In Search of Corporate Info Pros

L
Librarians
By: Mary Ellen Bates, Tue Jan 5 2021
Mary Ellen Bates

Author: Mary Ellen Bates

One of my unexpected discoveries during this time of COVID shutdowns and virtualized conferences is how much I value the random interactions when info pros get together. Sure, I am still virtually attending (and speaking at) professional conferences, but I miss all the serendipitous conversations that happen while waiting for an elevator or when sitting down for coffee with colleagues.

This gave me a reason to revisit the virtual hangouts and discussion groups that corporate librarians and information managers are frequenting today. The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, based in the UK, is one of the first places to look for corporate info pros. CILIP has two interest groups with a significant corporate librarian presence—the Commercial, Legal & Scientific Information Group, with members in law firm and corporate libraries, and the Knowledge and Information Management Interest Group, a large group with corporate as well as public and academic librarians. In addition to its members-only discussion areas, see CILIP's Twitter feed and those of the K&IM group and the CL&S group.

Another professional home, particularly for North American corporate librarians, is the Special Libraries Association. Communities of most use to corporate information managers and librarians include Business & Finance, which includes corporate, academic and public librarians involved in business research and information services, as well as the industry-specific communities such as Chemistry, Engineering, and Pharmaceutical & Health Technology. The PHT community is particularly active, until this year hosting its own annual meeting with content and vendors of interest to librarians in pharmaceutical-related industries.

Corporate librarians and information managers often find that the most useful organizations are those in their specific industry or market. For instance, the American Association of Law Libraries hosts the Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals Special Interest Section, with over 1300 members. The PLLIP SIS hosts webinars, an annual day-long summit, a Twitter account, and the On Firmer Ground blog, all of which focus on concerns specific to librarians in private law firms.

Another approach to finding conversations among corporate librarians is to look for groups and events focused on business- or industry-related research. While many of the participants are academic and public librarians who support research in that area, they share with corporate librarians the need to stay updated on new information sources and research techniques.

The largest of these more general business librarian communities is BRASS, the Business Reference and Services Section of the Reference and User Services Association, itself a division of the American Library Association. Their public Facebook page offers limited information; discussions are members-only.

One of the longest-running discussion lists on business research is BUSLIB-L, which includes discussions related to business libraries in corporate, academic and public settings, and business information sources. Parallel groups on Facebook and LinkedIn are not active; this is an example of an online discussion list that has remained constant over a quarter century.

Also of possible interest is the Business Librarians group on Facebook. This subject-focused group includes academic, public and corporate librarians; while a fair amount of the posts are by and for public and academic librarians, contributors regularly share information resources and techniques that corporate librarians and information managers would also find helpful.

While some aspects of corporate librarianship specific to working within a for-profit enterprise are not discussed much by existing info pro communities, corporate librarians can find groups that share their focus on information resources relevant to their industry.

Mary Ellen Bates

Author: Mary Ellen Bates

Mary Ellen Bates is principal of Bates Information Services, based near Boulder, Colorado. She provides research and analysis for strategic decisionmakers and consulting services to the information industry.

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