Monday, 12 March 2012
In this guest blog Jas Breslin explains why you should be at BIALL 2012. You will find her presenting at the parallel session "Research@Mofo: Providing a virtual enquiry service and co-presenting "Communication, Culture and Context: Best Practice for Working Internationally" Find more details here.
You are an information professional. You find information from all over the world without even leaving your office. You already know how to use all the databases at your workplace, and your clientele seem happy with what you do for them. So just what would you gain from your attendance at the BIALL Conference?
The short answer is meeting people. While you might, perhaps reasonably enough, ask yourself why you need to go through the expense of time and money travelling to another city to meet with lots of other people who do the same job as you from their own desk, maybe you should also ask yourself just who are these other people – and what might you learn from them?
Nothing beats meeting and interacting with other people from within your profession, people who face the same problems as you do, and people who might well have an answer to those problems.
Okay, you might say you can use social networking tools to reach out and connect with other people. But who should you contact? You can Tweet endlessly about what you are up to. But will people follow you if they don’t know anything about you? How can you connect with the people that matter?
And yes, your clientele are satisfied with the job you do, but could you be impressing them with a much better service if you knew how to locate information more quickly, or (importantly these days) more cheaply? Is there something more you could be doing to strengthen your position within your organisation, by broadening the worth of your work? Chances are that other people in the same profession will be able to help.
Not convinced? Well, just imagine if your library budget is slashed and you have to get rid of some of your beloved resources, either books or online databases, or both. How are you going to run the same service you always did without having trusted contacts and colleagues to help and advise you on how to locate information from other sources? How do you get an impartial overview of other suppliers and vendors in the marketplace, and how do you connect with them to build a lasting relationship?
The amazing thing is that there are so many ways that the BIALL Conference can help you develop your service and your own personal skills. The Conference this year is being held in Belfast, and the main conference and accommodation will be under one roof. This provides the perfect opportunity for delegates to chat together informally over breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a beer, as well as to gather together at formal plenary and parallel sessions to discuss ways to improve our day to day working life. There are opportunities at most presentations to ask questions, and gain the benefit of the experience of a genuine expert in his or her field.
But probably the most important thing you will take away from a BIALL Conference is the list of new contacts you have made, the little solutions to problems that have been bugging you for months on end, and the knowledge of a handful of new resources that will change the way you handle a particular research request.
So yes, you are an information professional. You find information from all over the world without leaving your office. But what more can you do with the knowledge you could gain from a few days in Belfast? How much further could you reach?
Contributed by: Jas Breslin