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Catching up with Gemma Wood, marketing manager at CILIP

AvatarBy Michelle Silvestre
Category - Blog

Thursday 29th August 2019

CILIP is the UK’s library and information association and, back in July, we had the pleasure of exhibiting at the CILIP Conference 2019, the UK’s cross-sectoral conference for professionals across the information industry.

This year’s conference boasted a comprehensive and interesting programme, split into five main areas: big ideas, knowledge and information management, specialisms, career and technical.

It was a fantastic event with guest speakers including artificial intelligence technologist Kriti Sharma, The King’s Fund information service manager Hong-Anh Nguyen and Liz Jolly, chief librarian at the British Library.

We caught up with Gemma Wood, CILIP marketing manager, when the association exhibited at the OpenAthens Conference in March earlier this year.

The theme of our conference was ‘user-centred by design’ and we chatted to Gemma about the need from a librarian’s perspective to ensure equality and continuity of access to information and how that can sometimes clash with a traditional subscription-based publishing model, and how can those requirements be balanced.

We also spoke to Gemma about the challenges faced by CILIP members and technology was undoubtedly a common theme. On this front, the industry having to adjust to the speed with which the technology, user expectations and user needs are changing.

Many librarians are finding that their still-very-much-valued traditional library and information science skills they have are needing to be supplemented with knowledge management skills, i.e. managing the processes by which users are accessing information which is now a much less face-to-face transaction.

When considering how the industry is set to change in the coming years, Gemma talked about the future of technology for knowledge managers. AI and chatbots might start playing more of a prominent role in the user journey to content online but can only be effective if librarians and IT professionals work together to develop such tools.

CILIP has always accredited library and information science courses at universities in the UK and abroad, but the association is also trying to broaden routes of access into the profession through its chartership and apprenticeships whereby people who have come from IT or data-driven backgrounds can apply their skills in knowledge and information roles.

Another increasingly significant focus for librarians has been on information literacy and educating their users on what good sources look like and how to analyse where information is coming from and how valuable it is.

Speaking of piracy and following the debate on the subject we hosted at our conference, Gemma said CILIP members recognise that piracy is an issue amongst their users. It certainly needs to be a disruptor for change and something that librarians and publishers must respond to in order to ensure that users are able to easily access the valuable content they require in the right way.

CILIP works to improve library and information services and to champion the sector. Head to its website to find out more.

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