Information without boarders conference 2011

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I attended the student led information without boarders conference was on February 3rd, 2011. I was a well run and well attended affair. I will certainly be attending next year.

I won’t get into a full review here, but I’ll give a quick summary of one speaker, and hopefully that can act as an example of what to expect from the conference.

The first presenter at the Information without Boarders conference was Hugh Ritchie, Director of Industry Solutions Marketing at Open Text. One of the values that Open Text offers their clients is making connections between business processes and content management solutions.

Mr. Ritchie gave a solid presentation and spoke on a wide range of topics relating to the information management field.

After an entertaining overview of the history of information dissemination, Mr. Ritchie touched upon the following topics:

  • Moving from specialists managing a company’s media resources, toward departments managing their own collections
  • The problem usage-based billing could pose to Canadian business
  • An Ipad application called flipboard, that allows people to aggregate their own news and media content
  • How companies could unify geographic information system (GIS) and their information management practices to increase productivity and efficiency
  • A publication titled Managing Content in the Cloud
  • Social networking applications for business and government and how Open Text put these technologies into practice at the G20 summit

The topic of social networking technologies in the field of business was Mr. Ritchie’s strongest subject and, in my opinion, the most relevant. However, if you would like to know more about any of the topics Mr. Ritchie covered I would be pleased to draft a report for you.

On the topic of social networking technologies, Mr. Ritchie noted that many employees in today’s market use these tools as way of communicating with their peers and colleagues.  However, some companies, in an effort to control their information’s “digital trail,” have begun to restrict access to social networking sites. This limits an employee’s ability to draw upon their network to generate solutions.

Mr. Ritchie used Open Text’s work for the G20 summit as an example of how social networking tools can be used in a secure environment. One outcome of implementing social networking tools, according to Mr. Ritchie, is the rapid creation and disintegration of work groups. He noted that these social media stimulated groups are different from traditional working groups because they tend to form around specific issues. Also, the social media groups tend to dissolve quickly once the issue is resolved. Mr. Ritchie seemed to admire these social media powered groups, and suggested that this work practice was efficient because it did not require significant administrative resources to organize.

As well as speed of creation and low administrative costs, I think there are several other advantages to these social media derived groups. I see a correlation between how these groups formed and the factors that impact individual performance as discussed in Matthew O’Connor’s (2006) article A Review of Factors Affecting Individual Performance in Team Environments: Theories and Implications for Library Management. In particular I think group buy-in, future interdependence, and social identity are strongly represented in groups that form quickly around specific issues. Understanding how these groups are motivated is important for future managers.

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