|Volume 44, 2||THE MILITARY LIBRARIAN||Summer 1999|
nowledge Leaders for the New Millennium: Creators of the Information Future was the theme of the 90th SLA Annual Conference held 5-9 June 1999 in Minneapolis, MN. This timely theme, the subject of numerous programs, discussions and the keynote address, is
pertinent to government and military libraries as echoed in a cover story in a
recent issue of Federal Times ("Agencies tap into knowledge
Trimble, Federal Times, vol. 35, no. 29, pp1,9).
Off to a late start I learned the hard way to come a day early if possible when bad weather in Minneapolis delayed many Saturday flights, including mine and I missed all Saturday events except a division meeting at 9 p.m. However, the remainder of the conference I was busy f
a.m. to almost midnight with division meetings, programs, and other SLA events.
SLA Keynote Speaker, Laurence Prusak (Managing Principal, IBM Consulting Group) described knowledge management as he has studied it in a decade of consulting with Ernst & Young and at IBM. He emphasized that people, networks, and people networking are important and exhorted us to spend money on connections and not access. Access is not the same as value: value derives from worker knowledge and innovation, which is found only where the worker meets the work. Knowledge management is the attempt to capture innovations and distribute knowledge and innovation to the right people through out the organization so they may be built on. Although business management has been studied since the Italian Renaissance, knowledge management was born after World War II and has not be studied. Mr. Prusak noted, "Never underestimate the techno-utopianism of the American executive...[who believes that] computers are all we need".
The importance of networking was shown in a UC Berkeley study of Nobel laureates that found the success of a scientist to be directly related to the size and efficiency of his network. Libraries can be a place where such networking takes place. Mr. Prusak shared the "wisest thing" he knows: "Hire smart people and let them talk to one another!"
I introduced Daniel Sell (Reference Librarian, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH and MLD member) our presenter on "From Bytes to Books: A Computer-Assisted Collection-Development Tool." Mr. Sell has developed a collection development tool from data he collected to track literature search costs. He pastes the literature search data from a relational database or a spreadsheet to word processing software. The data is then manipulated and copied into DialogLink to get book titles and article citations on the current reseach interests in his organization. The program is run at least quarterly to stay current with changing Air Force research needs. He uses Microsoft Access, Excel, Word97, Notepad, and DialogLink, although he demonstrated that an combination of similar software, Notepad along or any other word processing software would also work.
Robert DeLong (CEO, Wyle Laboratories, Dayton, OH) described the contracting out process within the Department of Defense. He asserted that one's contracting officer representative is one's best friend in the process. There is a new language to learn and much "red tape" to wade through to be successful in winning a contract. Commercial activity studies began during the depression and accelerated after WWII. Organizations that perform commercial activities-- "any organization that completes work similar to that found in the local telephone directory"--can be contracted out. Mr. DeLong suggested independent information professionals team with a larger company that already has the federal contracting expertise rather than try to win a contract by themselves. That allows them to concentrate on the "library stuff" and not the tedious, but important, paperwork to be submitted on deadline and in the correct format in order to win the contract. Deliver the goods or services in one's area of expertise and deal only with the main contractor, who is responsible for oversight of the work performed by subcontractors.
MLD networking meetings and the annual business meeting began at 7:30 a.m. I was elected Chair-elect of the Military Librarians Division at the annual business meeting on Tuesday, 8 June 99. I will be responsible for planning the division programs at the SLA annual conference in San Antonio, TX, in June 2001. So keep in touch to let me know your interests and professional development needs!
Division meetings are excellent networking opportunities. All division members are encouraged to attend them. I met several new Division members at the Board, business, and other division meetings. Jane Butler (Director and Membership Chair) and I passed out Division membership directories at the annual business meeting. [Many thanks to Thomas Carroll (President, Carroll Publishing, Washington DC) for printing the membership directories.]
Other conference happenings
Between programs, I spent time in the Exhibit halls talking to vendors and scooping up brochures or business cards with URLs for my colleagues. I also participated in leadership training and met leaders of other divisions of similar size and facing similar size and facing similar issues as MLD.
Many SLA conference programs are taped on audiocassette(s) and are available for sale at the conference or later. The audiotapes do not include conference handouts, but some speakers mentioned that their handouts would be available via SLA's webpage or a sponsoring division website. Purchasers have access to the handouts if they are on the division webpage.
At future conferences, I can purchase audiotapes for my library by noting the possible expenditure on my Department of the Army [DA] Form 1556 and using my government charge card. The tapes become library property. It is best to delay purchase until the end of the conference to ensure all the desired tapes are available. [If my colleagues in Air Force, Marine Corps, or Navy libraries can also purchase audiotapes at the conference, please let me know the procedures, and I will print a summary of them in a future issue of the Military Librarian.-tl]
SLA's new high-tech bulletin board had heavy usage. It was easy to locate and communicate electronically with colleagues at the conference - if they used the SLA housing bureau or updated their record in the system. The Lexis-Nexis Cyber Café was always crowded because one could eat or access email on most non-secure systems. I sent my colleagues and family email from my personal email account from the Cyber Cafe. Both desktop computers and laptop hookups were available for 'connected' members, and that is some 85% of us, according to SLA.
SLA staff demonstrated the new members-only Website. Members access the Website with their user ID and PIN supplied on SLA membership cards. The new Website should assist MLD's membership chair and division leaders in identifying members, printing up-to-date mailing labels, and inputting changes. If you have not received you SLA ID and PIN, let SLA and Jane Butler (firstname.lastname@example.org), know as soon as possible. Key SLA membership staff are Linda Broussard (Assistant Director for Membership and Training; email@example.com) and Christine Kennedy (Director of Memberhsip; firstname.lastname@example.org).
I mentored a colleague in the Career Mentoring Service. I hope she learned as much from the encounter as I did. Though
our interests did not match,
I was able to give her some guidance.
I look forward to seeing you at the Military Librarians Workshop in Williamsburg, VA, 6-10 December 1999, and at the SLA annual conference in Philadelphia, PA, in June 2000.
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