Friday, 28 June 2013

CILIP rebrand - Let's help the process, not trip it up

I'd like to say a few things about the CILIP rebranding. There's not much more to add to the debate, but  this is my take:

  • Most people agree CILIP isn't a very good name. I've heard no dispute on this one.
  • The CILIP logo and colour scheme are over 10 years old. That's quite a long time for a brand, how much longer could it last?
  • £35,000 is actually not that much money when you think about CILIP's annual income and expenditure. The project cost detailed by CILIP includes designs and implementation, as well as consultation. If the new brand lasts another 10 years and contributes to the professional body becoming more influential then it would be hard to argue this is anything other than value for money.
  • Most people don't like change. The consultation process has not managed this fact very well at all.

I don't think the rebrand should be stopped. I agree that the existing brand is holding our professional body back, and I don't believe that it will be able to grow its influence without a clearer identity.

I do want to see the dialogue continuing though, and I'd like to see evidence of what the branding means to people outside of the existing membership. The existing c15000 members that CILIP represents matter greatly, but that number should be higher - people who may join under our umbrella in the future if they felt the identity of CILIP matched their own. Also, many of the the people CILIP needs to influence are not members. The brand needs to be able to reach them as well as reflect us.

We've all got pet lists of things we'd like to change about CILIP (mine include: stop paywalling the magazine!) but I believe it is a fundamentally good thing and deserves our support when acting in good faith to sustain and develop itself for our benefit.

The process may not have been handled brilliantly so far, but stopping this work in its tracks would undermine attempts to develop what CILIP does. Let's help them find a better name and brand, not trip them up.

Monday, 24 June 2013

OAI8 - What I heard, talked about and learnt

I spent three days last week at the 8th CERN Workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication, known as OAI8, in Geneva. The conference runs every two years and I attended once before in 2011. This year saw a record attendance of over 300 librarians, academics, information scientists and other interested parties. The event manages to feel more like a big workshop than other familiar information conferences, and attracts varied speakers and participants. Among the things it does especially well:
  • Encouraging sharing and asking of questions. From the tradition that everyone bring a drink from their own country to the café style workshops that encourage people to learn something new, sharing of experience is central to the appeal and value of OAI. 
  • Being international. Simple really – no national agendas lead here. The thinking is macro-level and all better for it. 
I attended pretty much every available session apart from one morning where an extra half an hour with a coffee and croissant were too irresistible. Highlights from the programme are easy to pick out:
  • Open Access Café – a great format that gives small groups time to discuss a particular issue with genuine experts. I spent time with University of Glasgow’s William Nixon, RLUK’s David Prosser and Dr. Rupert Gatti of Open Book Publishers and the University of Cambridge, who all shared their insights on repository development, Open Access advocacy and the potential of OA monographs respectively. 
  • Plenary 5: Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences – Perhaps the highlight of the whole conference. An excellent session, which put disciplines often starved of attention in Open Access discussions right in the limelight. The discussions on the humanities in and for the digital age, open monographs and opening up the World Bank were provocative and vibrant. This bodes well for the forthcoming Open Access Monographs in the Humanities and Social Sciences Conference at the British Library.
  • Metrics – all three sessions here were good but I'd particularly recommend Johan Bollen's overview of this super fast moving area. Check out his 'metrics cubed' diagram (snapped here by Natalia Madjarevic).
  • Research Data: the overview of research data policies by Dr. Wolfram Horstmann was excellent, and Kevin Ashley provided food for thought on what different people want from research data.
My key takeaways and interpretations from this very enjoyable event:
  • Libraries need to do TONS more on making excellent OA research books discoverable. Thanks to Rupert Gatti and Marin Dacos for reminding us.
  • Open Access = global readership. We seem to forget about this but I think we should be saying any chance we get.
  • Gold Open Access and Article Processing Charges are not the same thing – other models are available! The lessons we learnt we to think creatively, think about value for money and be flexible.
  • (Open) Access and Reuse are not the same thing. I think we should be wary of letting issues or enabling reuse slow down the progress towards access.
If you are looking for an event that goes beyond detailed discussion of repository software, that nourishes collaborative efforts, and will inspire you to support innovation in scholarly communications, then I can highly recommend that you put OAI9 on your 2015 horizon. 


Other minor OAI things to share:
  • CERN is amazing. If you ever get to visit Genva go and see the Globe - they do tours.
  • The conference back-channel was so good someone archived it (of course):
  • Photographs including images of your author standing around, waving his arms at people and drinking coffee can be found here.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

And you may ask yourself - how did I get here?

I often say that your career path only make sense backwards, and that's certainly true of mine. I'm certain that luck has played a big role in the path I've travelled so far but I do think there is something to learn about being in the right place to make the most of your luck when things go your way.

There are a few things I'd like to recommend to you if you're not sure what the future holds, but you want to be ready for whatever comes along:

Update your CV when you don't need to

Those quiet times when you're comfortable in a job are the perfect time to update your CV. I used to update mine with tired eyes usually on the evening that a job application needed to be submitted. Now I force myself to update it when I'm settled in somewhere. 

This works well for me for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it's a great way of taking stock of where you are and how you are developing professionally. Second, it can save you a lot of pressure if a job comes up at short notice. Finally, you can match it against opportunities when they come up more easily. I just find it so much easier to see a picture of what my experience looks like when it's written down.

Write down your publications, presentations and events attended

I've never included these on my CV before so I'm sure I can't be the only one who fails at this routinely. Recently I decided to collate them, and it was much harder to do now than if I'd kept track at the time! It amazed me to see it all written down together. It seems so strange now that I'd never done this before.

Remember that it's a small sector really and people you meet now often turn up in unexpected places:

I'm pretty bad with remembering names. Anything that helps me here is welcome, and I do use LinkedIn to help me keep touch with people. One thing I've just done is to turn on the feature on that lets people see if you look at their profile. It should allow me to learn more about the clicks that my profile gets, but I also decided that if I wanted to look at other people's profiles then there's no reason why I should hide it. I guess if you're a stalker then this advice won't be for you, but otherwise I think there is nothing to lose. Also, in terms of building a professional profile I don't mind if my name pops up occasionally on there.   
    I can't tell you how often people I've met at conferences, tweeted, read and listened to that have ended up working with me, interviewing me (or interviewed by me), or just reappeared somewhere in my professional life.

    These are fairly small scale, common-sense suggestions I think, but doing these things has helped me feel just a little bit more in control when your career will have a life all of its own.