The Information Age: Challenges & Opportunities
BRIGHTON, A BEAUTIFUL CITY IN THE SOUTH OF ENGLAND, WAS CHOSEN as the venue for the second worldwide conference on special librarianship arranged by the SLA. The first such conference was held in 1979, and both the organisers and delegates expressed the opinion that the third conference should definitely not be scheduled twenty-one years into the future. Twenty-one months was nearer to the mark! About 650 information professionals from all over the world gathered in the Brighton Hilton Metropole Hotel in October 2000, to discuss issues concerning the profession. Hardly any other work environment has been touched so deeply by the huge developments in the information industry. The world has indeed become a global village and we are a part of that.
We as special librarians, information professionals, cybrarians, whatever you wish to call us, need to change to keep up with the needs of our clients, we constantly have to develop new skills and we must be willing to be facilitators in introducing our clients to the possibilities of the Internet. There have been enormous changes in the way we gather information, as well as in the way we present this information to our users. Competitive intelligence is essential to survive in today's business world. We need to co-operate closely with business leaders and show them the value of what we do and we need to change and adapt constantly. Many a special library, or information centre, was "killed" by the unwillingness, or inability, to change.
This conference gave us an opportunity to network and to learn from each other. We must become used to sharing ideas and taking the profession to an even higher level of excellence. Information professionals are often key players in profitless prosperity... bringing success in the work environment and prosperity in life, though not necessarily higher profit.
May I share my perspectives with you through the keynote speakers of the three days of conference:
The first keynote speaker was Dame Stephanie …