a new professional; you can chat with someone who is very senior in their organization and they are genuinely interested in what you have to say.

What are your plans for 2014?

2014 will be a big year for me in terms of professional development. As well as the annual SLA Conference in Vancouver, I am attending the LILAC Conference in April, where SLA President Kate Arnold is one of the key note speakers. I will also be submitting my Chartership portfolio to CILIP this year, so fingers crossed that I’m successful. As for personal goals, I hope to do my first outdoor rock climb this year, weather permitting!

Early Career Conference Awards 2014 – winners announced!

The SLA Europe Board is pleased to announce the winners of the SLA Europe Early Career Conference Awards 2014. Congratulations to Michelle Bond, Rosie Hare, and Lindsay Robinson. All three winners will attend the SLA Conference & INFO-EXPO in Vancouver from 8-10 June 2014.

Michelle Bond is a trainee faculty librarian at Liverpool Hope University with interests in information literacy teaching, reading and the use of social media in higher education. A recent graduate of the iSchool at the University of Sheffield, Michelle wrote her dissertation on recreational reading in academic libraries. Michelle is co-sponsored by the Academic Division.

Rosie Hare works in the E-Learning team as a Digital Facilitator at Middlesbrough College and is studying towards an MSc in Information and Library Studies via distance learning at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. Rosie is co-sponsored by the Leadership & Management Division.

Lindsay Robinson is the Acquisitions Librarian at the Bodleian Law Library, where she has worked in a variety of roles since joining as a Graduate Library Trainee in 2007. Lindsay was awarded an MSc in Library and Information Studies from City University in 2011. Lindsay is co-sponsored by Legal Division.

Early Career Conference Awards cover all expenses including Conference registration, transportation, food, lodging, and incidental expenses. In return the Award winners will participate in and assist with their co-sponsoring Division’s events during the Conference and report on their experience for their Division’s and for SLA Europe’s newsletters and blogs.

SLA Europe President Don Roll extends his congratulations to the winners:

“The ECCAs are one of the best programs undertaken by SLA Europe.  It is wonderful that we can provide this opportunity for young professionals who otherwise could not afford to attend the SLA Conference.  These are highly coveted awards and the applications this year reflected the ambitions our emerging librarians have for their careers. On behalf of the SLA Europe Board, I would like to congratulate Lindsay, Rosie and Michelle and look forward to spending time with them in Vancouver.”

SLA Europe’s Early Career Conference Awards are now in their eighth year and are awarded annually to library and information professionals who have been working for less than five years or are enrolled in a European graduate-level programme of study in LIS. Applicants are required to have excellent English language skills and be first-time attendees at an SLA Annual Conference. The application process involves writing a personal statement, providing an up-to-date CV, and obtaining a recommendation from a professional in the LIS field.

2014 is the first year to feature Academic Division as a co-sponsoring SLA Division. We’re also happy to receive continued support from Leadership & Management Division and Legal Division (supported by Jones McClure Publishing). Thanks to their support, this year we attracted a record number of applications from some incredibly talented new professionals.

Event review: Do you have the facts on Wikipedia?

SLA Europe hosted an event at the National Library of Scotland on 4th March 2014, entitled “Do You Have the Facts on Wikipedia?”. The speaker was Ally Crockford, the first Wikimedian in Residence in Scotland, who works at the National Library of Scotland in a role sponsored by the Wikimedia Foundation. Ally explained that she wanted to give some more information on the Wikimedia Foundation and what it does, and clear up some lingering misconceptions about Wikipedia, which is the sixth most visited website in the world. Jennie Findlay shares her thoughts on the event in this review.

Wikipedia in action

I have to admit, I had no idea what the Wikimedia Foundation was before this – if I thought about it at all, I just assumed that Wikipedia was a standalone site: in fact, it’s part of a group of sister wiki based projects, with various different focusses to their existence, such as books and quotes. Ally shared the mission statement of the Wikimedia Foundation, which is “Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That’s our commitment.” That’s a pretty impressive aim!

AllyAlly explained that there’s often little difference between Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica in terms of content and accuracy of the information on those sites, but that there’s a problem for Wikipedia users in relation to trusting the site to be accurate, particularly when Wikipedia pages themselves often flag up their own unreliability with labelling on the pages.

Ally then began to explain some of the way that Wikipedia (and its editors) work, and the rules that they’re following when they create or edit pages which help to ensure that a neutral and reliable resource is created. She explained that Wikipedia pages cannot be supported or have material sourced only from Wikipedia pages – content must come from external sites. This means that there’s more confidence in the reader that the source is reliable, and “real”.

Wikipedia has a lot of guidance and policies for editors, but as Ally admitted, it’s been written by engineers and programmers, so it’s not always in the most readable language!

Therefore, the most straightforward way to see how you can work as a Wikipedia editor is to comply with their main policies. These are:

  • Avoid conflicts of interest
  • Maintain a neutral point of view
  • All material must be verifiable (i.e. published, third party, independent material)
  • Assume good faith
  • Cover notable topics
  • No original research should be published on Wikipedia

She also described the “Five Pillars of Wikipedia”

  • It is an encyclopedia
  • It should be written from a neutral point of view
  • It should be free content that anyone can edit, use, modify, and distribute
  • Editors should treat each other with respect and civility
  • Wikipedia does not have firm rules

Editors should comply with the policies and pillars, and by keeping them in mind they should be able to ensure that they can navigate through the technicalities of page editing and contributing more confidently.

Ally mentioned that they’re looking to develop a Scottish community of Wikipedia editors, and she was keen to encourage attendees to set up a Wikipedia account, even if we never got around to doing any editing. This was because having an account means you can more easily monitor a page for any changes by “starring” it in your account. This monitoring option could be a useful additional tool when using Wikipedia, and assessing page developments!

Ally also shared the fact that the National Library of Scotland had at one point been banned from editing Wikipedia, as their edits (despite being done with the best intentions and purely to improve information about the library) fell foul of the rules for editors, and were seen as committing vandalism and link spamming. Ooops!

Questions from the audience

There was time for some questions from the audience after Ally’s talk. There was a question about student reliance on Wikipedia, and even citing Wikipedia in their research. It was agreed  that they could be more aware that Wikipedia isn’t a substitute for proper research on a topic. The questioner volunteered that they use Wikipedia for research exercises themselves, and they use this method to educate the students about appropriate use of it.

I asked about the apparent gender imbalance towards male, techie contributors, and whether this is an issue. Ally agreed that there is an acknowledged problem with a large amount of the edits currently coming from middle aged male contributors, and explained that the Wikimedia Foundation are keen to address this. The vast majority of events she’s been involved in since taking on the Wikimedian in Residence role have been focussed on encouraging female editors to get involved, and getting content relating to female achievements and activities onto Wikipedia. Ally’s been working with many libraries, including the Glasgow Women’s Library, to help get this sector better represented on Wikipedia.

Other points

nlsIn the refreshments and networking session after the event, Ally continued to answer questions from attendees on how Wikipedia works, and discuss some lesser known information about it. I joined one of the conversations going on, where Ally was discussing the problem of the lack of non-English language pages, and how this was being tackled. It was interesting to learn that the translation of pages from one language to another is being set as a task for speakers of one language learning the other language (I think this is being done by language teachers, rather than by the Wikimedia Foundation). As Wikipedia has a policy ensuring that it’s written in the most accessible and simple style of English, this helps makes it easier to translate it from one language to another. I hadn’t realised this was something that was going on, but it sounds like a really interesting (and useful on many levels) way of getting Wikipedia content into non-English languages.

It was a really interesting talk, and I may even be inspired to register myself as an editor for Wikipedia…even if it’s only to keep an eye on a few important pages!

March Podcast: Interview with president-elect Jill Strand

In March’s SLA Europe podcast, Dennie Heye talks president-elect Jill Strand about the sale of the SLA Headquarters building, what she is most proud of in SLA right now and her dream vacation.

To learn more about the sale of the SLA Headquarters building, please follow this link (login to required).

SLA Europe member wins bursary to Vancouver

We are very pleased to announce that our very own Marie Grace Cannon is the 2014 recipient of the Legal Division’s Non-U.S. Law Librarian bursary to attend the annual conference in Vancouver.

Marie Grace CannonMarie is an Information Officer at Trowers & Hamlins LLP in London. Marie currently serves as SLA Europe’s Secretary and as a member of the Digital Communications Committee. Marie is also a previous Legal Division ECCA winner.

Marie tells us of her excitement on receiving the award:

“I am absolutely thrilled to have won the SLA Legal Division’s Non-U.S. Law Librarian Grant so that I can attend the annual conference in June. I am currently working towards CILIP chartership and one of my objectives is to further immerse myself in the library community and to develop my knowledge of the wider profession, and attending the SLA conference will greatly help me to achieve this. I am looking forward to learning from and discussing issues that affect library and information professionals across the globe.”

Congratulations to Marie, and we look forward to hearing about her experiences at the SLA 2014 conference in Vancouver.

For more information on the award, please see the original posting on the SLA Legal Division blog.

Why you should apply for the PI and SLA Europe Professional Development Award 2014

Marie Grace Cannon and Ruth Jenkins, delegates who were sponsored to attend the 2013 Perfect Information Conference in May of last year, tell us what was unique about the conference and why you should consider applying for the PI and SLA Europe Professional Development Award 2014 and attending the Perfect Information Conference 2014.

Ruth Jenkins: The programme for the Perfect Information Conference included the best set of sessions I’ve ever experienced. I took something away from every one I attended, and returned enthused and inspired. The sessions were varied in their content, but all relevant to today’s information professional. We had advice on planning your career development, heard about changes in user expectations of mobile content, and even some top presentation tips. The PI Conference was a wealth of knowledge. As a new professional, I learned a lot about networking, adding value, and industry hot topics; all applicable to a wide range of information settings. The conference was a wonderful opportunity to interact with colleagues of all levels and experience, and the delegates were welcoming.

PIC 2013For me, the main messages of the conference were that despite difficult economic times, library and information professionals are continuing to innovate, exploit new opportunities, and add value to their organisations. I was left feeling excited and proud to be part of such a profession. The speakers were passionate about their subjects, and that really came across throughout the conference.

Marie Grace Cannon: Along with Ruth Jenkins, I was very kindly sponsored to attend the Perfect Information Conference 2013, which was one of the best, and certainly the most unique, conferences I have attended.

Compared to previous conferences I have attended such as the SLA and BIALL annual conferences, the Perfect Information Conference is a lot more intimate,with approximately 90 delegates from primarily the legal and financial sectors. The majority of the delegates (possibly all) stayed at the Aviator Hotel, where the conference was hosted, and this meant there were numerous and constant networking opportunities. I found myself meeting people in the formal networking sessions, then constantly bumping in to the same people at breakfast and lunch and throughout the day. This meant that you had the opportunity to really get to know fellow delegates and develop meaningful relationships.

I also found that many of the delegates were very experienced professionals in senior roles, such as information managers, directors or heads of service; and so I found the networking to be particularly beneficial to me as a new professional. All of the delegates I met were very knowledgeable experts at what they do, and so I learnt about their roles and how their library services differed from my own, but importantly I was often able to find out about their extensive and varied career paths and gain advice for my own career.

I immensely enjoyed the whole Perfect Information Conference experience; from the constant networking opportunities to the sessions themselves, and I can honestly say that the quality of the sessions were truly outstanding. I was able to report a wealth of knowledge back to my team, particularly on mobile strategies and federated searching. I would just like to thank Perfect Information for hosting such an excellent conference, and I would highly recommend applying for the PI and SLA Europe Professional Development Award 2014 for the opportunity to attend PIC2014!

PI and SLA Europe Professional Development Award 2014

This is the first year of the PI and SLA Europe partnership on the Professional Development Award. The award has been set up to assist SLA members in their professional development from and training and presenting point of view. The winner will be provided with the opportunity to host a workshop at the Perfect Information Conference 2014 on a topic of their choice and will be mentored through the workshop creation process with an experienced SLA member to guarantee they are ready for their big debut.

For more information on the PI Conference, please see

The award:

The PIC team and SLA Europe are offering a lucky winner the opportunity to host a workshop at the PIC 2014 in Coombe Abbey Hotel, Warwickshire from 7 – 9 May 2014. This is the ideal opportunity for SLA members to apply to a programme which will not only improve their presenting skills, but also give them the chance to work with a key industry mentor on a topic of their choice and perform in front of some of the industry’s  most influential and key players.

The award allows the winner to attend PIC 2014 in Coombe Abbey Hotel, Warwickshire from the 7 – 9 May 2014.

The award is worth £2,000. It covers the full cost of Conference registration, hotel accommodation, meals, and three mentor sessions.


All applications must be received no later than Friday 28 March. Winners and unsuccessful applicants will be notified no later than Friday 4 April.

How to apply:

Applicants should provide (in the body of an email) their name, brief biographical details, and contact information.

Applicants should also attach an application document containing a rough plan for your proposed workshop. The document should contain the following sections (keeping with the word count limits).



OUTLINE A SAMPLE EXERCISE/TEST/ACTIVITY YOU WOULD INCORPORATE INTO YOUR WORKSHOP and EXPLAIN YOUR REASONING FOR CHOOSING SUCH: Explanation should not exceed 200 words – length of activity/exercise/test is flexible.

All documents should be in English.

To apply:

To apply, please email submissions to . Please use the subject line 'Application for Professional Development Award 2014'.


Applicants must be:

  • Library or information professionals working in the field in the United Kingdom OR students enrolled on a LIS course (undergrad or postgrad) during the 2013-14 academic year.
  • Able to communicate in written and spoken English.
  • SLA members by the time of the conference
  • Able to provide their own travel arrangements to Warwickshire in May 2014.


This is the ideal opportunity to attend the UK’s number one conference for information and knowledge managers.

The winner will:

  • Gain a broadened perspective on the many career opportunities in Library and Information Management.
  • Receive professional recognition. The award winner will be formally acknowledged at the conference and throughout the programme promotion in the lead up to the conference.
  • Develop presentation skills and information industry knowledge
  • Develop skills in the compilation of a topical presentation and interactive activity
  • Develop their professional profile and publicity-seeking skills by writing articles for SLA blogs.

After the PIC 2014 the award winner will be expected to write two short articles in English on what they learned at the Conference. One article will be geared towards future applicants and one toward the general information industry.


If you have any questions, please contact the Chairs of the Early Career & Awards Committee at  or Carley Donegan at PI at

Member interview with Veronica Kennard

Veronica Kennard, recently retired information professional and previously a Director at the investment bank Rothschild, kindly takes some time to tell us her views on the profession and the benefits of being a SLA Europe member. 

Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did you first become involved in the information profession?

I studied Economic History and Politics at Birmingham University and was lucky enough to get a job after I graduated at the International Institute for Strategic Studies as the Press Librarian – which meant spending my day cutting and pasting newspaper articles. Whilst at the IISS I decided to study for a part-time diploma in Information Science. At City University I developed an interest in business information and moved to the London Business School as the Corporate Librarian after 3 years at the IISS. My first day at LBS was very scary as I realised my knowledge of sources for company information was almost nil.

You worked in the finance sector at Rothschild for over 22 years – what sorts of roles did you have while you were there, and how did you keep yourself professionally motivated?

My main role was as the Manager of the Library, which changed its name to the London Information Centre and in 2013 to London Research.  I transformed an old-fashioned library in the basement to an electronic business information research facility for the Bank and its worldwide operations. I took over the role of market data manager for the group and spent the majority of my time negotiating contracts for the information services we bought. I also developed a volunteer programme at Rothschild which became Rothschild in the Community and had about 50% of the staff actively involved in volunteering locally.

I was involved with SLA Europe and attended meetings and tried to keep up-to-date with trends in the profession.

Veronica KennardWhat advice would you give to someone just starting out as an information professional?

I have strong concerns about the future of the profession now, especially those working for financial service firms,  and am not sure I would advise someone to join the profession. If they are already in the profession my advice would be to be always visible and to try to develop a secondary role in the organization.

What excites you most about the profession today?

The way in which core information skills can be used in many different roles.

What do you enjoy about being an active member of SLA Europe?

SLA Europe provided me with friends, colleagues and a sharing environment.

What are your plans and predictions for 2014?

To enjoy my retirement.  It’s great having more time to choose what to do. I am also continuing to work part-time for a charity using my research skills as well as spending some time each week volunteering in East London.  I intend to stay a member of SLA Europe.


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