Plinius

Saturday, August 31, 2013

PL 22/13: World-Class Universities

Filed under: universities — plinius @ 6:16 am

In the 21st century universities move into the global market.

In 2009 The World Bank published the report The Challenge of Establishing World-Class Universities.

Picture from Oslo and Akershus University College students welcome celebration 2013.

lThe World Bank published the report The Challenge of Establishing World-Class Universities four years ago. I quote from the introduction and the executive summary.

Introduction

This new report, with its focus on world-class universities, examines the power of tertiary education for development from the perspective of excellence in research and scholarship at its most competitive levels.

In seeking a position on these lists of the best universities in the world, governments and university stakeholders have expanded their own perceptions of the purpose and position of tertiary education in the world.

No longer are countries comfortable with developing their tertiary education systems to serve their local or national communities. Instead, global comparison indicators have gained significance in local development of universities.

These world-class universities are now more than just cultural and educational institutions—they are points of pride and comparison among nations that view their own status in relation to other nations.

World-class standards may be a reasonable goal for some institutions in many countries, but they are likely not relevant, cost-effective, or efficient for many others. Knowing how to maneuver in this global tertiary education environment to maximize the benefits of tertiary education locally is the great challenge facing university systems worldwide.

From the summary

While acknowledging that world-class universities are part of national systems of tertiary education and should operate within these systems, the main focus of this report is to explore how institutions become tops in their league to guide countries and university leaders seeking to achieve world-class status.

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Friday, August 30, 2013

PL 21/13: Ten ways of improving ProfSpeak

Filed under: #ifladial, #wlic2013, #wlic2014 — Tags: — plinius @ 6:57 am

IFLA is run by volunteers.

Since it is a big and complicated organization, good internal communications is a must. Last year, in Helsinki, I was part of a new group – the IFLAdial – that asked for more transparency, more dialogue and better use of social media within IFLA .

The picture, by Mark Soh, is included in the IFLA Express Team photo set.

The chair of the Professional Committee – Ann Okerson – started an open blog to improve communication between the Committee and the IFLA sections. The initiative was welcomed by IFLAdial. The blog ProfSpeak (Professionally Speaking) in itself was a good – and also symbolic – step forward.

But to engage its intended audience, it needs to be improved . Below I list ten suggestions for doing so.

The proposals reflect my personal experience with blogging and other social media dring the last decade – and also my understanding of the consensus among experienced bloggers in librarianship, education and research.

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PL 21/13-B: Dix façons d’améliorer ProfSpeak

Filed under: #ifladial, #wlic2013, #wlic2014 — Tags: — plinius @ 6:55 am

L’IFLA est géré par des volontaires .

Comme il s’agit d’ une organisation grande et complexe , une bonne communication interne est une necessité . L’an dernier, à Helsinki , je faisais partie d’un nouveau groupe – le  IFLAdial  – qui a demandé plus de transparence, plus de dialogue et une meilleure utilisation des médias sociaux au sein de l’IFLA.

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PL 21/13-C: Diez maneras de mejorar ProfSpeak

Filed under: #ifladial, #wlic2013, #wlic2014 — Tags: — plinius @ 6:00 am

IFLA es dirigido por voluntarios .

Dado que es una organización grande y compleja , una buena comunicación interna es una necesidad. El año pasado, en Helsinki, yo era parte de un nuevo grupo – el  IFLAdial – que pidió más transparencia, más diálogo y un mejor uso de los medios sociales dentro de la IFLA .

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

PL 20/13: Propuestas de IFLADIAL

Filed under: #ifladial, #wlic2013, #wlic2014, IFLA — Tags: — plinius @ 10:18 am

Este informe se centra en asuntos de comunicación en la IFLA, identificados por socios y activistas, y propone ideas para su mejora.

This blog post consists of quotes from the Spanish version of the IFLADIAL Report.

The final version of the report was written by Maria Cotera, convenor of the Women, Information and Libraries SIG (third left in picture). She also translated the report into Spanish together with Lara López-Boronat.

La mayoría de los encuestados quieren ver mayor transparencia en los procesos de toma de decisiones, y más discusiones públicas – en vez de decisiones que simplemente se comunican a socios y activistas.

  • El diálogo actual entre la IFLA y sus activistas se describió como “muy fragmentado y a veces disfuncional”
  • “La comunicación es “naturalmente” personal, informal, basada en el dialogo entre compañeros.
  • Las estructuras jerárquicas de comunicación deben cambiar para animar a más personas a participar”

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

PL 19/13: Voces de IFLA 2013

Filed under: #ifladial, #wlic2013, #wlic2014, ifladial — Tags: — plinius @ 2:51 pm

Me gustaría compartir con ustedes algunas reflexiones sobre la conferencia de IFLA de este año en Singapur.

Este texto es un experimento. Quiero contribuir a un dialogo sobre IFLA menos dominado por Ingles. Pero mi cuesta mucho trabajo escribir en español. Por eso, tengo que basarme en un texto ya escribido en ingles, utilizando Google Translate, y tratar de corregir las faltas mas visibles. Estoy seguro que muchos errores se mantienen. Pero espero que el significado es claro.

El evento fue emocionante, agradable y muy bien organizado. A título personal, me encontré con un montón de viejos amigos, conocí a mucha gente interesante, fue reelegido como secretario estadísticas y ayudará a Clara Chu – el sucesor de Anna Maria Tammaro como líder de la División Cuatro – como secretario de la división 2013-15.

The picture is included in the IFLA Express Team photo set.

Pero me gustaría tambien occuparme un poco de IFLA como organizacion.

Expresar sus puntos de vista

IFLA describe a sí mismo como la voz de confianza de la comunidad bibliotecaria mundial. Eso es correcto, creo. A nivel internacional, la IFLA es una voz fuerte para la libertad de expresión, el libre acceso a la información, por la igualdad social y económica, para el desarrollo y los derechos humanos en general.

La voz es importante. Voz significa la voluntad y la capacidad de hablar. Voz significa tanto acalorado debate y desacuerdo profundo como discusión amistosa y el diálogo pacífico.

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PL 18/13: Proposals from IFLADIAL

Filed under: #ifladial, #wlic2013, #wlic2014, ifladial — Tags: — plinius @ 3:58 am


This paper looks at issues of communication with IFLA, as identified by members and activists, and suggests areas for improvement.

[The convenor of the New Professionals SIG – Sebastian Wilke (right below) – was part of the IFLADIAL group. The text below consists of quotes from the full report]

  • Communication between Sections is minimal and should be encouraged.
  • “personal membership benefits – like involvement with the organisation – seem to be quite vague and not too attractive”.
  • “IFLA is shaped by leaders/managers/big libraries. Also for economic reasons”
  • multilingual communication is key: “newcomers to big organisations such as IFLA tend to keep a low profile because they do not know the cultural rules, and it takes time to get to know them”.

Most communication between IFLA officers and activists is face to face at the WLICs – this was described as “traditional, ‘industrial age’ (from the time of paper), with a bit of email tacked on”.

  • If members cannot come to the WLIC, there is almost no communication.
  • For many in South East Asia and Latin America (national libraries, library associations etc), IFLA is something far away and expensive.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

PL 17/13: IFLA voices 2013

Filed under: #ifladial, IFLA — Tags: , , — plinius @ 3:45 am

I’d like to share some of my reflections on this year’s IFLA conference in Singapore.

The picture is included in the IFLA Express Team photo set.

The event was exciting, enjoyable and very well organized. Speaking personally, I met lots of old friends, got to know many interesting people, was re-elected as statistics secretary and will assist Clara Chu – the successor of Anna Maria Tammaro as chair of Division Four – as division secretary.

But as an organization freak, I’d like to focus on IFLA as such.

Voice your views

IFLA describes itself as the trusted voice of the global library community. I think that is correct. Internationally, IFLA is a strong voice for freedom of expression, for free access to information, for social and economic equality, for development and for human rights in general.

Voice is important. Voice means the will and the ability to speak up. Voice means heated debate and deep disagreement as well as friendly discussion and peaceful dialogue.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

PL 16/13: IFLA citizens

Filed under: #wlic2013, wlic2012 — Tags: , , — plinius @ 3:40 am

IMG_4460Modern democracies require public debate and a free press.

The reason why is very well explained by Jürgen Habermas in his classic work on “The Public Sphere” (Bürgerliche Offentlichkeit). Markets see people as consumers. Bureaucracies see people as clients (and tax payers).

Markets and governments are necessary institutions. But democratic societies do not consist of concumers or clients. They consist of citizens.

As market forces and administrative structures grow more powerful, they threaten to invade and dominate the life of citizens. To counteract the “colonization of the life-world” (Habermas), we need to strengthen the vitality of public discourse.

The problems that Habermas pointed to in modern states also occur in many large organizations. Higher education is becoming more market-oriented and more bureaucratic at the same time. This is often labelled New Public Management (NPM). The academic tradition of self-governance and professional debates (with its mix of faults and advantages) is marginalized. The academic rhetoric remains, but universities are increasingly run as knowledge coroprations rather than as scholary republics.

IFLA is basically a professional association of concerned citizens. But we are exposed to the same tendencies. We cannot avoid the market and management forces in our environment. But we can restore the balance between consumer, client and citizen by  developing (mobilizing) the Public Sphere.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

PL 15/13: The retail library

Filed under: library 2.0, statistics — plinius @ 9:15 am

In a digital environment libraries need to study their customers in order to serve their needs.

Retailers know this. Here is a case from the Netherlands.

The retail concept was based on a customer survey that took place in 2003. The reason for the survey was the construction of a new central library in Almere Stad. The key questions of the survey were:

  • What function should this new library have and what do our customers expect of us?
  • Who are our customers exactly?

Nationwide there was a downward trend in number of memberships. Why?

  • Did we not live up to expectations?
  • Did we solely focus on supply instead of demand?

The survey showed that

  • 80% of our customers do not visit the library with a specific idea of what they want
  • our classification of the collection did not correspond with the interests of these customer segments.
  • the average duration of stay was very limited.

They decided to try a new concept in one of the branches

  • ‘Shops’ were created, with a mixture of fiction and non-fiction corresponding to the interest profiles of the five customer groups.
  • The shops also underwent a facelift to change the rather boring interior
  • We made extensive use of pictures in the signage,
  • We attracted an interior designer and bought new furniture.

Despite our enthusiasm and good hopes our experiment was not widely accepted within the branch.

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