Tag Archives: Library and Information Management

Umbrella 2013 – a view from a CILIP trainer

By Elisabeth Goodman

The last time I attended a ‘CILIP’ conference was in the days of one of its predecessors: The Institute of Information Scientists (IIS).  So it was a real treat to have the opportunity to catch-up with so many people (about 600) practicing a range of careers relating to Library and Information Management.

The following blog is based on my tweets, and those of others that I re-tweeted in the sessions that I attended.  (There were many other sessions running in parallel and after I left which you will no doubt be able to catch-up on from other tweets and blogs from the event – just follow #UB13).

Training for Library and Information Professionals

On @CILIPinfo stand until conference kicks off if anyone wants to discuss training

I am one of CILIP’s ‘on-site’ trainers so this conference was also invaluable for networking with and meeting people with an interest in some form of training.  I had lots of great conversations and I’m looking forward to more of these with the CILIP team.

Born Digital?  The British Library at 40

I had not realised quite how wide the British Library’s scope is, and all the ways in which it is developing.  The following tweets just give a flavour of what Roly Keating, the Chief Executive, managed to convey of its 40-year history (and of what is to come) in just 40 minutes.

Really inspiring keynote @rolykeating digital melting the boundaries between departments & institutions & the BL’s fantastic projects! PTEG ‏@cilippteg19h

@rolykeating excellent opening speech – good challenge for British Library to “connect as well as collect”

@rolykeating great achievements re: British Library in helping new businesses and fostering learning

News has broken its print mooring & this reflected in BL building new partnerships with BBC and new media and news centre Phil Bradley ‏@Philbradley20h

Focus session: Future skills and future roles

This was one of 4 parallel focus sessions to choose from, and it consisted in itself of 3 presentations – lots of very rich content in this conference!

Up first was an overview of CPD23 – 23 things for continuous professional development and a self-help programme of learning initiated by Niamh Tumelty and others, which has experienced a tremendous take-up and success.

Niamh and Jo Alcock compared CPD23 with CILIP’s wheel and diagnostic tool – PKSB  (Professional Knowledge Skills Base).  It seems there are tremendous opportunities here for harnessing people’s enthusiasm for learning, the resources from CPD23, the use of the PKSB diagnostic tool and the range of onsite training available for both continous professional development, and chartership.

“@RareLibrarian1: Didn’t know about PKSB online – excellent CPD tool to target your professional weaknesses” for library / info mgmt

Great to see positive take-up of CPD23 & strong mapping with @CILIPcpd PKSB for professional development

We then heard from…

Keri Gray from Sue Hill talking on managing change Jane Roberts ‏@jane_roberts8519h

This is the subject of one of the courses that I offer through CILIP – Achieving successful business change.  The following tweets tell the story …

People are scared of change (especially mothers!) – huge topic affecting everyone in all sectors of libraries. Hannah Thomas ‏@RareLibrarian119h

Big themes for change in Library & Info Mgmt are budgetary cuts, use of volunteers & non-professionals, digitisation

Barriers to change similar to other sectors/professions: reluctance, resources, time, expertise, accountability, need to self-promote

Coping with change – requires a change in mind-set (yes!) – many in room having to manage teams with fixed mindsets

Successful change projects place users at their heart, are aspirational, engage internally as well as externally

And last but not least in the session was Ka-Ming Pang’s truly inspirational presentation (and there were a few other inspirational talks during the conference) about how she initiated the tweet chat #uklibchat – and how it has simply taken off as another forum for sharing learnings and knowledge, and for CPD.

The prezi for my #ub13 presentation is up on the #uklibchat page: http://uklibchat.wordpress.com/about-uklibchat/ … Ka-Ming @AgentK23

The power of SM is demonstrated by #uklibchat to get librarians talking about topics that interest them Jo Whitcombe ‏@jowhit19h

#uklibchat summarised online and archived so always available as a resource. Free way to meet other professionals with new approaches! Hannah Thomas ‏@RareLibrarian119h

Uklibchat – a way to share expertise on library topics on Twitter. Check out http://uklibchat.wordpress.com/  Alan Brine ‏@alanbrine19h

#uklibchat recognised as counting towards CILIP chartership. Meaningful conversation with structure and professional inputHannah Thomas ‏@RareLibrarian119h

Liz Jolly: As information professionals we can’t afford to not use social media

Jo Alcock: I have some very valuable conversations on Twitter and these occur during work time

Information professionals – using our own information management skills to manage our own online presence. Hannah Thomas ‏@RareLibrarian119h

Where does internet end and library begin?

This was one of the debate sessions taking place during the conference, although sometimes, as in this one, it was just fascinating to sit back and listen to what the speakers had to say!

Session on “Where does internet end and library begin?” Access to knowledge & community coming together are common themes #kmers

@librarygame Interesting perspective on how activities such as book borrowing can be gamified: they have challenges, rules & actions

RT @librarygame: Here’s our new site —hot off the coding table librarygame.co.uk  Unbrella2013

Focus session: Beyond Information Matters

Next up “@gig_cilip: Reflecting on Yesterday, Understanding Today, Planning for Tomorrow: Brian Kelly, UKOLN”

Brian’s was a very enjoyable exploration of this general theme.

[Incidentally, Brian mentioned that a paper has been prepared to raise the profile of Information Management within CILIP…

As ex-IIS member – good to hear that @CILIPinfo pushing for more emphasis on Information Management]

Brian was followed by…

Graham Monk, DWP speaking on Sharepoint though not (yet) using it

And these tweets tell the story…

Do we need sharepoint to do our job? Personally think share point needs info professionals to properly exploit it.Simon Edwards ‏@SimonEdwards7515h

Key challenges with implementing #Sharepoint are collecting & cleaning the content & aligning work practices

Again – reasons for information technology (#Sharepoint) given as managing content & enabling communities (virtual teams

Other reasons for #Sharepoint: information overload, finding info, rework, waste of resource, inability to answer questions

Simon Barron followed…

@simonxix common tensions tween IT & librarians/information mgrs yet increasing emergence of cybrarians

Speaking at now on librarian-IT hybrids, technology in LIS, and transhumanism. Follow along at home: http://ow.ly/mxqD0  Simon Barron ‏@SimonXIX15h

Nice representation of librarian / shambrarian overlap by @SimonXIX accredited to @daveyp #ub13 pic.twitter.com/fgmTRLSDNz Karen Bates ‏@karenfbates15h

@simonxix: we need to be where the users (of library / information services) are and they are on the internet

Is it a bird?  Is it a plane?  No, it’s a librarian!

This was the final session of Day 1 and a wonderful case study of the work of a Clinical Librarian, Victoria Treadway, from the Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, jointly presented with Dr Girendra Sadera, a Consultant Critical Care & Anaesthesia there.

RT @charlotteprew Fantastic & inspirational .. talk by @Librarianpocket & @sadera65 .. about developing role of a clinical librarian

Subject librarians / information scientists could learn lots re: delivering business impact from @Librarianpocket @sadera65 case study

Here’s our film on the Clinical Librarian supporting ward rounds in Critical Care: bit.ly/172NVA0 Victoria Treadway @Librarianpocket

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a librarian! View my Prezi from Umbrella 2013 here: http://tinyurl.com/pvku3nc  

Storify: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a librarian! http://sfy.co/hNQT  Victoria Treadway @Librarianpocket

An evening at MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry) – mosi.org.uk

This was our evening outing with the Library Awards ceremony  (won by @SurreyLibraries)

Now watching video clips about projects short listed for Libraries Change Lives awards cilip.org.uk/about-us/medal… niamhpage

… and dinner followed by enthralling talk by Fi Glover of the BBC.

Fi Glover doing our after dinner speech! So funny! pic.twitter.com/fL1691sYRV anniemauger

Firgrove Mill tandem compound condensing engine made by J. and W. McNaught, Rochdale, c.1907

Firgrove Mill tandem compound condensing engine made by J. and W. McNaught, Rochdale, c.1907

Day 2 – Highlighting and using your expertise

We had an inspirational keynote from Janice Lachance, CEO of the Special Libraries Association International.

Look for opportunities, take risks, make a difference not just a living, Janice Lachance pic.twitter.com/isCva9x2Zl daveparkes

Great to hear @JaniceLachance talking about non-traditional roles for library and information professionals and using our expertise joeyanne

@JaniceLachance Think holistically re: information needs of organisation & align your inner entrepreneur w/ its & leadership’s goals

(There was quite a lot of Twitter chat about her comments on the word “Librarian” – a great word with a strong historical tradition but a limiting definition?  Maybe?)

Focus session: Information to support society

I was keen to attend at least one of the sessions organized by the Information Literacy group, as I also run training on how to promote IL to end users (a combination of change management and marketing approaches that is also picked up in a UKeIG course that I run jointly with Shaida Dorabjee – Marketing and internal change: a case study based approach…).

Next up: ‘A critical approach to information literacy’ with @walkyouhome CILIPNWBranch

@walkyouhome Advocating better information literacy training thru’ pedagogical approaches, critical thinking & democratic engagement

RT @calire: A critical approach to information literacy  slideshare.net/laurensmith/a-… ijclark

Debate: community managed libraries

The last session that I was able to attend before heading off home! It seemed like a change programme in itself…

Community managed libraries a change programme for the community – librarians can support through consultation & on-going sustaining

Terrific turn-out on a dark evening at consultation on Community Managed Libraries in Yorkshire was early indication of engagement

And so home…

On my way home from excellent @umbrella_2013 #UB13 conference – will be writing my blog on the train! [which I did!]


Elisabeth Goodman is the owner and Principal Consultant of RiverRhee Consulting and a trainer, facilitator, one-to-one coach, speaker and writer, with a passion for and a proven track record in improving team performance and leading business change projects on a local or global basis. 

Elisabeth is an expert in knowledge management, and is accredited in change management, Lean Six Sigma and MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator).  She has a BSc in Biochemistry, an MSc in Information Science, is a full member of the Chartered Institute of Information and Library Professionals (CILIP) and of the Association for Project Management (APM) and is also a Growth Coach with the GrowthAccelerator.

Elisabeth has 25+ years’ Pharma R&D experience as a line manager and internal trainer / consultant, most recently at GSK and its legacy companies, and is now enjoying working with a number of SMEs and larger organisations around the Cambridge cluster as well as further afield in the UK and in Europe.

The Future of Project Management – an evening with Paul Major

The Eastern Branch of the APM held a very enjoyable evening seminar on the future of project management with Paul Major (@changemakerPM, http://paulmajor.wordpress.com) on Wednesday 7th November.
I captured Paul’s main points, and the course of the discussion in a series of tweets, which I’ve reproduced here with some additional notes.

Shifted from delivering transformational change through “personal heroics” to using Project Management for success!

Paul’s origins are in leading transformational change, and indeed this is his continuing focus.  But the difference he discovered some years ago was in being introduced to the rigorous processes of Project Management and how these can make transformational change more successful.

Paul’s emphasis now on how to change things in a way that can be sustained through facilitation & influence

Just introducing something new and hoping that it will take hold is of course not enough – effective change relies on changing behaviours and mindsets.  That is what Paul aims to do.

Just doing team hoohah to get started!

This was a very interactive seminar!  Now and again we would do a team ‘hoohah’ to get ourselves energized and ready to talk to each other… That was the theory, and in fact everyone joined in, had a laugh and it worked very well.

Prehistory from 2570BC; exploring 1870-1956; forming 1967-1974; adapting to 1996; defining to 2010

Paul took us though an interesting journey.  Project Management has, as we know, been around a very long time – how would the pyramids been built without it.  The various PM organisations were formed in the 1960s-1970s, and lots of new training, standards and reference books started to emerge in the following decades and yet, Paul argues, we are still very much in the ‘defining’ stage of the profession.

APM membership accelerating at rate of extra 1000 members per year since 2006

The growth in membership has definitely been exponentially accelerating and is now around 20,000.

Olympics radically changed public perception / recognition of Project Management

The Project Management associated with the London 2012 Olympics was not only highly effective, but also seems to be making the professional suddenly more glamorous!

Living in a world that is changing beyond exponentially – amount of things & change – that is the world for Project Managers to deal with!

We watched what became, at least for me, a very scary video!  I know the world is changing exponentially in terms of the growth of data, information, knowledge; people’s connection to the internet; the size of populations etc..  But there’s nothing like seeing a graphic catalogue of the actual figures to really bring this home.

Using dreamer, realist and critic mindsets to explore this theme

I really enjoyed Paul’s approach to this workshop.  Being a facilitator myself, it’s fun to experience someone else facilitating me for a change, and to learn from their techniques.  We split into 3 groups and each group had to play one of these roles to explore what the future of project management might be.  Being in the ‘critic’ group was a tough one for me as I am in eternal optimist!  Paul has listed the outputs on his blog – http://paulmajor.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/apm-east-of-england-event/ – and the next few tweets were my summary.

  • Realist: motivation, people skills, high visibility, all needed to greater extent going forward; + more process
  • Critic: won’t be able to keep up with profession; more maverick; organisations want specialism
  • Dreamer: PM taught from early age; PM held in esteem; common language; automatic lessons learned (sic)

Paul’s view: PM’s will become the world’s changemakers (aside have heard same for #IM /Library profession)

The first part of the tweet speaks for itself.  The aside is a reflection of what I have heard with one of my other professional hats in the field of Information Management and Librarianship.  They too wonder about their changing roles in a world of exponential change and where people have ready access to information but perhaps are not always accessing and evaluating it effectively.

Our challenge is not creating and managing successful processes

Paul suggested that Project Managers are perhaps too inwardly focused on the mechanics of project management and should instead be focused on the next tweet.

Enabling change creates a real legacy & sustainable benefits

PM’s should be focusing on what they are creating for their stakeholders, now and in the longer term – as the Olympics team has done.

Being taught as a life skill in (some) primary schools

I think this was news for some of the participants.  Another interesting aside is the greater emphasis on ‘Information Literacy’ as a Life Skill in secondary schools at least.  Does anyone reading this blog know if that is also being taught in primary schools?

PM is now one of only 4 recognised professions in Siemens: will fail if not brilliant at PM

Paul was speaking from his discussions with people at Siemens – borne out by one of the delegates whose daughter also works there.  I wonder to what extent this is echoed in other innovation based organisations?  The next 2 tweets were about PM being key not only in the private but other sectors:

  • PM is competitive advantage in private sector
  • PM is key to enable service delivery in public sector to meet changing needs

PM profession still 1st generation talking about definitions – need to move to 2nd level & do something with it

Echoing an earlier point..

Otherwise someone else will move into PM space & will become process jockeys cf. Institute of Change Management

I can’t remember which Change Management organisation Paul was referring too in his talk.  There are a few!  One of them is the Change Management Institute, which has a UK branch – http://change-management-institute-uk.com/index.php  Interestingly, they do list Project Management as one of their competencies.

Forrester Research 2009 PM skills much more about emotional intelligence / soft skills to influence thinking

I didn’t pick up the details on this, but did find this very interesting presentation which mentions soft and other skills – http://www.slideshare.net/gotomeeting/project-management-by-forrester-research

PMs focus on the route & process; stakeholders focus on the end point – PMs need to reflect that

This and the next two tweets echoed and summarised earlier points

  • Shift from PMs delivering an output to changemakers delivering a legacy!
  • Shift from safe pair of hands (though still need them) to changemakers (some exist already)

Dr Martin Barnes: Project Management is the management of change…

I didn’t pick up the full quote, but this is the CEO of APM basically reinforcing Paul’s point about the changing role of Project Managers

Excellent presentation from@changemakerPM http://paulmajor.wordpress.com

Yes – all-in-all an excellent way to spend a Thursday evening!  And I am now following Paul on twitter and wordpress.

PM key to our survival in society!

Some of Paul’s closing words!

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that helps business teams to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale.

Elisabeth has 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry where she has held line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis. 

Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and in Lean Sigma and is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals), and APM (Association for Project Management).

Lean and Six Sigma in R&D and Service Delivery – opportunities and challenges

I’ve just finished reading Michael George’s “Lean and Six Sigma for Service”1, a very useful refresher on many of the key concepts of Lean and Six Sigma, as well as a useful perspective on the challenges and opportunities for applying the tools and methodologies in non-manufacturing environments.

Learning from books like these is always helpful to enrich long-term projects with clients such as RiverRhee Consulting’s current work with a Pharmaceutical Contract Research Organisation (CRO), for conference workshops and presentations such as those coming up with IQPC2,3, and for our growing portfolio of training courses involving Lean and Six Sigma for Library and Information professionals and others4!

Here are some key themes from the book which readers of this blog might find helpful.

Lean and Six Sigma can be applied to R&D and to Services.

Although this is now a fairly well accepted fact, Lean and Six Sigma practitioners will still find people reticent to adopt the methodologies and tools with the argument that they are not manufacturing, not producing ‘goods’ and that their work is not translatable to standardized processes.

George clearly demonstrates with case studies from such sectors as banking and hospitals that Lean and Six Sigma clearly can be applied to services, and that information and people are the key components in their processes.

The same is true in R&D, with perhaps more emphasis on information (and data and knowledge).  Indeed, in my days as an Information Manager, we often talked about information flow, and information mapping of both internal and external (published) information as inputs and outputs of the R&D process.

Just as in manufacturing, Lean and Six Sigma in services and R&D will help us to address:

  • Customer focus
  • Reduction or elimination of defects and wasted time, effort and money
  • Improving speed
  • Reducing complexity (more about this later)
  • All levels of organisations and processes

There are some very real challenges in applying Lean and Six Sigma to Services and R&D

Processes in a service or R&D environment, other than those required for legal, regulatory or safety reasons are much less visible than in manufacturing.  And yet once a discussion is opened on these, it’s likely that many variations on carrying out the same piece of work, and the opportunities and benefits of identifying and implementing best practices will be discovered.

There is a tradition of people valuing and perhaps being rewarded for their individual and creative problem solving approach, and a fear that standardizing ways of doing things might threaten that.  The value of standardizing approaches to free up creativity is something I’ve talked about elsewhere5.

The lack of (meaningful) data around service delivery and service and R&D process performance can be a real challenge, although for Library and Information professionals this is something they are increasingly conscious of – see for example a recent article in CILIP’s Gazette6.

‘Waste’ in services and R&D is also less tangible than in manufacturing, but certainly the experience of RiverRhee Consulting’s clients is that you only need to start paying attention to the way you are doing your work to discover lots of exciting opportunities for improvement!

How to not treat customers as inventory

This is a great concept for Services to consider with respect to their end-users, and for R&D (and Service) organisations to consider with their internal customers (or “process partners” as George suggests as alternative terminology).

I was reminded of the value of his suggested approach whilst queuing to go through passport control in the Paris Eurostar terminal.  It’s an approach that is also used (not always in an enjoyable way for us end-users) by Call Centres.

Rather than letting your customers (or their requests, issues etc.) pile up as ‘work in process’ and adversely affect the average processing time, George suggests using a triage system.  That way, the straight-forward customers e.g. those going through passport control with no visa issues, criminal records etc. can be waived through in less than a minute.  Specialised staff can be on-hand to deal with customers, requests or issues needing more detailed attention.

This is an approach that Medical Information Services for instance have chosen to adopt, with front-line staff (or generalists) dealing with more routine queries, and internal more specialised staff available to deal with the others.

The importance of addressing complexity

George’s description of why and how to address complexity is well worth reading in detail.  Put simply this is about recognizing that people and processes will be less productive if they are:

  1. Having to deal with many different ways of doing things
  2. Juggling too many things at once

So for instance if a Pharmaceutical R&D environment has many different assays, but only 20% of them are being used to meet 80% of their internal or external customer needs, then they need to reconsider the value (or return on investment) of that wider range of assays.  The challenge for their staff, and potentially their processes is the greater set-up time and learning needed to deal with less familiar assays.

Similarly, a Library and Information Service providing a wide range of choices to end-users, might want to set the expense and skills needed to maintain that choice against the number of customers using them and the value to them or any form of revenue generated.

Additionally, any form of standardization that can be introduced in the intermediate process steps involved to deliver the wider choice for internal and external customers, will cut down on the additional expertise, learning and time needed for routine activities, speed them up, and free people up to devote that time and expertise to being creative, innovative and contributing even more value to customers!

By the way, this is also something that Stephen Covey talks about7.

Achieving successful implementation of Lean and Six Sigma

George gives a very useful step-wise set of guidelines, amply illustrated by case studies on planning and preparing for implementation (readiness), making sure that all the key players are excited about and asking for the change (engagement), putting the infrastructure in place (mobilization), and actually implementing, monitoring and learning from the results (performance and control).

How to successfully implement change is a perennial challenge, in Service and R&D organisations as elsewhere.  It’s one that we touched on in our recent RiverRhee Consulting newsletter8, and it’s one that I will be speaking about at IQPC’s conference in April3.


  1. Lean and Six Sigma in Service, by Michael L George, McGraw-Hill, 2003
  2. Applying knowledge management to operational excellence in a laboratory environment,  Smart Lab Exchange, 28 February – 2 March, 2011, Marriott Hotel, Berlin http://www.smartlabexchange.com/Event.aspx?id=369178
  3. Business Process Excellence for Pharma, Biotech and Medical Devices, 6th-8th April 2011, London, UK http://www.bpe-pharma.com/Event.aspx?id=441160
  4. RiverRhee Consulting training programmehttp://www.riverrhee.com/Training-and-Development-110.html
  5. How Lean can bring real benefits to innovation in Pharmaceutical Research Six Sigma & Process Excellence IQ, 8th January 2010, http://www.sixsigmaiq.com/article.cfm?externalID=1720
  6. Penny Bailey.  Fighting cuts with facts and figures, Gazette, 30 September – 13 October 2010, p 10
  7. “Predictable results in unpredictable times”, by Stephen R. Covey, Bob Whitman and Breck England. FranklinCovey Publishing, 2009.
  8. Effectively engaging customers in change management and day-to-day work, RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, December 2010 http://wp.me/p1jPm6-d

NetIKX write-up: Using social media to achieve organisational goals – the next steps

Follow this link for my write-up of the recent NetIKX Seminar: Using social media to achieve organisational goals.  Themes covered include:

  • A shift from skepticism about, to evangelism for Social Media?
  • Social Media can be used by Library and Information Departments for a diverse range of purposes
  • The adoption of Social Media will be evolutionary, with some people leading the way
  • There needs to be a fine balance between policies and trust
  • Increased adoption of social media by organisations will require a cultural change

Note: Elisabeth Goodman is the Programme Events Manager for NetIKX, and is also the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, providing 1:1 guidance, training / workshops and support for enhancing team effectiveness through process improvement, knowledge and change management. She also provides 1:1 tutorials, seminars and workshops on the use of LinkedIn and other social media. Read Elisabeth Goodman’s blog for more discussions on topics covered by this blog.