by Gretchen Leslie, Oregon Chapter, Science-Technology Division
I am writing this post because I believe we, as an association, have not really done a good job of researching our industry—the information industry—and using that research to better position our members and our association in the future. We talk about being “Future Ready,” but I have not seen us applying our core research competencies to scoping where the growth is and what the trending is in the information industry, what skills we need to find work in the coming information industry scenario, who our potential partners can be, and where the hidden snakes lay on our path to the future. The research, data, and analysis are out there, generated by companies such as Outsell Inc., Simba, IDC, and Gartner. Are we using it? If not, why not?
So I guess this post is a call to action for the association leadership to begin a program to buy and use the published research about the information industry. Perhaps we could even partner with other associations, and cooperatively build a sustainable way to get the needed data and analysis on a continual basis. That way, we could always benchmark on where we are as informational professionals, vs. where the information industry is headed.
What do the rest of you think of this “info pros – research thyself!” approach to mapping out what Future Ready means? I’d like to hear from my colleagues in SLA about the idea of using market research on ourselves; making market research of the information industry part of our websites and continuing education, applying the ideas of where the information industry is moving to how and what we teach in information science graduate programs, and ultimately, building a better understanding of the global information industry and where we fit in the future as information professionals.
Gretchen Leslie has a 35+ year career in special libraries, and has always wondered why we cannot do a better job of analyzing our own industry.