Proposal for the CILIP Information Services Group (ISG) to take a key role in the Knowledge and Information Management Special Interest Group (KIM SIG)

David Smith, Chair ISG National Committee

The Proposal

It is proposed that the Information Services Group forms a founding and integral part of the proposed Knowledge and Information Management Special Interest Group (KIM SIG) which is to be set up by the end of 2016 as a focal point for the professional IM community within CILIP. This paper sets out the reasons for why this is being proposed and some ideas as to what should carry over into the new SIG. This document should be read in conjunction with another document produced by CILIP “Call for expressions of Interest from CILIP Special Interest Groups in being part of (or otherwise involved in) a Knowledge and Information Management Specialist Interest Group”. A briefing of the CILIP proposal has been written by Karen McFarlane and is featured in CILIP Update, June 2016, p11 (see p11 at

 For the purposes of this consultation, a definition of Knowledge Management is “the process of capturing, distributing, and effectively using knowledge”. (See…/What-is-KM-Knowledge-Management-Explained-82405.aspx).  However the new KIM SIG will ultimately make a decision on this.

  1. The Context

We all know that libraries and information services are changing rapidly across all sectors. Some might say not for the best, but we need to be mindful of today’s culture of hunger for information, and the wealth of information available at the click of a mouse. A traditional public reference library is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, although the skills required to negotiate through the information overload encountered by most people are needed as much now as they have ever been. This is an issue common to all library sectors.

The formation of the ISG within CILIP was to provide a focal point for reference and information work. Whilst the need for training on information services provision still exists, it is no longer seen as the realm of the specialist Reference Librarian but more as something that all library staff should benefit from. Also, more and more dedicated information specialists within CILIP are recognising that a more KIM focussed approach is needed to support them in their current duties. A number of units, especially those in companies, already have a knowledge management role, and some have the title of knowledge centre rather than library or information service to demonstrate this. Therefore a new KIM SIG will be formed regardless of ISG’s support.

ISG has been successful over the years in promoting the field of Reference & Information Services across all library sectors, and it is important that we celebrate its success and current activity. There is a national Committee with committed officers. Activities include:

  • Two active regional sub groups (London & South East and East of England)
  • Refer Journal
  • Reference Awards (annual)
  • SCOOP (Standing Committee for Official Publications)
  • IFLA support for Reference & Information Services

From a financial perspective, our Treasurer has stated that ISG in its current format is being mostly kept afloat by its cash reserves and a regular transfer from reserves to current account to enable it to keep going. Whilst this is sustainable in the short term in the middle to longer term, 2018-20, it is a recipe for failure – unless other sources of income are developed. We now need to find a way of keeping the best bits of ISG going in a new form.

In its Business Plan for 2016, ISG agreed to take part in the KIM discussions and the National Committee agreed to be represented by its Chair. He attended an initial meeting on 26th April 2016 at CILIP HQ. With the background and experience of the ISG membership, he believes that ISG is in a strong position to make a key contribution to supporting and underpinning CILIP’s KIM activity. Also around the table were the UK Electronic Information Group (UKeIG), Government Information Group (GIG), Commercial, Legal and Scientific Information Group (CLSIG) and Health Libraries Group (HLG) who all said that their SIGs would like to be represented on the new KIM Committee.

  1. The Proposal – that ISG is integrated into the proposed new wider KIM Special Interest Group

It is proposed that ISG ceases to exist in its current format.

  • The existing sub groups and successful activities listed above will be integrated into the new wider KIM SIG and report to the new KIM Committee.
  • That all existing ISG members be transferred into membership of the KIM SIG automatically unless they specifically request for this not to happen.
  • That any unallocated ISG funds be transferred to the new KIM SIG at the point when ISG has been integrated.
  • The Chair of ISG will serve on the KIM Committee and is happy to play a key role in its establishment should it be agreed by ISG Members, CILIP staff and KIM SIG sponsors.
  1. The Reasons
  • ISG Members would be able to support the KIM SIG activity with their professional backgrounds and experience
  • Information Services and Resources Management play a key part in KIM.
  • Integration with KIM may well be a necessary funding lifeline. There are definitely areas of synergy and cross over; and the development of a healthy number of supporting members is essential to ensure a longer term future. Integration may also give ISG members the opportunity to develop into new subject areas within the profession.
  • KIM will need a journal or some form of platform to promote KIM activity.  This could easily incorporate our existing publication Refer which is still relevant to the field – further discussion would be required as to how that would be achieved (may need a name change to reflect this, eg “Information & Resources Matters”)
  • The current Reference Awards are already promoting existing printed and electronic sources of information and could also maybe promote a KIM award as part of this
  • The two existing regional groups could support wider KIM activity at a more local level which will also hopefully help in recruiting new members to their Committees and provide a good focus for events
  • ISG is the parent body of SCOOP (The Standing Committee On Official Publications). The work of SCOOP has necessarily been turning increasingly to the digitisation of official information and publications. This in turn is more about managing and making users aware of digital content, which fits with the general KIM agenda.
  • The role and function of reference and information provision in all library sectors is both changing and developing in response to the online environment. Existing reference and information services still need professional support in changing circumstances. We are fortunate that London and South East still has a good number of specialist reference libraries, along with the East of England and Manchester / North West. However, the role of information specialist has now been dispersed across front line service staff which means that they are more in need of support and relevant training than ever. This proposal details a model that could ensure this still happens within a more stable financial setting.
  • ISG representation would also ensure that the public, customer facing roles and issues of those staff who are involved with information provision in its broadest sense are maintained. It would also champion the customer facing aspects that need to be considered by those working in a KIM environment on a corporate basis. The successful visits and events organised by our sub-groups can assist here.
  1. The Timetable

The proposed timetable is as follows:

  • June / July / August 2016: Formal period of consultation with the full ISG membership on the proposals contained within this paper
  • July 2016: Progress report on formation of the KIM SIG taken to the CILIP Board
  • August 2016: Responses to be assessed by the ISG Committee to determine the feelings of the wider ISG membership
  • End August 2016: CILIP staff and KIM SIG sponsors informed of the outcome of the ISG consultation
  • September 2016 CILIP Board to formally approve the introduction of the KIM SIG
  • July – November 2016: Setting up of the new KIM SIG, and transition committee to develop a KIM SIG programme for 2017
  • December 2016: Launch of the KIM SIG with the above elements of ISG integrated within it.

Please note that the KIM SIG sponsors on CILIP staff indicate that this is a draft outline timetable. Later elements of the timetable may need rescheduling in light of the results of the consultation on the Strategic Plan, the schedule of CILIP Board meetings (when decided), and the precise mechanics needed to set up a new KIM SIG.

  1. Next Steps and Queries

This proposal will help contribute to discussion on the setting up of a KIM SIG. This consultation will help refine the proposal and identify the challenges and problems that need to be addressed. Relevant CILIP staff will also provide appropriate assistance.

Any comments relating to this proposal, or suggestions for alternative options should be forwarded by 12/08/2016 to:

David Smith, Chair, ISG National Committee

Refer 32(2) Summer 2016


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