Thursday, June 18, 2015

How to survive clients that want information within 1 hour?

I attended the intermediate level educational program put on by the Competitive Intelligence Division of SLA, presented by Lynn Strand, the Principal of Outside Knowledge LCC. In this session, Lynn presents a Quick take session entitled: "What to Do When They Say "Give Me Everything You Have  on ... and Not Freak Out Because They Want it in An Hour". Below are her 9 tips in bullet form which can be helpful to both special librarians and independent information professionals.

  1. Don't panic. That does not help.
  2. Trust yourself. You can do this.
  3. They do not want everything. Just an overview. In fact, they really don't know what they want.
  4. Use "trends" in your search terms. This will retrieve information that provides an overview or that is broad in scope or focus.
  5. Use resources you already know. Exhaust the familiar first.
  6. Plan to search for 30 minutes and then give yourself time to put together your deliverable. Save some time to put together a final report on what you have found and don't spend all of it on searching for information.
  7. Have a flexible template. For doing research reports, you need to have a template that all you need to do is put in new content and not worry about formatting.
  8. Keep it to 3 pages or less. Right at the top of those pages, indicate three to four things the client must know. Hence, the most important information first.
  9. Do a Google file type research. Sometimes the commercial databases may not contain the information you are looking for. Hence, if this fails, use Google search for file types like pdf, ppt. or doc. in order to retrieve the information you need.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Distilling the career wisdom and stories of SLA 2015

So I am gratefully to have attended SLA 2015 in Boston and in this post, I want to share some of the career wisdom and stories shared on June 14, 2015 from the opening  and general session.

For this session, as I listened to the career stories of the SLA awardees, I was impressed at the diversity of awardees featured. I saw international awardees from Asia and the Middle East, awardees that recently graduated as students and were newly active in the profession, and awardees that were faculty of library schools.

In particular, I listened to two speakers. The first was the awardee, Marjorie Hlava, who received the John Cotton Dana award. Her career gems to me were:
  • Employers allow us to learn their business and give us the opportunities to serve their needs. Hence we are indebted to employers who give us opportunities to learn, grow and give back. They provide us with the opportunity to develop new skills and expertise, and to get experience and practice in serving the needs of others.
  • Since what we do in our daily jobs have changed, but the principles remain the same, we must test assumptions to see if they are still relevant or not. After doing this, we must remove barriers, give access to all members and remove unnecessary rules and regulation.
Marjorie Hlava
The next speaker that I documented career gems and wisdom from was the SLA 2015 conference keynote speaker, Leigh Gallagher . Gallagher is a Fortune Magazine editor and journalist, and author of the book The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving. Gallagher was a useful speaker because she spoke about herself as a user of libraries and librarians as well as provided some advice for how librarians can better advocate for their value in business organizations.

Gem #1: The process of planning is more important than the plan itself
Gallagher first described her job as being paid to become an expert on any topic by doing research.
She spoke about how she always over-researched a topic just to be over-prepared. In this discussion Gallagher made the statement that plans are not really as important as the planning process. The planning process is more important than the document or plan itself.

Gem #2: Librarians need to develop and write business cases
Gallagher also talked about the need for information professionals to document case studies when information helped a company to make a better decision. She described such case writing as a "show- don't tell- cases of how information provided helped a company make a crucial or critical decision.

Gem # 3: New names suggested for libraries
Gallagher also suggested that information professionals consider alternate names to libraries such as the "Wisdom lab" or the "Wisdom Vault".

Coming up in future posts: Tips that I gathered from other speakers and also a post on my own conference presentation with a link and embedded slide presentation .