Human Capital – The Last Differentiator – Tuesday 19 January 2016

How do you keep your skills relevant in an ever changing environment?

Can Social Knowledge Management provide answers?

As we adapt to new workplace challenges (or opportunities) at a time when organisations are looking to increase productivity and make savings through automating routine work, we need to think about the ’human differentiator‘ – in essence, ensuring that we are all still employable!

In this interactive presentation at the next NetIKX meeting, Social KM expert Rooven Pakkiri, will discuss how we can transform the way we engage in our work, with radical strategies based on ‘Social Learning’, ‘Talent Insights’ and ‘Decision Sourcing’.

As we move forward, a key differentiator of successful organisations will be whether and how they are able to leverage in a consistent way the talent and knowledge of their workforces so as to meet their objectives. Companies that are bound by tradition and hierarchy will struggle to compete.

This session will enable us to consider how we fit within this changing environment and how we can continue to learn new skills and remain relevant.


Rooven Pakkiri works with clients to deliver sustained adoption strategies for collaboration platforms such as Yammer, Jive and Connections. His focus is on engagement (often through HR) with the business managers in an organisation. Together they design, develop and deploy a highly customised Social KM road map that revolves around the use of the social tool set in order to solve client-specific business/organisation problems or to address current opportunities. Everything Rooven does is led by business/organisation requirements and user adoption and not by the features and functions of the chosen collaboration technology.

A veteran of the era, Rooven is a digital evangelist who focuses on the way technology changes organisational communication and collaboration. He is an author and regular speaker on the subject of Social Knowledge Management and how it is transforming the corporate rule book. Rooven is also the co-founder of a regular thought leadership event in London at which independent thinkers discuss issues of user adoption and cultural transformation.

As a Social KM consultant, Rooven is responsible for developing client-specific adoption strategies and immersion programs. As part of this process Rooven employs a number of techniques such as  scenario modelling, content seeding, champion identification and community development.

Intended Learning Objectives

  • To be aware of how we fit within the changing organisational environment
  • To learn how to keep our skills relevant in this ever-changing environment
  • To understand how Social Knowledge management can provide answers


The British Dental Association, 64 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8YS (The nearest London Underground Station is Bond Street)

Registration is at 2.00 pm and the meeting will run from 2.30 pm to 5.00 pm, with a glass of wine and light refreshments to follow until 6.00 pm.

Seminar Costs

If you are a NetIKX Member or join NetIKX when you register, there is no charge.

Non-members are welcome to attend.

Please register at

Athough the normal rate for non-members is £50, there will be discounts available for returning members and others. For further information, please send an email to web[at]

Connecting Knowledge Communities – 23 September 2015

Syndicate session in progress

Syndicate session in progress

The aim of this meeting  was to bring together at least some of the UK communities concerned with knowledge and informatin management. These communities and organisations have different emphases, different modes of operation and even different approaches to membership. Some have regular meetings and a paid membership, while others are virtual and have no formal status or funds. Between these two extremes, there are many variants. In addition, different communities draw their members from different groups, both in terms of occupation and of industry.

NetIKX invited a range of such communities and organisations based in the UK, but mainly in London, to give short presentations on their genesis, membership and operation.

Communities that accepted this invitation and those who spoke on their behalf were:

Claire Parry spoke on behalf of NetIKX itself.

In addition, although not able to make a presentation at the meeting, David Gurteen and SLA Europe (the European Chapter of the Special Libraries Association) indicated that they were happy to support and be associated with the event. LIKE (London Information and Knowledge Exchange), CILIP and TFPL Connect-Ed also expressed interest in this initiative.

Each speaker described (in different ways) how their organisation came into being, how it operates and who its members are. The presentations, including one on NetIKX itself, were divided into pairs, each  followed by the usual NetIKX syndicate session, within which there was discussion of individual experience of networking groups and whether there is scope for these groups to collaborate and, if so, how it might be done.

While not leading directly to any future cooperation, this meeting provided a basis upon which there could be future developments. In the mean time, all those who attended have a better idea of the organisations that meet the needs of the knowledge and information communities and how they operate.

July 2015 Seminar: Hillsborough – Information Work and Helping People and NetIKX AGM


We welcomed Jan Parry, President of CILIP, to talk about her role in the Hillsborough Inquiry. This meeting was preceded by the NetIKX AGM. Jan Parry explained how, after 23 years, records and information revealed the truth about the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster. She was the only Information Professional on the secretariat of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, whose report in 2012 revealed what was found in over 450,000 documents they reviewed.

Jan took us through the events and moments leading to the tragedy and its aftermath, including video footage, and talked about the formation of the Panel and its work, together with the work of the information professionals involved in the background. The work has led to two new ongoing inquiries and a new inquest.


Jan Parry is CILIP’s current President and she is also Chair of the Network of Government Library and Information Specialists (NGLIS). Jan had a long library and information career within the Civil Service. She started in the Health and Safety Executive working in the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate Library. She managed two libraries and then moved on to top-level government work, implementing a Whitehall wide ministerial briefing system. She joined the Home Office in 2001 and worked on various programmes and projects, including the Tackling Gangs programme, Home Office Reform and developing an Information Centre out of the Home Office Library. In 2009 Jan was asked be part of the secretariat of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, where she had to find all the bereaved families of the 96 who died at the disaster and plan the final Panel disclosure at Liverpool Cathedral.

Time and Venue

2pm on 21st July 2015, The British Dental Association, 64 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8YS

Pre Event Information

Learning Objectives
. Recognising the role of records discovery and records management
. Appreciating the significance of information management and advocacy
. Understanding the importance of planned public disclosure


Not currently available




See our blog report: Hillsborough : Information Work and Helping People

Study Suggestions

You may want to read more by Jan Parry:

Seek and you will find? Wednesday 18th March 2015

We had two excellent speakers for our Seminar on 18th March, entitled “Search and you will find?” Karen Blakeman and Tony Hirst. The question mark in the title was deliberate, since the underlying message was that search and discovery might sometimes throw up the unexpected.

Learning objectives for the day were:

  • To understand the commercial, social and regulatory influences that have (or will) influence Google search engine results.
  • To be able to apply new search behaviours that will improve accuracy and relevance of search results.
  • An appreciation of data mining and data discovery techniques and the risks involved in using them, as well as the education and skills required for their disciplined and ethical use

Karen Blakeman delivered an informative and thought-provoking talk about our possibly misplaced reliance on Google search results. She discussed how Google is undergoing major changes in the way it analyses our searches and presents results, which are influenced by what we’ve searched for previously and information pulled from our social media circles. She also covered how EU regulations are dictating what the likes of Google can and cannot display in their results.

Amongst many examples that Karen gave of imperfect search results, this one of Henry VIII’s wives stood out – note the image of Jane Seymour, where Google has sourced the image of the actress Jane Seymour.

Blog image re Jane Seymour

This is an obvious and easily spotted error, others are far subtler, and probably go unnoticed by the vast majority of search users. The problem, as Karen explained, is that Google does not always provide attribution for where it is sourcing its results, and where attribution is provided, the user must (or should) decide whether this is a reliable or authoritative source. Users beware if searching for medical or allergy symptoms; the sources can be arbitrary and not necessarily from authoritative medical websites. It would appear that Google’s algorithms decide what is scientific fact and what is aggregated opinion!

The clear message was to use Google as a filter to point us to likely answers to our queries, but to apply more detailed analysis of the search results before assuming the information is correct.

Karen’s slides are available at:

Tony Hirst gave us an introduction into the world of data analytics and data visualisation and challenges of abstracting meaning from large datasets. Techniques such as data mining and knowledge discovery in databases (KDD) use machine learning and powerful statistics to help us discover new insights from ever-larger datasets. Tony gave us an insight into some of the analytical techniques and the risks associated with using them. In particular, if we leave decision making up to machines and the algorithms inside them, are we introducing new forms of bias that human decision makers might avoid? What do we, as practitioners need to know in order to use these tools in a responsible way?

As Tony explained, the most effective data analysis comes down to discovering relationships and patterns that would otherwise be missed by looking at just one dataset in isolation, or analysing data in ranked lists.  Multifaceted data analysis, using – for example – datasets applied to maps, can give unique visualisations and more insightful sense making.

Amongst many other techniques, Tony discussed Concordance Correlation, Lexical Dispersion, Partial (Fuzzy) String Matching and Anscombe’s Quartet.

Tony’s slides will be available at:

Following the keynote presentations from Karen and Tony, the following questions were put to the delegates:

  • How can organisations ensure their staff is using (external) search engines effectively?
  • How do you determine the value of search in terms of accuracy, time, and cost?
  • If I wanted to know how to use data visualisation and data analysis tools, where do I go? Who do I ask?


The delegates moved into three groups to discuss and respond to these questions (one group per question). The plenary feedback as follows:

Group 1 – How can organisations ensure their staff is using (external) search engines effectively?

  • Ban them from using Google
  • More training
  • Employ specialists to do research
  • Use subscription services
  • Change the educations system.

Group 2 – How do you determine the value of search in terms of accuracy, time, and cost?

  • Cost and Time are variable
  • Accuracy is the most important criterion
  • Differentiate between “value” and “cost”

Group 3 – If I wanted to know how to use data visualisation and data analysis tools, where do I go? Who do I ask?

Lastly, we’d like to thank our speakers and the delegates for making this such an interesting, educational and engaging seminar.

Karen Blakeman (@karenblakeman) is an independent consultant providing a wide range of organisations with training, help and advice on how to search more effectively, how to use social and collaborative tools for research, and how to assess and manage information. Prior to setting up her own company Karen worked in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, and for the international management consultancy group Strategic Planning Associates. Her website is at <> and her blog at<>.

Tony Hirst (@psychemedia) is a lecturer in the Department of Computing and Communications at the Open University, where he has authored course material on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Information Skills, Data Analysis and Visualisation, and a Data Storyteller with the Open Knowledge School of Data. An open data advocate and Formula One data junkie, he blogs regularly on matters relating to social network analysis, data visualisation, open education and open data policy at

Steve Dale





Business Information Review is seeking a new editor

Business Information Review is seeking a new editor to replace Val Skelton and Sandra Ward from the end of March/Early April next Year. They will have completed five years of editing by then – and they think it’s time to hand over what is fun, exciting and challenging! Due to the decision of Val Skelton and Sandra Ward to complete their joint editorship of Business Information Review in March/April 2015, Sage Publications would like to find replacement editor(s). Val and Sandra have job shared the editorship. Details of the post, which is remunerated, and how to apply for it can be found at :

Val and Sandra are happy to answer queries about the post. Contact :


Communities of Practice for the Post Recession Environment Tuesday 16th September 2014

35 people attended this Event at the British Dental Association in Wimpole Street. Our speaker was Dion Lindsay of Dion Lindsay Consulting : . Dion tackled big questions in his presentation. Are the principles established for successful Communities of Practice (CoP’s) in the 1990’s and earlier still sound today ? AND what new principles and good practices are emerging as social media and other channels of communication become part of the operational infrastructure that we all inhabit ? Dion started of with a couple of definitions. He explained the characteristics of CoP’s. In essence it begins with ‘practice’. Practitioners who discuss and post about practical problems. Practitioners who suggest solutions and develop practice. These solutions are at the practical level. Hence, competence at individual and corporate level is increased.  It continues with collaboration – the development of competence in an environment short of money ! He instanced the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) where he had developed an electronic discussion board in the 1990’s. In 1998 this electronic discussion board was taken over by University College London (UCL) and became an electronic discussion forum. It had cumulated 40,0000 posts. An analysis showed that the forum splits 80% moral support and 20% problem solving in terms of posts.

How about Communities of Interest (CoI’s) ? These are all about people who share an identity. They have a shared voice and conduct a shared activity. So ‘identity’ is a critical characteristic Also, there is an ongoing discussion about interests, an ongoing organisation of events and an interest in problems and solutions. This can take place in the workplace or in the public arena. Now to differentiate CoP’s from CoI’s. CoP’s get most attention in the workplace. CoI’s – there most serious work is detached from the workplace. There is a dearth of literature on this.

Success factors for CoP’s :  A successful CoP must be a physical community / A successful CoP must not have management setting the Agenda / To be successful CoP’s must have recognisable outcomes / Treat CoP discussions as conversations. Just taking the recognisable outcomes aspect it is necessary to emphasise that ‘the knowledge as it is created must be communicated’. In @ 2005 Shell and MNDA () reported similar findings in creating a Knowledge Base from CoP outcomes :  Cost :- 20% (30%). Value :- 85% (90%). Compare to standard  Knowledge Base stats : Cost :- 80% (70%). Value :- 15% (10%). These figures speak for themselves.  So we can sum up the reasons for a revival in interest for CoP’s as follows : Cost pressure on training and formal means of development in the workplace / collaboration and social media are accustoming organisations to non-structured working / the need to find ways of keeping employees engaged / technology for discussion forums is less of a challenge.

Dion concluded his talk by saying that ‘you really have to want  to do it’ to run a successful CoP. There is a benefit in commencing. There must be proper facilitation. There must be adherence to best management practice. A CoP is, in reality, a ‘Community of Commitment’. It fits in very well indeed with project management.

Graham Robertson – a NetIKX ManCom Member – then gave a brief history of NetIKX going back many, many years to when it started up at Aslib. Lissi Corfield – another NetIKX ManCom Member – spoke about our current ideas at NetIKX to take things forward as people are not coming along to meetings as frequently as they used to do. She talked about building resources in Information Management and Knowledge Management on the website and publicising and, indeed, interacting with our group on LinkedIN. Both Graham and Lissi are practitioners in Knowledge Management.

Under Lissi’s supervision we then broke up and started syndicate sessions at the close of which each syndicate reported back to the meeting. The main points are highlighted below.

Syndicate 1 : How to gain management support for CoP’s – the fears and successes.


  • Fear may be seen as presenting formal advice.
  • Encourage openness with no anonymity.
  • Resource of sharing policy together.
  • Each table is its own CoP.

Syndicate 2 : How do you become involved in existing CoP’s ? Should you bother ?

  • Senior actors are already connected.
  • Impose / grow organically.
  • Cross organisation / grows out of a need.
  • Can we learn from Quality Circles ?

Syndicate 3 : What is a good moderator ?

  • Challenging
  • Active/passive
  • Online/in person
  • CoP/CoI
  • Ground rules
  • FAQ’s/steering friendly discussion
  • Energy
  • LinkedIN

Syndicate 4 : Developing IM and KM resources for the NetIKX website

Valuable contributions were made by David Penfold, Martin Newman and Conrad Taylor.

Robert Rosset input suggestions of individuals and organisations from whom NetIKX had learned on the WIKI page of the website.  Rather like potter’s clay it needs to be worked into shape. An ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory.

Rob Rosset 22/09/15






Selling Taxonomies to organisations, Thursday July 3 2014

Blog for NetIKX  July 3rd 2014  Whatever happened to Margate?

The NetIKX meeting this month was highly popular.  I thought a session on Taxonomy might be considered dull, but I guess the hook was in the title: ‘making the business case for taxonomy’.  The session did provide great ideas for making a business case for an organisational taxonomy project, and the ideas were suitable for other contexts where direct quantifiable benefit will not be an output of the project and so immediate impact on ROI is not a simple computation.

There were two case studies presented.  The first from ‘Catalogue Queen’ Alice Laird, (ICAEW), faced the business case quandary head on.  How did they get hard headed finance to budget for their taxonomy plans?  The winning move here was to show in small scale the value of the work.  People in the business realised that the library micro-site was the best place to find things and asked why this was so.  The knowledge management team were able to demonstrate how the taxonomy could increase organisational efficiency and so helped prove the case to all website users.

This case study also provided tips for running a taxonomy project.  They used a working group from the body of the organisation, but kept the team small to ensure each person involved was clear about the relevance of the project to them and their team.  They also made the project stages clear: a consultation stage might show where there were contradictions and confusion, and so there was a following stage where the people with appropriate expertise would to step in to make firm decisions.  By setting out the stages clearly, they avoided protracted discussion and also made good use of the skills already available within their team.  In this way they fully exploited their assets! All in all, it was good to hear a crisp report about a well organised project, and we all wish them luck for their imminent implementation.

The second case study looked at using a taxonomy to help share data between different organizations in the UK Heritage sector.  In a talk called ‘Reclassify the Past’, Phil Carlisle (English Heritage) entertained us, explaining a particular problem that fuelled the need for a taxonomy project.  At one point, although the classification system worked well in most respects, some vital geographic data was not included.  As a result, a search on, for example, Margate came up with a blank, even though the data was in there.  The danger was of reputation loss – particularly with people living in Margate!  Highlighting this type of blip was another useful way to sell a structured taxonomy project.  Search, even with a good search engine is more complex than many people realise and poorly organised metadata can cause problems that ‘Google it!’ may not solve.

This case study also provided an interesting operational tip.  In order to create the best platform for sharing, this team gave away the software they were using to others in the field, as the cost was outweighed by the overall benefit of standardisation.

The session ended with a lively set of discussions.  I was with a group trying to identify more closely how a taxonomy should be classified: animal, vegetable or mineral? We found some paradoxes to play with.  For example, does a taxonomy work as a device to structure data or is a structure already in place, the basis for the taxonomy?

To conclude, it was ironic that one of the speakers commented jokingly, ‘there’s no gratitude!’  Fair comment, as basic information infrastructure projects do not usually attract riveted attention. But, at this meeting at least, where taxonomies are loved and cared for, and business case tips are welcomed, the speakers could rely on full appreciation and gratitude from a very attentive audience.

Lissi Corfield (posted by robrosset)

Graham Robertson giving feedback on his group's discussions

Graham Robertson giving feedback on his group’s discussions


Steve Dale summarising his group’s discussions

Information on the Move Seminar Tuesday May 13th Part 2

Max Whitby of Touch Press http// came to talk to @30 people attending the NetIKX seminar at the British Dental Association in Wimpole Street, following on from David Nicholas (see related blog Part 1). Max’s company specialises in creating apps which are interactive and provide information or assist in education. In other words, these apps have a point, they are not games. They have created an app of  ‘The Periodic Table’ and ‘The Solar System’ and ‘The Orchestra’. Users spend hours looking, listening and reading the annotation on these apps. For example, on the app for T.S. Eliot’s great poem “The Wasteland” , there are multiple readers including Fiona Shaw, Alec Guinness and T.S. Eliot. Three of their music apps have been nominated for an award from the Royal Philharmonic Society. Max displayed a couple of the apps on screen – one in particular caught my attention – ‘The Orchestra’. This features the instruments (looking at each instrument from every angle); the music (including the score); the conductor. Amazing.

Following on from Max’s talk we had refreshments and then divided up into two syndicate groups. These working groups addressed two different issues. “1) Taking an example of the rich functionality and content of the Touch Press app, think of an app that your organisation could develop that would engage and/or educate and/or inform its users/customers”. Syndicate 1 came up with five ideas. Members from the Ministry of Justice suggested an information app for internal use within the Ministry. This app could identify all the things that policy makers needed to know (to connect with) in order to produce proper policy. The current tools are paper documents, documents held by records management or information controlled by external contractors. It is a question of packaging up such tools and presenting them in a uniform but innovative way on an app. Members from the Institute of Energy suggested an educational app. On their current website is an interactive matrix demonstrating “The Energy Chain”. It is linked to an offsite database (massive)  held in a separate location. An app could have one part of the database in order to describe “The Energy Landscape” (a mixture of visual/text/statistics). It could be used by anyone: researchers, students, members of the public. Attendees from the Medical Defence Union came up with an app about things to avoid, in terms of risk mitigation for medical professionals. Another attendee from the Department of Health suggested two apps – one about how the body functions, with different levels of knowledge, so it can be used by health professionals and members of the public; the other app to address the issue of IT Support. This would cover everything to do with Service Management from issues with suppliers to logging all support calls in one place. It was believed that such apps would offer a richer experience than textbooks or documents.

Syndicate 2 dealt with the question “What is the role of the information professional in a disintermediated, information rich world.” They came up with the idea for today’s Information Professionals to go out into the market place. Information Professionals are competing with IT people who have no background or skills in information management. The talk was about trust and embracing traditional skills of quality assurance and quality control so that information is trusted. Such an approach calls for advocates who are very relevant for the organisation in question. Librarians were once embedded in certain organisations (like the pharmaceutical industry) but not today. This syndicate focus was on disintermediation rather than ‘information on the go’.

Steve Dale wrapped up the syndicate sessions by stating that there was always a need to evaluate the information we receive – we can’t rely on algorithms, which can be degraded. The Syndicate Sessions ended and the attendees enjoyed a glass of wine (or two) and nibbles. It was a most successful seminar. Our thanks to NetIKX ManCom for organising the Event and in particular to Suzanne Burge, Melanie Harris, Anoja Fernando and Steve Dale for running the Event on the day.

rob rosset

Information on the Move – Seminar held on Tuesday May 13th 2014 – Part 1

David Nicholas came to talk to a group of @30 NetIKX members at the h.q. of the British Dental Association in Wimpole Street. David runs CIBER a pan-European research outfit : http// He spoke about ‘The second digital transition’ which means that there will be no librarians (as we know them) by 2022. ‘The first digital revolution’ brought librarianship to its knees. This one will finish it off. It is ‘the end of culture as we know it’. ‘The first digital revolution’ took place in the office or in the library. The device – the pc – was desk bound, office bound. ‘The second digital revolution’ is taking place in the street. Mobile is now the main platform for accessing the web. Mobile means meeting information needs at the time of need. Mobiles provide access to masses of information for everyone. Smartphones and social media stride major information worlds, informal and formal.Mobiles empower digital consumer purchasing. Mobiles are fast. Mobiles are smaller devices with small screens.  They are not computational devices but access devices. Mobiles are social, personal, cool and popular.

Here are the basic characteristics of digital information seeking behaviour: ‘hyperactive’ – users love choice and looking; ‘bouncers’ – 1-2 pages from thousands; ‘promiscuous’ – about 40% don’t come back; ‘one slots’ – one visit, one page. Why is this ? Because of search engine lists/massive and changing choice/so much rubbish out there/poor retrieval skills (2.2 words per query)/multi-tasking (more pleasurable doing several things at once)/end user checking, so no memories in cyberspace and very high ‘churn rate’. The horizontal has replaced the vertical, reading is ‘out’ fast ‘media’ is in. Information seeking wise ‘skitter’ – power browse. Consequences ? Abstracts have never been so popular/scholars go online to avoid reading, prefer visual/few minutes per visit; 15 minutes is a long time/ shorter articles have a much bigger chance of being used.

Europeana mobile use : 130,000 unique mobile users accessed Europeana in last six months. Characteristics : ‘information light’, visits from mobiles much less interactive, few records, searches, less time on a visit/differences between devices (iPhone – abbreviated behaviour on part of searchers; iPad – behaviour conforms to that of pc users)/mobile use peaks at nights and weekends (desk tops peak on Wednesday and late afternoons)/searching and reading has moved into the social space. We could not have come further from the initial concept of libraries : no walls, no queuing, no intermediaries! Ask any young person about a library and they will point to their mobile. It is ironic that mobiles were once banned from libraries – now it is the library. The mobile, borderless information environment really challenges libraries and publishers. It constitutes another massive round of disintermediation and migration. The changed platform and environment transforms information consumption. Final reflection : Is the web and the mobile device making us stupid ? Where are we going with information, learning and mobile devices ?






How to convince your organization that it needs a Taxonomy

NetIKX will hold an event on July 3rd 2014 which addresses the above issue. Two speakers from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) will speak about their taxonomy and its potential to the organization. Anna Burmajster is Head of Information Services at the ICAEW. Alice Laird is the Taxonomy Project Manager at the ICAEW. In addition, Phil Carlisle will speak. Phil works at English Heritage and has a wealth of experience (both nationally and internationally) in explaining the need for taxonomies and developing them for the historic environment community. This event will be held at the British Dental Association in Wimpole Street.

robrosset 02/04/2014