6 Jan 2018

SEDIC XIX Conference on Information Management #19JGI - Review

The latest SEDIC's, Spanish Information Managers Association, annual conference took place in National Library of Spain on 15th November 2017.

The topic of the event was: Back to the future. Visionaries of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Our profession has changed a lot in last decades. Apparently, the roles, processes and challenges of information management institutions have little to do with yesterday's. How has the work of the information management professional changed in last thirty-forty years? How did you imagine the future of the profession then, and to what extent have the steps taken built what we are today? What great innovations did the preceding generations (and not necessarily technological ones) deal with? In what ways have the concepts of user, utility and social relevance, collection management, user satisfaction and evaluation, access, citizen participation, services, etc. evolved, and to what extent has it impacted our roles, training and professional objectives? How do we imagine today that these concepts will evolve, and where do we understand that the steps we are taking on this path will take us?

Source: sedic.es

Inaugural Presentation

Ana Santos opened the conference by highlighting the collaboration between SEDIC and BNE, as well as the support of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports.

Ana invited attendants and information managers to reflect on the transformation in which libraries are immersed. Even though needs have been changing, libraries mission remains essential for citizens. Today, society requires less traditional services while increasing the demand for new digital services.

Conferences allow the debate on the evolution of cultural institutions such as archives, libraries, etc. as well as analyzing citizens' needs and how they perceive them.

He ended his speech by thanking the visionaries who participated in the conference as speakers, and inviting them to continue dreaming and building the institutions of tomorrow's.

CONCHA VILARIÑO PERIÁÑEZ. Vice principal at Coordinación Bibliotecaria of Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports

Concha Vilariño outlined how much our profession has changed during last decades, the new forms of social communication and interaction with users, as well as the new knowledge and skills of the professionals, which require a constant update and a great capacity for adaptation.

There are many examples of pioneers in the history of cultural institutions, whose ideas and work have been a source of inspiration. These pioneers have highlighted the importance that the management of information and knowledge has had, has and is going to have in an increasingly complex society.

In Spain in the 1980s, a series of events led to the rapid development of Spanish libraries and the creation of large information management projects. These advances stem from learning by doing, which is how the future should be conceived. Teamwork and cooperation between professionals have been key factors to thrive these projects.

In order to make new ideas emerge, we must improve communication between professionals in the sector and other sectors related to our objectives.

Yolanda de la Iglesia insisted on the support of the BNE, the collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports and all the actors that have made possible the organization of this conference.

One of the aims of this event is recognising proffesionals' efforts and work that have mark the way to move forward, by providing innovative ideas and solutions to be applied to users, services, management of collections and with so many other aspects of our cultural institutions.

The conference program is aimed at eliciting discussion, debates, ways of thinking, criteria and experiences.

Inaugural Conference

Jose Antonio Pascual referred to how philologists make the most of digital libraries to work. Owing to the technological development on both libraries and archives and the librarians' and archivists change of mentality, philology as field has been able to thrive as never before.

Humanities can be collaboratively researched in a world laboratory with the collaboration between digital libraries and philologists. This cooperation allows different specialties to work together in network contributing to create knowledge without being physically at the same place.

He referred to certain manuscript whose digitization, web availability, and accessibility at any time and place allow researchers to make a linguistic traceability of words, by finding lexical relations and evolutions. In addition, being capable of studying several manuscripts and comparing their texts can result in other interests for philologists.

Finally, he stressed that we must be aware that we must collaborate by offering the means that each one possesses, such as access to the data and provide added value. Furthermore, young people have a lengthy career yet, so their passion for libraries and archives is determinant.

Professional conversations I: Users and services

The first debate dealt with the participatory role of users in the library environment, how they evolve and the new needs they have.

Esperanza Adrados indicated that users of libraries and archives have changed a lot in last 20 years. Institutions are becoming more accessible and opener to everyone, for which legislation has helped. Technologies have contributed to this openness to citizens, and, as a result, they are making digital services more requested. In addition, in order to give more visibility to archives, there is still a long way to go, and it would be advisable to do so from the first years of school.

We must take social networks into consideration, as they allow cultural institutions to appeal to non-users. However, it is difficult to provide such a broad service because each user always wants to be the best assisted and we lack the means to provide with an optimal service. In the end, according to Esperanza, the information professionals work as daily demands emerge. An exclusive team to draw the attention of new users is necessary. Anyway, events like exhibitions, concerts, etc. are taking place in libraries' and archives' spaces, which help their visibility to be increased. Besides, commemorations or specific dates are considered.

Arantza Mariscal stressed that the key change regarding users was that they could go personally to archives or libraries and make inquiries from the screen. In addition, he pointed out that although the institutions and their objectives has also evolved, it would be desirable for this change to be faster. Libraries must be proactive, by proposing experiences, contents and services that generate curiosity to new users because citizens increasingly have a desire to learn, create things and participate. For this, it is necessary for cultural institutions to be more flexible, know how to change at the same pace society changes.

As a public service, we must work for non-current users, reflect on what is happening and risk the proposals that are offered, and create a more educated, informed society.

Among the audience, it was stated whether today, with the digital platforms on the rise, the physical spaces of the institutions are so important. It was pointed out that spaces should not disappear, but they will be managed differently and, in addition, archives and libraries offer human tools and equipment that guide research and learning. Therefore, the professionals must evolve and adapt to digital society. In the future, the raw product will be made available to users in order that they decide what to do with it.

Professional conversations I: Professional profiles and training

In this session, professional profiles and training in the field of documentation for the future were discussed.

According to José López Yepes there are three aspects to consider in the documentary sector: the document concept itself, what the science of documentary information is, and what an information professional is. The teaching objective is not clear and there is a problem of terminology in the professional area of information.

The university does not only transmit knowledge but also allows research, intellectual forms and thinkers. The basic training of the professional should be given in the university so that well-trained professionals can really help users. A doctorate is more than a certificate, as it indicates that the person knows how to obtain new scientific knowledge. However new ideas can also be come up without being a doctor.

Javier Leiva considered that documentation professionals today need a broader range of skills, rather than so knowledge. Sometimes the curricula are a little outdated, as changes occur fast. So, university should look for faster updating mechanisms. Moreover, a continuous training of information professionals is necessary. Although it is important for information professionals to have studied humanities, we must consider how knowledge is acquired today. University should continue to offer basic knowledge, while coping with learning micro-needs. It would be necessary to introduce in the universities the concept of microcertifications as well as digital badges, which allow, through evidences of acquired knowledge, to broaden the focus and the way in which documentalists are included in the professional world.

For instance, MOOCs (Massive Open On-line Course) are starting to be offered by universities. These are more self-taught microformations. In addition, a constant update is required, and the development of competences more important than the content itself.

The audience asked how the documentalist can train as a researcher to give added value or quality to all the digital contents. It was pointed out that intellectual training is basic, and any career is useful to be taken into account as you can also specialize later in Librarianship and Information Sciences. Indeed, it is possible that in the future Spanish documentalists are graduates in other areas.

Professional conversations I: Technology and technical processes

RICARDO SANTOS MUÑOZ. Manager of Technical Processes at Biblioteca Nacional de España

This discussion focused on technology and technical processes, which have experienced the most technological change in libraries and archives.

According to Virginia Moreno, archivists are becoming ICT professionals, as they must decide how to deal with documents in order to design electronic documents that will be managed in digital archives. Therefore, archivists are fundamental in the records management process. However, it has been some difficulties in integrating them into the process due to their reluctance regarding technology.

As for regulations, what most effect has in records is what regulates interoperability and single electronic archives. In addition, although technology would be cutting-edge, it is only a means and it has to be adapted to what is being defined within institutions. Regulations also give more work because they generate pressure on meeting deadlines and defines guidelines without indicating exactly what to do.

Ricardo Santos pointed out that technology will determine how we will work in the future because it makes the most of the resources and provide with solutions to know how to create data. In this sense, the profound change for the information manager has been to change from being a provider of records to a provider of data and information to the public.

It was highlighted that both catalogs 2.0 and collaboration of users and researchers will help to enrich data. In addition, the future goes towards a semiautomatic cataloging, where catalogers will no longer be a transcriber, but a data generator that will catalog by thinking about how users and machines will read them. Libraries own enormous amounts of data that have not been studied yet.

In the audience, it was asked whether technology makes many library and archive standards unnecessary. The flexibility that technology gives makes standardization less rigorous and hence highlight the importance of semi-automatic cataloging. Anyway, standards are necessary for the reuse of data.

In conclusion, the work archives and libraries will do in the future regarding the challenge of electronic administration and generation and reuse of data was evidenced. In the end, technology is an essential means that helps to carry out organizational changes as well as ways of working, opening up information and citizen participation.

Professional conversations II: Public service and profitability

IGNASI LABASTIDA I JUAN. Director of Research and Innovation Department at Universidad de Barcelona Library

It was discussed how both public service and profitability can work together.

Cristina Alovisetti explained management of copyright from a commercial perspective, particularly within Museo del Prado, whose objective regarding digitization process is that the digital images have the highest level of quality as possible. Today there is more and more access and dissemination of images of the museum, and we also find an open universe of images on the Internet.

Management of rights is not against dissemination provided that the use is lawful. For instance, Museo del Prado does not charge for the use of images in doctoral theses. However, the Museum has used resources to generate high-quality images and maintain them, so if somebody want to use it is normal to request money to help finance the Museum and continue generating files.

However, according to Ignasi Labastida all public institutions should transmit their works, which are in the public domain, to the digital public domain. On Museo del Prado, everything that is digitalized is in the public domain, and standards that machines understand are used. Besides, the money that public institutions use to digitize is paid with public funds and should be returned to people. The most appropriate model is to put images in public domain, and if you want more quality, go to the institution to request and pay for it.

Moving to other point, it is very important to begin to positively perceive copyright, which can be managed in diverse ways depending on the different purposes for which images are used. For example, in our university the philosophy states that as doctoral theses are open, therefore images they contain should also be.

It is emphasized that some European museums have an open policy on rights and there is also a European letter that expressly states that the fact that an object of art is digitized, yet being in public domain, it does not alter its public domain nature.

Among the public the movement openGLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) was mentioned, considering that all cultural institutions are going to have to rethink legal obligations to open data. Although openGlam has a large budget, the financing for open access to data is also the responsibility of the government. Moreover, one thing is that the works are in public domain and another thing is that their images are. It is also very important to start making data more open and reusable among museums.

The audience also commented that the first reuse directive of the public sector does not put limits on the reuse of public information and is aimed at ensuring that public resources are used to the maximum to generate wealth. Nevertheless, after that, a correction was made with the idea of recovering the high costs of the digitalization processes. In short, it is a problem of the administration that does not devote to these issues the necessary resources society demands.

Professional conversations II: Relevance and social function

JOSÉ SÁNCHEZ SÁNCHEZ. Predecessor of Managing Director of Castilla-La Mancha Library
RIANSARES SERRANO MORALES. Former Guadalajara Senator and predecessor of Director of Archivo Histórico Provincial de Guadalajara

This conversation focused on the relevance and social function of the information centers, for which it would be convenient to know how to measure them.

Riansares Serrano believes that archives, libraries and museums are making a significant effort in information dissemination and social participation. The incorporation of new technologies, electronic archives, administrative transparency and an adequate management of information has multiplied how much archives are demanded. Professionals must participate actively in their local communities where they work.

In Castilla-La Mancha region, for example, it was possible to facilitate access to libraries thanks to library buses and local, public libraries. It is necessary to attract young people when they are at school as well as university to make citizens aware of the importance of the custody and conservation of bibliographic heritage.

Juan Sánchez highlighted how the percentage of Spanish public library users has increased regardless of the recession. Despite the availability of technology, many resources and professionals are still needed.

Owing to the ill-conceived administration of Spanish governmental regions, there are significant inequalities between them. Councils are in charge of libraries services, and if there are no funds, there are no resources to be provided. Everyone must be able to use library services, including local, small communities. However, it has not been achieved due to a lack of political will. Libraries should be on politicians' agenda, instead of being a timely goodwill. There must be political obligations and commitment.

Professional conversations II. Preservation and access to collections

MAR PÉREZ MORILLO. Manager of Legal deposit of online publications at Biblioteca Nacional de España

According to Lluis Anglada, the word preserve should be replaced by deferred access over time. Preservation is undeniable important, but it can be an obstacle to access. In addition, current legal deposit legislation is no longer valid, because there is more and more information in number, diversity, dispersion. Therefore, the future preservation will be collaborative, federated, selective and not easy at all.

Three ideas were proposed to make digital hole smaller in the future:
  1. Do a deep review of our professional practices, by making the most of the resources we have.
  2. Pay fees for associations and cooperative projects, since the financing will also be cooperative in the future.
  3. Determine what level of aggregation we are going to work.
Mar Pérez pointed out that preservation is destined to enable people to access records. Moreover, concepts and practise of acquisition and legal deposit of digital content seen as bibliographic heritage is complex. There are two types of legal deposit:
  • Content freely accessible on the web and that can be collected with a robot, which automatically tracks and saves the content of websites.
  • Content that is online, but have restricted access. It is also subject to legal deposit, but we cannot save it automatically, but we have to contact publishers and distributors to ask for permission and content.
New models of preservation are needed because the digital preservation policy used is designed for collections digitized in libraries thus in tangible support, not considering digital-born content itself. Other relevant aspects are supports, formats, applications, intellectual property, collaboration and resources.

In addition, exhaustivity is ruled out. In Spain, a massive search and collection of the .es domain is done once a year, while in other domains the search is done by selecting collections. These collections must be defined by web curators. Nowadays we hope that the black hole that will be seen in 50 years, which is called digital dark age, will be smaller thanks to libraries, archives, etc.

To sum up, conservation does not make sense if it is not considered as a long-term access. That is why we must collect, store and process information to make it recoverable and useful. So, we can also avoid that digital hole as far as possible. Given the volume of work that it involves, the best way to proceed will probably be by the federation of efforts and common funding.

Presentation 'Suzanne Briet'

LAURA GARCÍA. Librarianship and Information Science student at Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Laura García's speech was focused on Suzanne Briet, about who and their work, despite having been an outstanding documentalist, there is little information.

Born in 1894 in France, she was a librarian, historian, documentalist and informatologist. He began teaching English, but in the 1920s he started working for the French National Library being familiarized with Librarianship world. In the 30s, he began to oversee the catalogs room and bibliographies. After that, she was part of the French Union of Documentation Organizations and, finally, she was vice president of the International Documentation Federation.

She never left Documentation being always very active. In the 50s he devoted himself to traveling to understand how other cultures and countries understand libraries and documentation centers. In US, he discovered the truly access library rights of users. She returned to France and decided to put it into practice by promoting that any citizen had access to libraries collections.

In 1951 he wrote an important manifesto on Documentation, composed of three parts:
  1. Technique of intellectual work: to harvest information and interpret it to make work more comfortable. In addition, the documentalist must participate in that investigation.
  2. Documentary profession: must be integrated into their users' cultural contexts. It also involves the formation of users.
  3. Documentation as a necessity of our time and of the future: must be linked to technological advances as well as advancement of society.
Suzanne was and is little known. Many of his records have been lost. She retired at age of 60 and went on writing to die.

Finally, Laura García invited everyone to research into forgotten visionaries of yesterday's, like Suzanne, and help us visualize the tomorrow.

Roundtable: Visionaries and projects in organizations

MARGARITA TALADRIZ MAS. Predecessor of FESABID president
CARLOTA TORTOSA. Archives consultant at IECISA
EVA CEREZO LÓPEZ. Informatics Manager at Abana informática

Margarita Taladriz moderated the roundtable, whose debate focused on the role that companies have played in the management of information and documentation, and how it collaborates with LIS professionals.

Elisa García-Morales collaborated in the founding of one of the first Spanish companies of document management services. From then, libraries and archives have changed as much as technology. At the beginning, professionals were requested to give advice in the initial stages of automation. It was a time of innovation and constant change, in which fundamentals for large processes of information processing were laid. Today we are looking for quality control and being able to process enormous amounts of information.

Francisco José Valentín pointed out that society now demands access from any place at any time through digital devices. Some problems stem from these needs and must be resolved.

Although the technological incorporation occurred before in Anglo-Saxon institutions, most of Spanish ones have followed the same steps. In addition, as part of the technological path was already done, it was easier and faster.

According to Carlota Tortosa archives have changed a lot because files are now electronic. There has been a great evolution in technological and normative fields. Institutions need to increase their understanding of technological knowledge to be able to participate and get people involved.

One of the important points is the management of change within the institutions. It is necessary that all the people of the institution are involved and that they see their benefits. If there is a leader responsible for this change in the institution, it is much simpler. However, if there is no such person, workforce need to persevere, although the change may not occur. Anyway, when companied are requested, the need already exists.

Eva Cerezo has seen profound changes in services. Nowadays, more services and projects aimed at digital transformation are requested. Likewise, more and more technological competences are requested in professional profiles.

As for recession, a positive consequence has resulted, as it has helped to draw new lines of competence and services. Companies have had to make the most of technology to innovate. Companies must undoubtedly adapt to cultural institutions.

In the future, information management will provide with services, including software. Technical process and electronic archives will increasingly be managed by specialized companies. Public institutions will remain as service managers. Digital librarians will manage services and selects content. It will require an interdisciplinary professional with good training in digital skills and continuous learning.

The public was reminded that public-private collaboration is necessary. There are projects that would not have come forward without this collaboration. The private should not replace the public, but we must understand each other. The ability to evolve and adapt is the result of collaboration and customer needs.

Closing conference

The closing conference was given by Maria Alexandra Veríssimo. The association to which it belongs was created in 1973. It has about 1000 associates: people and institutions. However, the association is neither an union (you cannot discuss professional legislation nor have representation at social level) nor a school (it is not possible to contribute to the certification of professionals).

The area with more activity is higher education libraries. Libraries of central administration have almost disappeared because of decisions made during the recession.

The challenges that the association faces are many and diverse: formative, political, economic and social. In Portugal, the profession of librarians, archivists and documentalists is in constant change, and, lamentably, dire problems emerged: hiring of unskilled professionals, reduction of leading positions librarianship qualification, and non-differentiation.

As for regulations, there is a deficit legal framework, as there are no laws for libraries and that of archives is outdated. What is more, although a program was developped to create a library network, today it has no funding. Likewise, libraries have good infrastructures, but without continuity.

Given this situation, two aspects are prioritized:
  • The political, social intervention: making social mobilization to have a voice.
  • Projection and assessment: give visibility to professionals, who must have qualifications. It is necessary to recognized professionals' roles.
The projects include the qualification of information services, career support, qualified hiring, and performance with a code of ethics. To achieve this, systematic policies, guidelines and strategies are taken into account to know which direction to follow.

The BAD (bibliotecarios, archiveros and documentalistas) notebooks, training activities, the BAD News newspaper, translations of the regulations in the documentary area, events such as the BADjobs, etc. are organized since 1973. Now we are working on the creation of a directory in which all the professionals are divided into categories.

Currently there are two topics on which the focus is:
  • General Regulation of Data Protection by the European Union.
  • 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Many entities already support this initiative, and so archives and libraries can.
To become visible in the documentation and information sector, we must stop talking in closed communities and try to get others to talk about this sector.

The public wonders what makes Portuguese different to Spanish, what we look like and what we can do together. According to Alexandra, the fundamental difference is on the regulation, which creates the need for qualified professionals. As for what having in common, it is the training of professionals. As for what can be done in collaboration, it is to work together for common causes and objectives and to contribute to sustainable development for community's integration.


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