Catherine Dhanjal Finding Solutions to Key Issues at the AKISS Conference
Jinfo Blog

Monday, 23rd December 2013

By Catherine Dhanjal


The inaugural ASLIB AKISS conference provided highly practical advice for information and knowledge management professionals coupled with thought-provoking case studies and advice on future trends, found Catherine Dhanjal. Topics covered included big data, open source software and copyright. 


Around 100 information and knowledge management specialists attended the inaugural ASLIB Knowledge & Information Strategy Summit (AKISS) conference run by ASLIB, representing organisations including British Standards, the National Library of the Czech Republic, the Stroke Association and legal firms such as Reed Smith. The two days offered a mix of case studies, break out sessions, workshops and plenaries.

Who Owns Your Data?

Euan Semple, formerly of the BBC, and now an independent digital consultant, gave a thought-provoking talk on data and how individuals are increasingly aware of ownership and data rights. However, as the afternoon session focusing on big data showed, not all organisations are as respectful of their current obligations as they should be. Neither are they fully aware of the likely changes to legislation such as the draft data protection regulations and their impact on users of big data, including the likely 1% of annual turnover fine for minor offences and 5% for major infringements.

Feedback from delegates showed that corporate environments can be restrictive or can be restricted by legislation on data protection, proprietary information or freedom of information requirements. Other restrictions on sharing information openly included cultures where internal competition was high or billable hours key.

Open Source Software for Authentication

The case study on the Irish Management Institute's new library website and portal demonstrated how free open source technology, in this case WordPress, could be used in innovative ways. They built their library web portal in WordPress but also took the opportunity to do away with their Athens authentication for access to databases and journals and to instead do this via WordPress. This not only saved money but improved the user experience as part of the rebrand and meant the library could build a better sense of community online and be more innovative.

The changes also altered working practices. One of the most useful takeaways was that the librarians are empowered to post to the blog answers to questions which they've received twice. This saves many man hours as they no longer need to answer the same questions multiple times. Users now check the site before ringing up and often find the answer at their fingertips.

Decoding Copyright

One of the final workshops concentrated on copyright and how to avoid trouble. A small UK education institute, Uckfield College, was recently fined £23,000 for copyright breaches and ordered to display a notice on its website for six months as part of the Patents County Court judgement. Workshop leader Naomi Korn explained that copyright licensing is a complicated landscape and that the way that low level copyright infringement is dealt with in the UK has been strengthened. A record number of infringements are now being taken through the Intellectual Property courts.

FreePint's Topic Series: International Copyright coming in spring 2014 will bring together publishers, information professionals, users, and licensing agents to discuss what our industry needs and whether there can be any common ground.

Editor's Note:

FreePint Subscribers can log in now to read more from the AKISS conference in Arup: Engineering a Worldwide Community of Practice and Securing Senior Management Buy-In.

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