SLA and a Philly Cheesesteak on the Side

By , June 30, 2011 5:02 pm

by Jan Lawrence

I was lucky enough to attend SLA in Philadelphia this year. It came smack in the middle of visiting family and a work trip to our So Cal office, so though I was a bit bleary-eyed, it was a worthwhile, stimulating conference. There seemed to be much franker talk about changes in our profession and adapting (or not) to those changes than I remember in past conferences.  

Here is a potpourri of session tidbits:  

Stephen Abram Looks to the Future: Getting out in Front of the Curve: Stephen Abram is a lively speaker, and he discussed knowledge and judgment. In making good decisions, knowledge is not always the most important thing. Good organizational judgment includes being open to different forms of knowledge; making organizational decisions using “cognitive diversity”; and drawing on people with different approaches to understanding information, with different mental toolkits. More good judgment includes living with the shadow of the future: Stephen gave the example of Norway’s and Dubai’s reactions to oil windfalls in their countries. Norway invested the money for the future; Dubai built a ski slope with artificial snow.  

Delivering Value: Making an Impact at Your Firm: While this session had a great title, one of the speakers, Patrick Lamb, spent 10 minutes justifying/apologizing/explaining the debacle last year over his “does it pay to hire a law librarian?”. So, I decided to move on to: OMG–The Millenniums are Coming!    

Using Social Media in the Workplace–Scott Brown: Here I learned about: Yammer, a free private social network for companies;, which puts Twitter feeds into blogs or RSS feeds; Jing, which enables you to share a picture or short video of your computer screen instantly in a number of venues (email, IM, Twitter, etc.); Tweetdeck-a personal browser connecting all your social networking services (SNS) outlets; Hootsuite–another social media dashboard. And I am going to cheat and refer you to the Govloop blog which has session notes very similar to mine, as well as a link to his PPT. Scott also described InfoCitizens (that’s us!) as having qualities of transparency, openness, integrity, honesty, participation, inclusion, quality and service. That about says it all! Scott ended with sage advice: Don’t attempt to start, or accelerate, SNSs  in your organization if you are not having fun with it. And don’t market it until you are ready.    

James Kane the closing keynote speaker: James Kane was a very upbeat, positive speaker. Again, I am referring you to someone (Jill Hurst-Wahl) who has reported faster and better on Mr. Kane’s presentation. He ended his talk with a heartfelt acknowledgement of knowledge workers–-a great way to end the conference.

Philly cheesesteaks are still good eatin’!

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