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1 Tools and skills of today’s and tomorrow’s information manager Paul Nieuwenhuysen Vrije Universiteit Brussel Information and Library Science, University.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Tools and skills of today’s and tomorrow’s information manager Paul Nieuwenhuysen Vrije Universiteit Brussel Information and Library Science, University."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Tools and skills of today’s and tomorrow’s information manager Paul Nieuwenhuysen Vrije Universiteit Brussel Information and Library Science, University of Antwerp Belgium Keynote lecture presented at the Wrap-up Workshop of The Regional Environmental Reconstruction Programme for South Eastern Europe (RERep), in Sofia, Bulgaria, 20 June 2003

2 2 The slides used in this presentation are available from (note: BIBLIO and not biblio) and from the WWW site of the organizers, REC.

3 3 The term “information manager” in this presentation can stand for librarian knowledge manager professional working with »an information center »a reference center »an information system »a data center »…

4 4 Contents - summary of this lecture Part 1 WHY? The framework: Evolution and trends in information centers WHAT? Core activities in today’s information management WHERE? From physical, local information centers to more virtual information centers WHEN? When should information centers adapt to the changing information landscape?

5 5 Contents - summary of this lecture Part 2 HOW? Tools and methods for today’s and tomorrow’s information manager WHO? Desirable skills of today’s information managers

6 6 WHY? The framework: Evolution and future trends

7 7 Information centres: evolution of their roles Collection development (hard copy documents) Cataloguing + classification (hard copy documents) User services: reference, user education… Providing a physical, local meeting place Conservation / preservation (hard copy documents)  ?

8 8 The digital/electronic/virtual library: scheme Structures, practices, and methods of physical libraries and archives Computing power that is decreasing in price Communication capabilities of electronic networking Digital / electronic / virtual library

9 9 Libraries and information centres: evolution of their roles (Part 2) Collection development (hard copy documents) Cataloguing + classification (hard copy documents) User services: reference, user education… Providing a physical, local meeting place Conservation / preservation (hard copy documents)  + Acquiring access to digital information  + Organizing access to digital information  + Offering services in a networked environment  + Presence on the WWW or on the intranet, accessible from everywhere  + Conservation of digital documents or ensuring continuous access to digital documents

10 10 Libraries and information centres: future trends Hard-copy (NOT online) Expensive, fee-based Digital, online Expensive, fee-based Hard-copy (NOT online) Free of charge Digital, online Free of charge If it is not on the Internet, available free of charge, then it does “not exist”.

11 11 Libraries and information centres: future trends More information delivery directly from producer to end- user, without involvement of an information centre as intermediary.

12 12 Libraries and information centres: future trend = becoming invisible Conservation of hard copy documents becomes a smaller task in comparison with other activities in libraries. Services offered by libraries become more virtual, less clearly visible. Is the ideal library invisible? Who wants to pay for an invisible library? Who wants to pay for invisible librarians?

13 13 Picture of the future library and information center?

14 14 WHAT? Activities; management…

15 15 “Collection development” in information centres: hard + digital User / Reader Collection development Information centre Electronic, digital resources Hard copy

16 16 “Collection development” in information centres: hard + digital User / Reader Searching  Electronic, digital resources Hard copy

17 17 Organizing access to information in information centres: hybrid libraries User / Reader Searching + using Hard copy + electronic, digital resources in an integrated, hybrid library

18 18 Organizing access to information in information centres: the problem Users should be guided in finding their way through the maze, through the labyrinth that is formed by all available information systems and services.

19 19 Integrating access to all types of information in information centres Web site created, offered, and maintained by an information centre 1 or several catalogues / databases created, offered, and maintained by an information centre

20 20 Current awareness services provided by information centres The incoming flow of new available information is huge. The potential user/reader has limited time. So information centres can provide a current awareness service (alerting service): based on the interests of the user, the information centre sends the user »descriptions of new information sources (plus an explanation of how to obtain the full version) »OR directly the full version

21 21 Organizing access to information in information centres: user studies A few web site users should be selected from various categories of the user community and the way they work with your web site should be studied. The observation of their behaviour and the comments by those users can be useful and interesting to improve your web site.

22 22 Organizing access to information: the value of information? What is the value of information sources? Which price is reasonable and acceptable for access to information sources? These are simple questions but the answers are difficult. Debates on these questions by all stakeholders are going on almost continuously.

23 23 Organizing access to information: the value of structured information? A related but different question is: What is the value of a good guide to information? Which price is reasonable and acceptable for ORGANISING / STRUCTURING information sources? How do decision makers see this?

24 24 WHERE? From local, physical libraries to virtual, invisible information centers

25 25 From local, physical libraries to invisible information centers Besides local, physical libraries, an important role is played by more regional, international, virtual, digital, invisible libraries and information services. From physical, human librarians to invisible information managers? ?

26 26 WHEN? When should information centers adapt to the changing information landscape?

27 27 When to adapt to the changing information landscape? Yesterday Today Now Tomorrow Always Permanently Continuously because “Change is the only constant”

28 28 HOW? Tools and methods for today’s information manager

29 29 Tools and methods for today’s information manager (1) Integrated library or document management system, including databases related to »users »documents »other data More specialised database systems like GIS. Internet + WWW + the intranet of the organisation!! Electronic mail!!

30 30 Tools and methods for today’s information manager (2) Secured computers for access by the public to Internet- based information resources Portal software to integrate access to distributed databases in one search action OpenURL resolving software to guide users to the most suitable sources …

31 31 WHO? Desirable skills of information managers

32 32 Classical character of librarians: “no computers please” The classical, typical character of librarians and information managers: interest and background in human sciences; less interested in computers and technology

33 33 Skills of today’s information manager: “more computers please” Desirable skills of librarians and information managers include more and more: computer usage skills; information and communication technology skills

34 34 Classical character of librarians: document-oriented The classical, typical character of librarians and information managers: focused on static documents, cataloguing, conservation; less on relations and communication with users

35 35 Skills of today’s information manager: people-oriented Desirable skills of librarians and information managers include more and more: communication skills: to communicate with users/clients and with higher management teaching skills: to guide users/clients to today’s information sources and services

36 36 Classical character of librarians: static The classical, typical character of librarians and information managers: attracted by a static, constant, conservative, “valuable” working environment; less interested in more dynamic, “fashionable” systems with a short life

37 37 Skills of today’s information manager: dynamic Desirable skills of librarians and information managers include more and more: ability to adapt to continuous change; willingness to work in a dynamic environment and to learn continuously; working methods that are always “under construction” from collecting information “just in case” to offering appropriate information “just in time”

38 38 Classical character of librarians: passive The classical, typical character of librarians and information managers: focusing on static documents leads to static, passive views and behaviour; collecting information just in case someone may need it

39 39 Skills of today’s information manager: pro-active and flexible Desirable skills of librarians and information managers include more and more: focusing on users means acting in a pro-active way: anticipating needs and developing appropriate services well in time; acting flexible

40 40 Conclusions WHY? More ICT! Change is the only constant! WHAT? More digital information on the web WHERE? Information centers also on the WWW! WHEN? Yesterday! (or at least ASAP) HOW? More tools based on ICT WHO? ICT-minded, adaptive, user-oriented! Providing access to information remains crucial for our better future: Let us go for it!

41 41 Do you have any questions? Suggestions for a discussion? These slides are available through the WWW from (note: BIBLIO and not biblio)


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