Another SLA-Europe Social Event, Anonymous Searching, and the Anti-Social Network

July 13, 2012

Hello again. Another blog, and another great social event thanks to SLA-Europe. I’m on the Board, so I would say that. However, it was a very good way to spend a Summer evening (raining of course!) look at the cloud formation surrounding my photo of the Shard.

This was taken from the Roof Terrace of the offices of Nomura International Plc, Angel Lane EC4.

I met many old faces and many new ones at this event and spoke with people on a wide range of topics which included Client ID and Know-Your-Customer (KYC); SharePoint; Barclays; SharePoint; working in the Inner Temple as a Librarian when you trained as a Barrister; SharePoint and why it is such a great product; redundancies; SharePoint and why you wanted to lose it instead of use it; SCIP (Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals) raised twice by others with negative/positive commentary; SharePoint…etc. I’m sure you get my drift by now. I also work with SharePoint, so it was totally mesmerising to see this as the buzzword for the evening, with everyone I spoke to. People clearly have a certain ambivalent relationship with this particular piece of software. The event was sponsored by the Financial Times, Integreon and 7Side.

Given the negative publicity that Google has received recently surrounding its’ latest privacy policy, it’s hardly surprising that new search tools are being produced by so many new start-ups – and are having a pop at Google at the same time. Try and run a search for engines that protect your privacy and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m heading back to the KYC topic. After following Transparency International (TI) for many years now for its amazing corruption reports, I’d like to introduce you to Privacy International (PI) as well. I wrote about TI and focussed on PI in my book on pages 161-165 and highlighted that at that time of writing, Privacy Internationals’ view was that they had “found numerous deficiences and hostilities in Google’s approach to privacy that go well beyond those of other organisations”. (Privacy International, A Race to the Bottom: Privacy Ranking of Internet Companies 2007. So, has anything changed for the better since then? You know how to look this up…….

Privacy International

And so we move on to the Anti-Social Network. I thought that the Murdoch/News International scandal into privacy was the fat end of the wedge in privacy abuse, but it’s (almost) the opposite if compared to other means that are being used to upset and hurt people. On 21st March, Richard Bacon reported on BBC 3 about the Anti-Social Network. While I was aware that the Internet has been used for abusive purposes for a long time now, the full extent of the abuse was brought sharply into focus with this hard-hitting documentary. Richard described how not only has he and his family been a target of abuse – known as Trolling – but  he highlighted how Trolls also target RIP sites and launch a tirade of abuse at the recently deceased and their families. It’s a sick world when that’s the best that people can manage when harnessing the power of the Internet and all the fabulous technology that surrounds it.

It would seem fitting to leave this post on a lighter note, and so I give you Andy Murray on Centre Court at Wimbledon! What an amazing player. I was upset when he lost the Championships, but await his strong performance in the Games. Gold would be brilliant.

I was there!


Special Libraries Association – Europe’s 40th Anniversary Celebration

March 1, 2012

Hello again!

I attended a brilliant event on Tuesday to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of SLA Europe (“SLA E”). It was held at the brand new offices of Rothschild in St Swithins’ Lane, at the top of the building.

After being escorted to the 14th floor cloak-room, a glass lift took you to the next level where you stepped out and walked into this large, beautiful, airy function room, that had floor-to-ceiling glass windows on two sides, affording  breathtaking panoramic views of The City at night-time.  What a treat!

Banner advert for SLA Europe 40th Anniversary

All the invitations had been taken up, and the room slowly filled with people. Waiters served drinks and delicious canapes as the guests mingled, and in pride of place in the room stood a beautiful four-tiered chocolate cake which symbolised the celebrations.

Our official Photographer, Laura Woods, took photographs of the current SLA Board and Committee, and then photographed all Past and Current Presidents, and then finally all of SLA Europe’s Award Winners.

Three of the guests made it over from Europe to be with us; Gimena Campos Cervera, Marie-Madeleine Salmon (Board Member) and Laura Armiero.

Darron Chapman, SLA E President gave a short speech and highlighted the new jobs board which has just materialised on the web site. Darron was followed by a short speech from Veronica Kennard, who is a Past President of SLA E, and who also kindly provided the opportunity to host the event at Rothschilds. Veronica asked us all to go and introduce ourselves to at least one person with whom we had never met.

After the speeches were made, it was cake cutting time, and more drinks and canapes, as the networking took off and information professionals from across the sectors reacquainted themselves with old colleagues and made contact with new ones.

For me, this was the event of the year, and as SLA E goes from strength-to-strength, my opinion is that they have hit the top of the league tables for the Information Professional as THE professional organisation of choice. Indeed, one of our Board members is running for the President-Elect position for the main board of SLA this year. We also have Board members who are Fellows of the Association, currently serve at the top, or have previously held high office. This clearly demonstrates the extraordinary quality of the Board in Europe. The latest upcoming new Info Pro is Sam Wiggins.

As a Past President for SLA Asia, an award winner, a Board member of SLA E since 2004, and current Committee member, I could be seen as biased, but many more who attended this event would totally agree with me about how special an evening this was. But the massive thanks goes to all the people who took the time and effort who made the event happen and it wasn’t me.

Back again soon.