National Archives of Australia’s new information management standard

The government of Australia has been a significant leader in the field of information management for several years, and serves as the standard I use in my RIM classes to demonstrate IM best practices. Continuing this fine tradition, the National Archives of Australia has just published a new Australian Government standard to manage business information.

The new Information Management Standard (IMS) outlines principles to help agencies meet business, government and community needs in relation to how information is managed across the sector and aims to help them maximise the business benefits of well-managed information in the Australian Government.

The eight principles are:

Principle 1: Business information is systematically governed
Principle 2: Necessary business information is created
Principle 3: Business information is adequately described
Principle 4: Business information is suitably stored and preserved
Principle 5: How long business information should be kept is known
Principle 6: Business information is accountably destroyed or transferred
Principle 7: Business information is saved in systems where it can be appropriately managed
Principle 8: Business information is available for use and reuse.

This standard complements the National Archives’ Digital Continuity 2020 plan.

 

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Call for chapter proposals: Social tagging and linked data

I am pleased to announce that I have signed a contract for another book. Below you will find a call for chapter proposals. Please consider submitting a proposal, and feel free to circulate this call to your colleagues:

Call for book chapter proposals

Book title: Social tagging for linked data across environments

Publisher: Facet

Editors

Dr. Louise Spiteri. Associate professor, School of Information Management, Dalhousie University.

Dr. Diane Rasmussen Pennington. Lecturer, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde.

Synopsis

This book will explore how social tags can serve to link content across a variety of environments. Most studies of social tagging have tended to focus on discrete applications, e.g., library catalogues, blogs, social bookmarking sites, and so forth. Hashtags, in particular, can provide this level of linked data. Since hashtags are now used across different platforms (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, WordPress, Instagram), it would be interesting to explore the role of hashtags as a form of linked data without the complex implementation of RDF and other Semantic Web technologies; for example, a hashtag on a specific topic such as #PublicLibrariesInScotland could link to a conference on this topic, the research done by academics in the field, blogs from practitioners, newspaper articles, and so forth.

This book will explore social tagging behaviour. Most studies of this topic have focused on the types of tags that people assign to resources. Our interest is to examine how people interact with, and use, social tags to access and create resources and networks in linked environments.

It should be noted that, for the context of this book, the term “social tags” is used to include hashtags and geotags.

We welcome book chapter contributions centred (but not exclusively) on the following themes:

  • Social tagging and the creation of social networks.
  • The use and effectiveness of social tagging recommender systems.
  • The role of social tagging in information behaviour activities.
  • Social tagging behaviour in different domains.
  • Semantic or syntactic stability of social tags.
  • The role of social tagging in linked data applications and the Semantic Web.
  • The use and re-use of social tags for information discovery.
  • The role of social tagging in the formation of community networks.

Intended readers include practicing library and information professionals who implement electronic access to collections such as cataloguers and systems developers. Information architects and web developers would also have a particular interest in the book, as well as students in information management and cognate disciplines.

Submission Procedure:

Chapter proposal submissions  are invited  from researchers  and practitioners. Proposals should be limited 1000 words, explaining the mission and concerns of the chapter and how it fits into the general theme of the book. Please submit proposals to Louise.Spiteri@dal.ca by June 30, 2017.

Timeline

Chapter proposals:                                                Submission deadline:  June 30, 2017

Review proposals & contact authors:                By July 31, 2017

Chapters due:                                                         By  September 30, 2017

BReview of chapters:                                            By December 31, 2017

Editing of chapters after review:                        By February 28, 2018

Submission of first draft to Facet:                      By March 31, 2018

Review of proofs & creation of index:                    By April 30, 2018

The changing role of the Chief Information Officer

In this article, Andrew Horne, IT practice leader at CEB, discusses the changing role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO). Horne argues that while the importance of managing digital data is increasing, the recognition of this importance could lead to the decline of the CIO position, as this management becomes more integrated throughout various management levels, rather than the purview of one individual.  Horne suggests that CIOs can explore different paths in this changing landscape:

  1. Digital Evangelist.  Digital evangelists put next-generation technology capabilities such as big data, machine learning, and the Internet of Things into context and explain how they enhance or transform the enterprise’s products, channels, and operations.
  2. Modernizer. As modernizers, CIOs build and manage the next generation technologies and platforms that support digital transformation and enable interoperability of digital product portfolios. They also continually adapt IT’s processes and skill sets in areas such as business engagement, iterative development, customer experience and data management to the changes triggered by digitization.
  3. Productizer. An alternative path for CIOs may open up in companies that are selling digital products or services to end customers for the first time. So as a digital business grows, productizer CIOs will need to choose whether to become full time product owners and give the CIO role to someone else, or stay CIO and find a dedicated leader to take the digital business to the next level.

Although I find the terms above a little cringe-worthy perhaps, given my dislike of jargon and buzzwords, Horne does point to the importance of flexibility in the area of data management, especially as more functions become automated. The ability to adapt quickly to new environments is certainly something that information management programs need to incorporate into their curricula.

 

Ten principles of information management

Defining the principles of information management has never been easy; those of us in the field know what we do, and appreciate the value of our knowledge, but defining what we do to people outside our field can be challenging. This lack of clarity is not a reflection of any weakness in the area of information management but, rather, a reflection of the breadth of its scope and relevance. In this article, James Robertson outlines the key features of information management, which he draws from a number of “critical success factors” from various information management programs. Robertson makes a point of emphasizing that information management is not about just information technology; those of us in the field understand the frustration of having all our skill sets subsumed under the umbrella of technology: From the outset, it must be emphasised that this is not an article about technology. Rather, it is about the organisational, cultural and strategic factors that must be considered to improve the management of information within organisations.

Robertson’s 10 principles of information management:

  1. Recognize (and manage) complexity
  2. Focus on adoption
  3. Deliver tangible & visible benefits
  4. Prioritize according to business needs
  5. Take a journey of a thousand steps
  6. Provide strong leadership
  7. Mitigate risks
  8. Communicate extensively
  9. Aim to deliver a seamless user experience
  10. Choose the first project very carefully

Robertson does an excellent job of explaining the scope and breadth of information management, and I will be sure to incorporate this article in my courses.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee reflects on 28 years of the Web

In this post, Sir Tim Berners-Lee reflects on the development of the Web since he first proposed it 28 years ago. Sir Tim expresses concerns about the increased amount of personal data that people surrender to the Web, to the point at which he believes we have lost control over this data. Sir Tim points also to the inherent dangers of the ease with which misinformation can be spread, and to the increased use of the Web by governments to surveil their citizens. Sir Tim makes mention of a five-year plan for delivering digital equality, created by his Web Foundation. The goal of this plan is to use the open Web to build a more equal digital world:

Because despite the wave of creativity, innovation and collaboration unleashed by the web, the reality is that today, the web is not for everyone. In fact, the digital revolution is creating new patterns of privilege and discrimination. It is causing job losses and wage polarisation as well as productivity gains; it risks taking away our privacy and autonomy even as it gives ordinary citizens new powers; it is isolating us in filter bubbles as well as connecting us across borders; and it is amplifying voices of fear and hate just as much as voices for tolerance and rationality.

This plan has three foci:

  1. Power: All People Can Make Their Voices Heard Equally
    We will fight to ensure people’s rights on the web are legally protected. This means enshrining in law your right to freedom of expression and privacy online and ensuring that you have control over the collection and use of your personal data.
  2. Accountability: Citizens Hold Governments and Companies to Account
    We will continue to push for policies that open up key information online, and equip public interest groups to use this data to hold governments and companies accountable.
  3. Opportunity: Women and Other Excluded Groups Gain Economic and Social Opportunities and Resources. Digital equality means more inclusive public services and fair opportunities in the digital economy. Examples of policy outcomes we will be pursuing here are affordable broadband for all; expanded and enhanced free public WiFi schemes and digital skills programmes; and increased financial inclusion for women through digital financial services

Knowledge management tools that aren’t tools

This article by Neil Olonoff discusses the conundrum that can be faced with the implementation of knowledge management tools that are supposed to make managing knowledge assets easier but which, in reality, can create more complicated workflows. Olonoff focuses particularly on SharePoint, which is the system we use in my institution. Olonoff argues that:

We call software a “tool,” even though you can’t turn a screw or lever a log with it. That’s how symbolic and abstract work has become. But the basic idea of a “tool” — a utility external to our minds and bodies — remains. It’s still something that’s supposed to make work easier. So this becomes a very useful heuristic for gauging the effectiveness of knowledge management methods, and, dare I say it, tools. When something demands more effort and time and expense than the way we did things earlier, i.e., before [the] introduction of the New Tool, then that utility is simply Not a Tool!

Certainly, in the case of my institution, the roll out of SharePoint has not been what I would call particularly successful. Many units do not have a SharePont site, even though the institution adopted the software three years ago.  I’m always a little leery when implementation and maintenance of knowledge management software resides primarily in the hands of information technology departments, who might not have sufficient understanding of how to manage knowledge assets, implement proper metadata, ensure proper flow of records, maintain retention schedules, and so forth. I have encountered a fair degree of resistance to using SharePoint amongst colleagues because, to quote Olonoff, the new tool doesn’t meet the basic definition of a tool. It makes them work harder.