Tuesday, June 16, 2015

SLA2015 : Trust, Loyalty & Initiative: What does it mean to be a leader?

Speaker: Commander Benjamin "BJ" Armstrong (US Navy), @wwatmd

Armstrong noted that his opinions are his own and not those of his employer or the U.S. Government.  He is here a a civilian.

Leadership is not about school solutions or equations.  It is not about scientific perfection. 

Trust can be difficult for some leaders. It can seem ineffective.  However, it is a key component of leadership. One of the things that distinguished Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) was the trust that he put into his sailors.

Nelson also trusted the voice within himself. 

A.T. Mahan (1840-1914), reseacher and author, believed that trust was important to leadership.

William Sims (1858-1936) examined whatittookto be a good junior leader. He looked at "mission command" style of leadership. What does the junior office owe his boss? (1) Loyalty. (2) Initiative.  These two things are in conflict with each other.  Loyalty without initiative works if both sides are operating the same way.  The balance between loyalty and initiative is key to a junior officer/manager success.

Subordinates must trust as will.  For example, they must trust that the leader sees the bigger picture. They must know when to trust the leader and when to take initiative.

Self-reflection is an important part of maintaining the balance.  Trust comes through thoughtful reflection.  

All of us - including librarians - can benefit from being better leaders.

Nelson, at dinner every night, received input from his officers about what the ship was doing.  He believed in receiving input.  

Sims recognized that he didn't have the perfect right answer and so crowdsourced some answers and processed.

According to Sims, the trust in those that work for you should be implicit, until they prove you wrong.  For those that you workfor, be more circumspect.  They must earn your trust.

How does an organization's leadership rebuild trust? People need to demonstrate initiative in creating trust. 

There is a difference between giving personal opinion versus professional opinion of your office.

Can leadership be taught?  Do you need a foundation of information? Yes, there are some practical elements that we all need to learn.  You need to encourage those that have some leadership skills to become better and to improve upon what the know. People need to keep developing their skills.

Learning what people have done in the past can help us understand what questions we need to ask to help us move towards the future.

Monday, June 15, 2015

SLA2015 : Let Freedom Ring

In case you wonder, yes, I've gone to a couple of sessions that are very much related to the consulting work that I used to do.  The sessions have been good reminders of the wisdom that I need to pass along to my students.

Quick take session by Jennifer Burke on being an independent information professional (IIP). Her web site is

Being a librarian was a second career for her.  She came from a marketing background.  She then combined libraries + marketing consulting into being a independent Infomation consultant.  This allowed her a sense of freedom.

Her question to us is "what will your trail be?"

Top tips for being an IIP:

  • Think like a business person.  It's not just about the research.  Don't under value yourself.  You'll spend more time on administration and marketing, then on research.
  • Don't under estimate the amount of time that you will need to spend on marketing.  From the very beginning, focus on this.  Learn how to talk about what you do.  Marketing is a constant.  You need to network with your potential clients.  Create a target market or niche. Being a generalist is too hard to sell.  Do test your target market.  Recognize that your target market will evolve over time.
  • Time management is critical.  Your clients are your boss and you need to work their hours.  You need to work out the time management balance.
  • Recognize that you can select the projects you want to work on and the clients you want to work with.
  • Recognize that you need support. You may need a supportive partner.  You'll need a cash reserve. You need clients that will rave about your services.
  • And you'll need more support because you cannot do it all.  You may need to outsource some of what you do or find subcontractors.  Remember that you can barter.
  • Remember that you are part of a community that can help to support you, perhaps just moral support.  Yes, there are other consultants and information professionals that can be part of your community.  

Sunday, June 14, 2015

SLA2015 : Keynote speaker: Leigh Gallagher

Leigh Gallagher
Leigh Gallagher (@leighgallagher) is an assistant editor at Fortune Magazine.  She wrote The End of the Suburbs (book), which she heavily researched. As a journalist, information is the currency that she trades in.  She reports to be an information junky.

Gallagher talked about her work and the research that she has done to help her. She has research done for interviews for Fortune magazine, for its conferences, and podcasts. She has a real respect for library and information professionals, and the work that we do.  Gallagher filled her speech with many stories.

Gallagher ended with five things we can do to stand out and get the funding that we deserve:

  1. Market ourselves, especially to the C-suite, and toot our own horns. Consider sharing our knowledge with those that we work with.  Just share a litle...you don't have to give it all away. Channel the best marketers in the world. (Coca-Cola)
  2. Quantify ourselves and our work. Connect our work to the bottom line. Show them the money.
  3. Be ahead of the curve and stay on top of new tools.  We need to obsess about our product. (Apple)
  4. Provide high end customer service. (Four Seasons)
  5. Obsess on innovation.  Could there be a uber-like product for libraries or for our organizations? (Uber)
Finally try asking our organizations what their world would be like with information professionals.  

SLA2015 : The A-Z of Researching Private Companies

With Phil Britton from Ulta Beauty, sponsored by PrivCo.

Association and trade groups
Brokers - real estate, travel, etc.
Contractors and suppliers
Dun & Bradsteet
Freedom of Information Act
Interviews and elicitation
Knowledge sharing and conference presentations
Merger and acquisition disclosures
Newspapers - local ones are best - jobs, taxes, land
Operators - advanced Internet search techniques
PrivCo - private company financial intelligence
Quora.com (corrected, 8/21/2015)
Slideshare and other social media - postings by employees and interns
Trademark and patent filings - intellectual property including domain names
Universities - guest speakers
Vendors - 3rd party researchers
Wall St. Analyst's (financial) models and sector reports
X-reference - cross reference everything you've done thus far 
Your internal company
Zoning variances/public hearings

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Orphan Works and Mass Digitization: A Report of the Register of Copyrights

On June 4, the Copyright Office wrote:
The U.S. Copyright Office today released Orphan Works and Mass Digitization: A Report of the Register of Copyrights. The Report documents the legal and business challenges faced by good faith users who seek to use orphan works and/or engage in mass digitization projects. It provides a series of legislative recommendations that offer users a way forward out of gridlock, but also take into account the legitimate concerns and exclusive rights of authors and other copyright owners. 
 Have they attacked those areas, where changes are needed? Yes.
With respect to orphan works, the Report provides draft legislation that draws upon the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act passed by the Senate seven years ago, albeit with some updates and changes that reflect intervening developments and public discussions. 

With respect to mass digitization, the Report recommends a more incremental approach that would allow the United States to gain experience with an extended collective licensing framework that is in use or under consideration elsewhere in the world.
The full 234-page report is available here.

The June 9, 2015 U.S. Federal Register contains the notice of a "Mass Digitization Pilot Program; Request for Comments", which is mentioned in the report.  The notice can be viewed here.

I am not yet seeing anyone dissecting this report in a news article or blog post.  My hope is that a few people will dig into the details and test the ideas presented.  (Unfortunately, I'm tied up with a project and cannot take time to do so.)  If you know of someone who has done this, please point me towards their work.  (Thanks!)

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Article: The Bizarre Process We Use To Approve Exemptions To The Digital Milliennium Copyright Act

Library of Congress (Explored)Fast Company has an article about the process to decide on exemptions to the DMCA; a process that is occurring now.  Part of this article focuses on online multiplayer games and the problem that occurs once the game becomes defunct.  Of course, this isn't the only area that is seeking an exemption.  However, is this the right way to go about deciding what receives an exemption and what does not?  And I wonder how the Librarian of Congress really listens to and how he ultimately makes the decision.  The article agrees that this process isn't the best.  As it says:
This triennial process is probably the worst thing that the companies that helped create the legislation could have wished for, because of the news coverage and consumer awareness that results. As more physical things become unrepairable and unmodifiable, even when software support is discontinued by a maker or the maker goes out of business, more people will face the choice between violating a law and getting what they believe they paid for.