How to Make Yourself Indispensable
Tim Buckley Owen, Independent Information Industry Commentator, United Kingdom
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What does the future hold for information services, and how can library and information professionals ensure that they continue to be seen as playing a useful role? Processes like vendor subscription management or copyright compliance remain important. But the routine side of the job is likely to become increasingly automated and commoditised, so information managers must be able to offer more.
They need to demonstrate not just the skills they have but the outcomes they can deliver – warning their organisations of growing risks, or even saving their clients from embarrassment. This means not only being able to spot emerging trends in information, but also considering whether those trends will be sustained, or reversed by some new disruptive development.
Graphs don’t move in the same direction for ever, small developments can presage big changes, and sometimes conventional wisdom is just plain wrong. Information professionals need to develop sensitive antennae to try to spot these developments and advise their bosses or clients accordingly.
This presentation suggests several signs of change to look out for. They include simultaneous parallel developments or patterns of activity in different organisations or communities, and developments that appear counter-cyclical or counter-intuitive. ‘Straws in the wind’ (small, isolated changes that could develop into a trend) and signs of backlash against current practice also provide useful clues to the future.
These signs of change are illustrated by specific developments that are occurring currently within the information industry or are likely to have an impact upon it.
Author's professional CV
Tim Buckley Owen is an independent writer on the information industry and a trainer in information skills. With 40 years’ experience in the information profession, his career has encompassed information management, writing, editing, training, government policy advice and corporate media & marketing.
He is currently the news editor for FreePint’s VIP magazine and LiveWire forum, edits the newsletter and media monitoring service of the Press Database & Licensing Network, and writes regularly for Information World Review.
He also runs training courses through his own Buckley Owen Training service, as well as for Aslib, CILIP and Westminster Explained. Skills covered include enquiry handling (both face-to-face and remote), abstracting and summarising (from printed documents and the web), information packaging and presentation, and basic information management.
Finally, the sixth edition of his classic textbook, Successful Enquiry Answering Every Time, will be published later this year. Tim’s full profile is available on LinkedIn and you can contact him at email@example.com.