Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Web site to web presence - response to Bob McKee, CILIP UK

CILIP and Twitter?
Bob McKee is the Chief Executive of CILIP, The UK Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals, and cousin to the likes of the local LIANZA here in New Zealand, and ALIA in Australia. He is also a member of the Governing Board and Executive Committee of IFLA.

Recently, albeit with some style, he has ruffled the feathers of a good few of the more web 2.0 end of the UK library profession by airly suggesting on his blog that CILIP doesn't need to be on Twitter. Or as he puts it:

",,, There's some twittering at present about whether CILIP has (or should have) any "official" presence on various lists or micro blog sites.

The simple answer, of course, is no. In terms of "official" activity, cyber life is just like real like - if it happens in a CILIP-sanctioned space, it's official; if it happens down the pub or in someone else's space, it isn't.

But there's a deeper question to address. As everybody networks with everybody else in an increasingly informal and always-on way, how do organisations maintain a culture of inclusion and, at the same time, retain a methodical approach to work planning, managing, and decision-making? ..."
full post - here
Opening up his blog to outsiders
As might be imagined this view is not universally held, either by CILIP members, or others in the UK library world, and they said so. Some with passion - e.g here

In a move to retake the initiative he has opened up his blog to outsiders - i.e. non CILIP members, and adorned himself with a very light angora hair shirt through a subsequent blog post in which he says, 'CILIP needs to develop a culture of working on the web'. See here.

Let's Try That
He also posted a thoughtful and engaging blog post - let's try that - offering his thoughts on how that might happen, here.

As I note below I have met Bob McKee. He is a very able, intelligent, and indeed, as he points out, convivial guy. However, I was so intrigued by the conversation his post provoked, last night I made a contribution. Re-reading it this morning , I thought it might bear repeating. The rest of the discussion is here - however - this, with some minor edits, is what I posted.


Web sites - the web presence
Greetings from Auckland, New Zealand. Bob and I met in New Plymouth a couple of years ago when he came to visit NZ public library managers, et al. I can totally confirm his description of himself as a convivial chap. He was also insightful, and articulate on many of the issues facing the library profession, especially around professional accreditation.

The post about Twiitter
On his original post on Twitter - well - as my comments below might suggest, I think he is just plain wrong on that one. CILIP needs to be on Twitter starting from today. It's a wonderful place to share thinking/networks

However, I would like to congratulate him on opening up the blog to outsiders and for his more recent comment, "CILIP needs to develop a culture of working on the web" This sounds like a willingness to be part of a conversation, and I'd like to make a contribution to that.

Web site to web presence
For the record, I spend almost all of my time working out where digital is at the moment - and where it is going.

There is a major sea change happening in the web right now - it is rapidly moving away from the notion of Web 2.0 as a series of participation tools in the likes of blogs or new services/platforms like Twitter.

This change is about replacing the notion of a stand alone web site, or institutional presence with the notion of 'web presence' where everyone has a myriad of personalised digital touch points to family - work - community - society - et al. This means we will all be part of a vibrant digital ecology of place - tools and service points.

The entire web will be social
And as part of that people will move away from social networks as special places to do special activities like being social, and will in contrast use the web as one giant social network.

In short the next generation web will be a a social web.

I also strongly believe that libraries have a very big part to play in this transformation and that, accordingly, libraries, their stakeholders, and their institutions [like CILIP] need to extend their current DNA, including their collections expertise, into all the different parts of the emerging web ecology.

Web ecology
By web ecology I mean all of the pieces and places that now define the emerging next generation of web services and web activities.

This isn't a smokescreen for being more web 2.0 - e.g about Bob's blog having an RSS feed - it's about my being able to take all the digital pieces of CILIP [and by extension my local library] and managing them within my own web landscape of sources, people, and personal professional/cultural/ practice.

In this definition there is no closed CILIP world of professionalism - rather the professionalism that defines CILIP is on show inside 'my' personalised knowledge/learning/cultural landscape.

Being Digital
In short - being digital means just that - i.e. participating in both the development and the outcomes of a world in which people - place and cultural/economic/social/political practice will use digital pathways to extend and develop their lives.

I think CILIP has a big role to play in this - as do it's members and the institutions they work for. I also think that if CILIP and their members fail to rise to this challenge/opportunity - they are toast.

[Postscript - by definition I also think the same is true of LIANZA and ALIA]


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