Magazine article Information Today
Discovering the Value and Impact of Info Pros
Online Information consists of multiple pieces, one of which is the 3-day full conference. Although the conference is in the same building as the exhibition, it's quite a distance from the exhibit floor. Therefore, many conference delegates spend time ensconced on the third floor of the Olympia Conference Centre, London, immersed in learning from the assortment of presentations.
This year's conference theme was Discover New Ways of Working in the Linked and Social Web. The track that interested me the most was Information Professionals Demonstrating Value and Impact out of the range of offerings about linked data, social media, new platforms, taxonomies, and business models.
On the first day of the conference, Rebecca Davies, director of information services at Aberystwyth University, stressed the necessity for academic libraries to review and revise core values. She also noted that academic librarians must affirm that they work with academic colleagues rather than for them, an important distinction that distinguishes an info pro from a graduate assistant or a nonprofessional person to an equal colleague.
Helen Edwards described her experiences in reinventing the business school library at SKOLKOVO Moscow School of Management. Although she doesn't speak Russian, she was charged with building an English-language collection, and a Russian librarian is handling the Russian-language aspects of the library. Databases are authenticated with OCLC's EZproxy, and usage is tracked with Google Analytics. The library also relies on the PTFS open source library management system.
In the Strategies for Cost Effective Searching session, Karen Blakeman, director at RBA Information Services, detailed the "search engine wars" now raging online. She talked about Google ad preferences affecting search results and showed how different the results are for the same search query depending on which country version of a search engine was used, and we know other search engines exist besides Yahoo!, Bing, and Google. Blakeman pointed to Wolfram Alpha, ChemSpider, and Search4all, noting that web search and social search are not comparable. Mary Ellen Bates of Bates Information Services focused on the hidden features of Google and Yahoo! …