The 21st century knowledge and information professional

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The volume of information continues to grow at an exponential rate; new tools, products and web services appear almost daily. Despite the recession, nothing seems to stem the tide of innovation. If anything, the economic climate has enabled companies to be even more radical in the way they create and use information. These are challenging times for the knowledge and information professional. We all need to be able to work smarter, acquiring and developing the skills to become more effective knowledge and information workers.

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  • Thanks for all the feedback/comments. This is part of an article I produced for Business Information Review (March 2011 edition). Unfortunately I can't distribute the article because of the conditions I had to sign for publication :-(
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  • A good overview of what most people today and in the future will need to do to be more effective at managing information at work. The means by which we all need to develop our personal and corporate brands.
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  • Very Interesting ! Thanks for sharing. Bernard (France)
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  • The volume of information continues to grow at an exponential rate; new tools, products and web services appear almost daily. Despite the recession, nothing seems to stem the tide of innovation. If anything, the economic climate has enabled companies to be even more radical in the way they create and use information. These are challenging times for the knowledge and information professional. We all need to be able to work smarter, acquiring and developing the skills to become more effective knowledge and information workers.
  • Web 2.0? We tune into the things we want to hear.
  • Web 1.0? We don’t have much say in what information is sent to us.
  • We need to filter out the information we don’t want or need, and tune-in to the information that we find interesting.
  • Exponential growth of data and information is nothing new – subsequent to the invention of the printing press in 1456, 50 million books were produced in a little under 50 years. The rate of growth of information is increasing though – and likely to continue doing so. We’ve got to deal with it!
  • Try and make it through all 5 steps!
  • We all have our own definition as to what is ‘interesting’, but the key point here is to choose what YOU want to read and listen to and not try to absorb everything on the web. One way of doing this is to subscribe to the RSS/Atom feed from websites and blogs that you visit and which you’ve decided are interesting. Using a feed aggregator (I’ve shown Google Reader) you can categorise the feeds according to various criteria – e.g. type of content, author, source etc. You can also ‘bundle’ feeds together and re-publish to your own blog or website if you choose (we’ll leave that one for now in the interests of keeping this post fairly simple). The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to treat this as an email in-box. It’s not a task-driven process, so you can read and review at your leisure (and you’ll note there are many feeds/topics I haven’t got around to reading!)
  • Another option is to set up alerts to trigger an email or update a feed if a particular search term is found. I’ve shown Google Alerts. This enables you to use Google’s mega-index of web pages to discover topics/content that could be of interest. If a match is found on your search term, you will be notified by email (or through a feed – see above) with a link to the relevant web page and a few words extracted from the webpage showing the context. You can decide the frequency you receive these email notifications – e.g. immediately, daily or weekly, and you can define the scope of the search, e.g. everything or news, blogs, videos, discussions.
  • I’ve long believed that social bookmarking is the foundation to effective knowledge and information management. Bookmarking in itself is a useful way of filing away those useful webpage links that you have found for later use or reference even if not shared (the ‘social’ bit of social bookmarking). It works in much the same way as ‘Favourites’ on the Internet Explorer toolbar, but I’ve shown one of the many bookmarking services that operate in the ‘Cloud’ – or in other words – accessible via a browser and not tied to a particular PC or device. That way you can access bookmarks you saved on your home PC from your works PC, and vice versa. I’ve shown the Delicious bookmarking service, but there are many others – e.g. Diigo, Stumbleupon, Digg etc.The social element is where you can share bookmarks with friends and colleagues who may have the same interests as yourself. They may spot something you didn’t, which you can add to your own bookmarks. I’ve shown my Network page, displaying the bookmarks my networks of contacts have saved. My network is shown at the top right of the page.
  • Sharing useful information with colleagues, friends and peers has never been easier. Most websites will have embedded links or a widget which connects to other web services and networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google etc. Quite often all that is needed is one click and the link is shared with other networks that you belong to. Has it ever been easier to share content?Reciprocation is the process whereby people who you share content with are likely to return the favour and share content they have created or discovered with you. This is really what the social web is all about – sharing what we know with others.
  • This is a further refinement to the feed aggregation that I mentioned at Step 1. Creating a personal dashboard of information and content will enable you to assemble in one place all of the potentially useful sources you have discovered. I’ve shown iGoogle as an example, but there are other similar services, such as Pageflakes and Netvibes. Any of these will allow you to assemble your own personalised view of various content sources. This can be a mix of RSS/Atom feeds, email applications or pre-configured ‘widgets’- such as news, weather maps or currency converters, etc. that you can choose from an application store and just drop into the dashboard. Furthermore, you can share an entire personalised page that you’ve set up with your contacts – i.e. the ‘social’ element once again.
  • Ok, easier said than done. Knowing what the ‘right’ tools are usually involves some experimentation with the tools, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all environment. I’ve started with what is arguably the most important tool in the toolbox – the web browser. This is your window into the World Wide Web, with all its millions of services and billions of users. Having a web browser that supports plug-ins is a fundamental requirement for me, since I can then integrate other products and services into the browser and access with one-click. Tabbed browsers are also useful in managing windows real-estate and PC resources – i.e. I don’t need to have several browser sessions active for different WebPages. I’ve shown Firefox, but I also use Google Chrome. Wherever possible I avoid Internet Explorer browsers (a personal thing). However, if you are a public sector worker, you may have no other choice than to use IE6 – which effectively hobbles you from the start. It doesn’t support plug-ins or tabbed browsing. It doesn’t even support W3C standards and is without any doubt the worst browser currently in common use. It’s a bit like using a hammer to finely adjust the coil-spring tension on an antique clock.I’ve shown the Delicious social bookmarking plug-in on the left hand side, which gives me immediate (one-click) access to any page I’ve bookmarked. I also have various ‘bookmarklets’ installed in the toolbar – e.g. Amplify (a Twitter/Blogging service) – again accessible with one click.
  • In other words, grow your network. This could be achieved by joining one of the many social networks (e.g. Facebook), but if your goal is to improve your skills as a Knowledge or Information Professional would advocate joining a special interest group or a Community of Practice. I’ve illustrated the Local Government community of practice platform, but there are many specialist knowledge and information communities – e.g. KM4DEV, CPSquare, etc. I don’t think there is anything wrong in ‘lurking’ on these networks to pick up useful information and to grow your contacts, but the real value comes from getting involved, posting questions, providing answers and just, well, collaborating and sharing knowledge
  • The 21st century knowledge and information professional

    1. 1. Thriving as a 21st Century Knowledge and Information Professional Stephen Dale Director Semantix (UK) Ltd Director Collabor8now.com
    2. 2. Who I am Stephen Dale (Steve) An evangelist and practitioner in the use of Web 2.0 technologies and Social Media applications to support personal self-development and knowledge sharing. Steve was the business lead and information architect for the community of practice platform currently deployed across the UK local government sector, the largest professional network of its type, and continues to play a key role in the support of virtual communities of practice for value creation in public services. Steve is chairman of the Online Information Conference.
    3. 3. Managing Information You choose They choose
    4. 4. 90 trillion emails sent in 2009 10 million new friend connections made each day 145 million users on Twitter Facebook has more than 500 million users 50 million tweets per day More than 100 million users access Facebook through Number of tweets up by their mobile devices. 1,400% since last year. 35 billion videos on YouTube 347% increase in people accessing Twitter via mobile devices in one year 5 years ago, information on the Internet doubled every 2 years. Now doubles every 72 hours Social medias has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the web
    5. 5. 5 steps to heaven
    6. 6. Step 1 – Tune into the interesting stuff
    7. 7. Unread items (bold) Number of subscriptions My categories Publish (RSS) Bundles of Subscriptions
    8. 8. Email subscriptions
    9. 9. Step 2 – Sharing, Reciprocation & Trust
    10. 10. My Network http://www.delicious.com My network’s bookmarks and tags My Fans
    11. 11. Sharing One click is often all that is needed
    12. 12. Trust I post a link to an article, it gets Retweeted. They don’t ask where the link goes. They don’t ask what the article is about. They just retweet it, because in the past @xxxxxxxxxx has sent them to a favourable destination. There is inherent trust that it’s not a malware or virus link and credibility that they can pass the link on to their followers and not look stupid. So how is this influence? I never asked for a retweet, they were “naturally influenced” to do so.
    13. 13. Step 3 – Get organised
    14. 14. Page categories RSS Feeds http://www.google.com/ig Google Widgets
    15. 15. Step 4 – Pick the right tools
    16. 16. Tabbed browsing Blog bookmarklet One-click page bookmark Amplify bookmarklet Delicious side-bar plug-in (embedded tag search)
    17. 17. Step 5 – Connect with peers and experts
    18. 18. http://www.communities.idea.gov.uk
    19. 19. Summary: Personal Knowledge and Information Management 5. Grow 4. The your right tools network! 3. Personalise 2. Share 1. Tune in
    20. 20. Questions? http://steve-dale.net Blog http://stephendale.net stephendale http://twitter.com/stephendale

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