Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Skill Sets of Information Professionals (Part 3 of 4)

Whether named Information Professionals, Digital Asset Managers, Virtual Librarians or something else, these essential people possess a special skill-set necessary to organize and manage your intellectual properties, especially important as you implement digital access to your data via the web to your employees, clients and prospects. Candidates with strong IT backgrounds only, often lack the depth of knowledge required to understand how your assets are used from a business application perspective. And, traditional librarians most often lack the technical expertise needed to properly copyright, catalog, meta-tag and organize assets in digital format for online access. Information professionals today must have both technical expertise, and strong organizational proficiency. Finding, hiring and training, or contracting the right Information Manager (Digital Asset Manager, Librarian, Information Professional) is critical to the successful implementation of a digital or digital and hard-copy combined library.

In addition to experience in cataloging, indexing, meta-tagging, digital file formats, and strong organizational and research skills, many information professionals now also possess certifications in Knowledge Management, Copyright Management, Digital Rights Management, Business and Competitive Intelligence. They have a strong working knowledge of information technology and office applications, including: content aggregation tools, SharePoint and other tools including: Factiva, LexisNexis, Bloomberg, Factset, Thomson ONE Analytics, and FinancialTimes.com, to name a few.  Information Managers posses the technical skills necessary to function as the system administrator of your library, providing different users with different access levels to your assets.

In Part-4 of this series, I will speak directly to LAC-Group’s expertise and 25-years experience in library services, as we employee nearly 400 information professionals, all of which are working from client sites all over the world today.
“He is wise who knows the sources of knowledge -where it is written and where it is to be found.”- A.A. Hodge

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hiring/Contracting Options for Digital Asset Management (Part 2 of 4)

Although a Digital Asset Manager is a relatively new position, it has quickly become a necessity in almost every industry. With over 20,000 asset managers working throughout the world (in almost every industry) today, and those numbers projected to triple within the next decade, the good news for executives and IT professionals is that you now have many more options available to you, than you did even five years ago. Whether you work in corporate America, the private business sector, government, law, or bio/pharma, a good portion of your business is now conducted in the virtual marketplace, and that volume is only expected to increase as time passes. Therefore, adding the right Digital Asset Manager to your organization is critical to your future success. In many cases using an outside firm to manage your digital assets can result in not only savings but productivity gains.  Hiring and contracting options for the digitization and management of your assets includes:

  1. Outsourcing the recovery of archives, assets lost in a crisis, including storage repository recovery and expansion.
  2. Outsourcing the digitization and organization of specific assets for a specific project.
  3. Outsourcing the cataloging, meta-tagging, and organization of your digital and physical assets, followed by training of your internal information management staff for the ongoing administration of your library from in-house.
  4. Outsourcing the digitization of your assets, and retaining a contracted digital asset managers as part of your IT team for the on-going administration of your asset library.
  5. Adding an experienced digital asset manager to compliment your in-house employees for the digitization and/or permanent administration of your library.
In Part-3 of this series, I will cover the specific skill sets for librarians in the Digital Age.

Libraries are not made; they grow.” - Augustine Birrell

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Commonly Outsourced Information Management Functions (Part 1 of 4)

First and foremost, outsourcing information management (IM) doesn’t have to be all or nothing; Outsourcing of some library and information management services is already an accepted and common practice in every library today in the public sector, as well as most in-house, legal and government repositories. Most executives and IT managers now approach outsourcing from the perspective of a long-term strategic business practice to reduce costs, and increase workflow efficiencies and enhanced services for their customers and employees. Outsourcing IT functions is an invaluable option available within the library services industry, allowing businesses to not only jump over new technological hurdles much faster, and at a reduced cost, but to better control the massive cultural change within their organization when transitioning from a traditional to digital library. One of the biggest challenges is deciding which business functions to contract out, and which to maintain in-house. According to 2011 benchmarks by Outsell, the most commonly outsourced activities fall into the following four categories:

  1. Transactional Activities: Document imaging, cataloging and delivery, and data inquiries and alerting services that are necessary IM functions, but don’t necessarily increase revenues.
  2. Tactical Enterprise Information Management Functions: Complex queries and research, and archive and records management that require understanding from a business and technology perspective.
  3. Outside Expertise Required: Expertise is often not available in existing IM staff for information analysis, and management of enterprise information architecture.
  4. User training: Information and technology providers commonly handle in-house user training.    

These four categories of outsourced IM functions are all common responsibilities associated with both Physical and Digital Asset Managers, whether an employee or contractor. So in Part-2 of this series, I will outline the hiring and contracting options available to you so you can properly plan and expand your business into the digital marketplace.  

Blog 1 of 4 Reference:
OUTSELL, Making Information Management Outsourcing Work: Success Factors and Best Practices, by Roger Strouse (Jan 17, 2011)

“To know where you can find anything, that in short, is the largest part of learning.” - Anonymous