This week, SLA Europe take over the Future Ready blog. SLAE has around 250 members in half a dozen different countries. We are a thriving network of information professionals: individuals and organisations within the UK and across Europe come together to benefit from each others’ knowledge and experience. All areas of the information profession are represented by our members - specialist librarians, researchers, knowledge managers, business insight consultants, information scientists, editors, content specialists, graduates and academics and we’ve got representation in many different divisions.
by Jane Macoustra, Asian and Europe Chapters, Business & Finance Division
The phrase “Future Ready” can have a number of meanings. For me, being Future Ready means always keeping up with new developments in the tech side of the Information Professional world, and exploiting that tech for best advantage.
At the moment, the professional world is experiencing some difficult times, but technology comes to assist in the form of Virtual reality worlds. I was unable to attend the SLA 2011 conference in Philadelphia, so I attended virtually. I got a lot out of attending the conference from afar and also met new colleagues that I wouldn’t necessarily have had the opportunity to meet if I had attended the conference in person. Previously, if I’d been unable to attend, that would have been the end of the matter because virtual attendance is a fairly recent innovation.
I work as an editor on a daily basis for a New York publisher which allows me to work and publish my daily current awareness before anyone has reached the office to start their day. I do Sun Chasing work, and the technology we have now is an enabler to making time zones completely irrelevant. When I worked in Asia, I could cover colleagues’ absence in the US and London. I was abroad on holiday very recently and my mobile rang with a client requesting assistance. I took the instruction and completed the work from Spain, using a note book. The hotel was wi-fi-ed, and so I sat by the pool compiling and completing my assignment. When office space is expensive, and people don’t want to pay for extra office space, I work virtually for clients and maintain contact with them using technology that is free, such as Skype and a web cam. I also utilise free software and clean-up tools for my laptops such as a defragmenter and a CCleaner from Piriform or Uniblue.
I’m always on the lookout for the next new innovations and watch what others are doing, and how they are getting on with new products. I also sign myself up as a guinea pig for any new Beta testing of software that has just arrived in the public domain and I read many tech blogs and articles. That way I feel that I am doing my utmost to be Future Ready from a virtual perspective in relation to my work.
Jane is an experienced Information Professional, previously working in oil and gas, law, investment banking, university teacher and project manager, as an author of a book on business research and now –as a Virtual Assistant under the Tai-Pan Research and the Virtual City Girl consultancy. The assignments she undertakes are diverse and interesting. She spent 2 ½ years working in Hong Kong, and is on the Board of SLA Europe and SLA Asian Chapter.