Monthly Archives: July 2015

CILIP Conference – Part 2

ARLG NW offered a bursary to attend CILIP Conference 2015, held in Liverpool. Michelle Bond, Faculty Librarian at Liverpool Hope University, was the winner of our bursary. Her report on the conference appears in 2 parts, with the first part found here.

In my second post, I’ll cover a couple of sessions I attended that really stood out – one from each day of the conference.

Day 1

From Day 1, the highlight was Phil Bradley’s session on ‘Developments in Internet search’. Phil is always good value, as proved by the fact I had a front row seat due to the room being packed out! The last time I encountered Phil was when I was a graduate trainee way back in 2011 I think – at CILIP’s New Professionals Day, where I remember him exhorting us to be militant librarians and feeling mildly terrified at the end. This time, as a much more grown up new professional, I was really pleased to be able to update my knowledge of search (with Phil speaking much more quietly).

Phil started out talking about Google and how it’s dismantling its search engine, and starting to lose credibility. He mentioned the loss of synonym and reading level options as well as the limited advanced search options as reasons. In addition, he reminded us that Google are an advertising firm who just use search to make money. They want to give us information without us having to think, but this isn’t good – Phil used the example of searching “what happened to dinosaurs?

Phil moved on to discussing the pressures on Google search, of which there are many! These mainly come in the form of social media – Google is focussed on websites when the world has moved on to social, with the importance of the individual going up and the website going down. Social media provides a more personalised search, and allows users to turn to “experts” among their network rather than  asking Google and having to scroll through lists of results. Google has failed at social media (Google+ anyone?) and so cannot compete in this area.

Other Google problems include increasing competition from other search engines, competition from other sites (Twitter, for example is better at prediction and more up to date), and political issues such as the right to be forgotten and potentially contradictory laws from different countries that they will need to abide by. Google is attempting to fight back by giving us information before we know we need it in the form of Google Now, with Phil saying that search in future will be increasingly embedded into what we’re doing.

A few alternative search engines Phil recommended trying:




Social media search:

Social searcher




There are many more suggestions on Phil’s slides –

Day 2

Moving on to Day 2, my session highlight was Naomi Korn’s “master class in copyright compliance, management and strategy for your organisation”. Whilst I don’t have any responsibility for copyright in my organisation, it is one of my chartership areas so thought I might learn something new.

Naomi’s masterclass was, in a word, brilliant. She made a very dry sounding topic come alive and seem totally relevant. She started off by saying that copyright is now an intrinsic part of digital literacy – for people to be able to create, share, reuse, repurpose, etc. they need to understand copyright. There has been a huge cultural change since the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act was introduced – teens have a different attitude to materials, and feel they can do what they want with anything they like. Unfortunately, copyright law has not kept up with the pace of change.

Naomi stated that we need to be strategic with copyright, and manage risk, particularly with regards to the new introductions to law as no one is yet sure how far the boundaries can be pushed. Risk management involves confidence – and there is correlation between organisations having a copyright officer and their confidence in risk management. Naomi then spent time explaining why copyright is an essential issue for every organisation:

An information management issue – need to be sure you have somewhere to store licenses

A knowledge management issue – need to know what is in the licenses

A people management issue – making sure all staff know their roles and responsibilities

A policy issue – not abiding by copyright should be a disciplinary offence

A strategic issue

Essentially, copyright needs to be embedded into practice, and stopped treating as “other”. Core to this is staff engagement through policies and tools they can use (forms, summaries of key licenses, etc.). Copyright needs to be built into procedures and policy should be a living breathing thing.

The final thing I learned from Naomi was that being incredibly passionate about your topic makes a huge difference! Her half an hour talk was very engaging and she really made copyright come alive for me, fully convincing me to march out of the room and start making changes. A genuinely excellent talk.

Thanks to ARLG NW for supporting me to attend the conference. It was so valuable and I now have plenty to write up for chartership. All of the slides from the conference can be found from the conference programme at


CILIP Conference 2015 – Part 1

ARLG NW offered a bursary to attend CILIP Conference 2015, held in Liverpool. Michelle Bond, Faculty Librarian at Liverpool Hope University, was the winner of our bursary. Her report on the conference appears in 2 parts, today and Friday.

Sometimes it’s nice to travel to conferences; I’ve been to a few both in the UK and overseas. For a change though, it was nice to have a major conference on my doorstep, meaning I could stay at home and take the bus to work. Thus on the morning of Thursday 2nd July I rocked up to the gorgeous St George’s Hall, fresh and ready to engage with CILIP Conference 2015.

Rather than writing a chronological account of the conference, in this post I’ll write about a couple of my conference highlights – in the next I’ll write about a couple of really useful sessions I attended. You can view all of the conference presentations at the CILIP Conference website.

The Keynotes

Quite simply, the keynotes were fabulous and my number 1 highlight of the conference. From R. David Lankes to Erwin James, each speaker was thought-provoking and explored issues at the heart of what it means to work in our profession. One thing that really shone through all the talks, however, was the reminder that our work is all about people. Cory Doctorow reminded us that the Internet improves every outcome we value, from literacy to voting turnout; Stuart Hamilton talked about library involvement in sustainable development; Erwin James reminded us of the power of a book. Libraries serve people and make their lives better. Librarians serve people and, in the words of R. David Lankes, are “change agents”. For me this was most apparent in the presentation about the Ideas Box from Bibliothèques Sans Frontières.

Barbara from Bibliothèques Sans Frontières told us that a refugee spends approximately 17 years in a refugee camp; humanitarian organisations provide the basics like water and tents but not the things that make us human – like culture. The Ideas Box can be deployed anywhere – it doesn’t need electricity or internet. It has a strong focus on creativity and aims to create space for a vibrant community. The challenge for Ideas Box is the quality of content – they need help from librarians all around the world to curate the content of the Box and ensure it’s locally relevant. It was another great reminder that libraries, in whatever form they appear, make a huge difference to their communities.

R. David Lankes gave us all an action plan

R. David Lankes gave us all an action plan

The Exhibition

One of the many things I’ve learned from SLA (and specifically the awesome Library Sherpa) is that vendors are not our enemies! They really are people too (honest). So I made sure to spend some quality time getting my sticker sheet filled and having a chat with all the exhibitors. From saying hello to companies my university already do business with to finding out about exciting new developments (SeeSearch was one that particularly interested me) to picking up a stash of my favourite pens from Cambridge University Press, the exhibition hall was well worth the time spent.

It was well worth chatting to the exhibitors...not just for the freebies!

It was well worth chatting to the exhibitors…not just for the freebies!


The conference was really fantastic for networking – I got to catch up with some familiar faces and meet some new people too. My one small gripe about the conference was that it was so packed that sometimes catch-ups were too brief as I had to rush off to another session, but the sessions were also good so I can’t complain really! The reception at the Museum of Liverpool was fantastic, with delicious food, free drinks and the opportunity to explore the museum. I also got roundly beaten at giant Connect 4 by my colleagues!
As you can tell, my impression of CILIP Conference was very favourable! In my post on Friday I’ll discuss in more depth a couple of particularly valuable sessions I attended.

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