Defining Our Professional Future CILIP Report


The CILIP “Defining our professional future” (pdf link) report was published in July 2010 and, as I took the time to fill it out, I was interested to see what it said.

It was interesting to see which aspects of technology had the most impact on current roles in the library and information world (pg.33). Digitised resources and E-books/journals came out top, followed by social media, virtual working, mobile working and open source software.

It was even more interesting to see how this was broken down in the different sectors.

  • Academic – made most use of digital resources, e-books/journals, social media sites, open source and cloud computing
  • National sector – digital resources
  • Health – E-books/journals
  • Industrial – virtual working, mobile working, semantic web
  • Public/local authority – mobile working

I just wonder what this all implies? Does the Academic sector have more scope to experiment with technology? Does the industrial sector use of virtual and mobile technology indicate their general out-and-about working lifestyle. Is the National library sector using digital resources as part of their digital preservation role? Is the Health Sector high use of e-books/e-journals an indication of their early take-up of these resources (I remember using full text CD-Rom’s of medical journals in the mid 1990s). It’s interesting that the Public/local authority sector also has a greater use of mobile technology – maybe this is down to use of Blackberry’s etc to access emails when out of the office? 

When it came to the question about where respondents thought technology was heading in the future (pg.36), there was an increase in how many people thought technology would impact on them. There was also a slight shift in the rankings – Web3.0/semantic being the highest mover up the list. The differences in opinion in how technology would affect different sectors seemed to reflect what I’ve heard people from these sectors currently talking about – how they plan to deliver services in the near future.

The report also asked what skills the respondents used in their current roles (pg 37-38). From my point of view, the interesting thing here was the difference between the number of respondents who saw themselves as organisers/disseminators of information (eg information evaluation and management) and those who saw themselves as creators of information (eg classifiers, cataloguers, indexes, database creators and web publishers). I know this probably isn’t the right way of phrasing it, but hopefully you’ll see what I mean. The organisers / disseminators were higher up the rankings.

With regard to the future (pg.41-42), information evaluation and management were holding steady. However, the reduction in indexing, cataloguing and classification skills in the future seems to reflect the fact that we are recognising that most of the data we need is out there already for us to use, we can pool it together and we don’t need to create as much of it from scratch as we have done in the past. On the other hand as more information moves online it looks as if database design and web publishing skills will still be needed to present this information in the way that is most useful to our users.

It was also great to see communication skills were at the top of the current skills list, but at the same time a bit odd to see teaching was only relevant to 50% of the respondents. Shouldn’t this figure be higher? Aren’t we also about teaching users to find information too, no matter what role we’re in?

I just wonder how right we’ll be about all of this? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.


3 thoughts on “Defining Our Professional Future CILIP Report

  1. Kikishua

    I think the word “teacher” is so loaded, that most wouldn’t think it applied in their circumstances. It would never have occurred to me – even in the days when I spent my working time on the Enquiry Desk.

  2. Gary Green

    You could be right. To be honest, thinking back now, I don’t whether I said I thought I had teaching skills when I responded to the survey.

  3. Kikishua

    One time I was training a member of staff on the catalogue (just the two of us) and she nodded off… so I can safely say I *don’t* have teaching skills!

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