Business Librarian’s conference (2): Expert panel discussion – breaking moulds, staying relevant!

At the Business Librarians’ Association conference last July, I also chaired a 90-minute panel discussion. The theme was  Survival, evolution or extinction? Shaping our futures. The panel consisted of three experts from very distinct backgrounds:

  • Dr. John Breslin – Electronic Engineering, NUIG; Researcher at DERI;
  • Neil Infield – Manager of the British Library’s Business & IP Centre; and
  • Ian Manzie – Business Manager (Ireland), Thomson Reuters.

All made brief  presentations before the session was opened to the floor for questions. Discussion highlights for me included:

  1. John’s work on the semantic web and his hope that developments in the field will lead to precise answers to searches. As opposed to the current situation where web sites containing partial answers are identified! He was optimistic about the potential for the “social web” where contributers can communicate and comment on aspects of their work. Part of the discussion on the social web highlighted particular scholarly developments on wikis, especially Medpedia, the new peer-reviewed medical reference resource, and the possibilities for such resources in other fields. John’s presentation is available at slideshare.net;
  2. Neil’s particularly fascinating account of how the British Library’s Business &IP Centre has developed a programme of  workshops, clinics, and training and networking events.  These include bookable meetings to develop business plans, and scheduled clinics  featuring guest entrepreneurs and innovators. Librarians were retrained as business advisors. The BIPC programme is open to the public;
  3. Ian’s introduction to Thomson Reuters’ ambitious new web-based “Academy” approach to training users. Having expended much energy over the years on site visits, their current preference is very much for online courses and workshops, delivered through e-training, workshops and (in the future) webcasting. [See for example their Datastream training schedule on their Customer Zone page; also discussed in the Business Blog post on Datastream tutorials]. Ian’s perspective was an interesting counterpoint to Neil’s heavy emphasis on meeting and communicating face-to-face.
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Explore posts in the same categories: Conferences & seminars, Datastream, Library training, Online tutorial

One Comment on “Business Librarian’s conference (2): Expert panel discussion – breaking moulds, staying relevant!”


  1. […] BBSLG) annual conference in Dublin. The chair of the session David Meehan has just posted a short review of the session with some kind remarks relating to my […]


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