Monthly Archives: October 2020

Mining Institutional Knowledge

Mining Institutional Knowledge: Using Text and Data Mining to Enhance Discovery

The speakers were Mary Ellen Bates and Chris Bendall.

Mary Ellen’s bio: Mary Ellen Bates is the owner of Bates Information Services, providing strategic business decision support to business professionals and consulting services to the information industry. Based near Boulder, Colorado, her passion projects are beekeeping and coaching fellow solopreneurs.

Chris’ bio: During the last 14 years at Springer (and since 2015 Springer Nature) Chris has worked in Editorial, Product and Business Development roles, with a focus on Springer Nature’s fastest growing sectors including: regional expansion, open access, corporate markets and data services. One of his current projects is developing the infrastructure and business models to enable text and data mining of SN content for a variety of use cases from hypothesis generation to knowledge management. Chris came to Springer after a postdoc in geochemistry and a focus on gold exploration. While no longer an active researcher, his work at Springer Nature supports researchers everywhere.

The session was described as ” This session looks at the role info pros can play in mapping content with specialized tools and resources to enhance discoverability and support the strategic goals of their organization. Mary Ellen Bates reviews some of the initiatives that knowledge managers and special librarians have led to enhance information and map internal and external content through text and data mining, and offers a checklist of the questions an info pro needs to ask when evaluating knowledge mapping tools. Chris Bendall of Springer Nature discusses how info pros can leverage their specialized internal knowledge structure and work with online content providers to best address the needs of their clients and researchers. A corporate librarian/knowledge manager will describe how they implemented a KM project in which text and data mining tools were effectively applied.”

There is a white paper associated with this presentation. She also wrote an earlier paper on TDM and info pros. Springer Nature now has a new blog about modern librarians. I haven’t had a chance to look at any of these resources yet.

Examples of datasets can be found at: and at:

Text and Data Mining (TDM)

  • automated process
  • large amounts of data
  • purpose is either increase discoverability of underlying content or discerning patterns
    • increase recall with precision
    • outcome of the most relevant articles – semantically enriched data exposes the relationships so you get exactly what you are looking for
    • find patterns and trends across a dataset. TDM helps you find these when you don’t know what you are looking for

Enhance access to full text. By getting better result you can associate value with output. The outcome isn’t full text articles, so the value is invisible. The datasets create relationships that leads to full text articles.

TDM licensing is a challenge for all parties, because it is new and not as well understood.

What TDM requires:

  • good dataset with consistently applied metadata
  • info pros can help evaluate fee vs. free datasets
  • info pros know about internal datasets
  • info pros can evaluate datasets outside the clients’ subject area
  • info pros can bring in the right structure such as APIs, other taxonomies that might be appropriate for current project. We make relationships with other departments so we know what is out there
  • We can evaluate open access models
  • We bring focus and functionality to the data once it comes in house. I really like this comment. We can do good work once the we have access to the info
    • expand ideas of how to use info
    • find datasets with consistent metadata
    • know how users query

Be Chief Ontonoly Officer

  • id internal silos, etc
  • sell the value of sharing
  • facilitate resource coordination
  • show value of cross platform searchability of resources

Explore adding TDM to content licensing

  • we are all figuring this out as we go along
  • we bring an enterprise wide knowledge to these discussion

What to Ask Before a TDM project

  • Truly, what is the outcome of the project supposed to be. Helps define and clarify TDM projects
    • uncover existing content
    • OR find new patterns
  • What data do you need?
  • Do they need APIs developed?
  • Already have a Knowledge map or structure or do they need that evaluated?
  • Can this dataset or metadata be shared later enterprise-wide?
  • Should we get an institutional license later?
  • Are there other stakeholders we can get involved to help with funding?
  • What are your plans for archiving content and metadata later?
  • What user supprot are you expecting?

Springer Nature has TDM licensing examples

Chris Bendall talked second. He is responsible for understand customer needs, determining value for TDM.

One thing TDM can help combat is information overload. AI and machine learning technologies helps with this. There were several examples of genes discovered by AI that could help develop drugs for a variety of conditions including COVID-19.

Chris mostly showed use cases related to drug development as well as other research areas. i asked about any concerns about AI getting out of control and Mary Ellen responded “AI is still just an algorithm – at least in the context of TDM – and all it’s doing is calculating and telling us what it discovers. It’s up to humans to make decisions and take action. And unforeseen directions can be valuable – sometimes TDM surfaces unexpected insights or connections.”

He mentioned KM systems linking internal and external information.

AI can also auto-summarize datasets and put them together into a variety of formats such as books and papers. I wasn’t clear whether these groupings were edited or reviewed by humans.

FAIR principles were also mentioned. I am not familiar with these. I was told that FAIR comes from the data world We want data world wide to be FAIR.


Closing General Session

Closing General Session and Keynote Presentation

The session started with Tara Murray Grove and Amy Burke talking about the conference. Tara recognized members who donated their excess (in person) registration fees to fund scholarships for members facing financial hardships. I applaud these members as well! Thanks!

Tara talked about creating memories that drive us forward. I always create memories and meet new people when I attend an SLA conference. I really enjoyed the Taxonomy Division Happy Hour last night. I met some great people as well as people I only know through emails. Of course, we weren’t in the same room or even time zone, but we were communicating in real time and that felt a bit like ‘meeting’.

The Board of Directors and the SLA staff were recognized as well. They are all working in difficult circumstances and deserve the recognition.

Tara said that this conference was a celebration of community and I think that is true.

Tiffany Lopez came on and talked about the 2021 Annual Conference, which will also be virtual. The theme/destination will be ‘Destination Everywhere’.

Debra Jasper, from Mindset Digital, is described as ”

Debra Jasper works with Fortune 500 organizations to teach their leaders how to make connections in a technologically driven environment. In her closing keynote address at SLA2020, she’ll show you how to:

  • Connect and compete in a socially distanced world;
  • Strengthen your online presence and personal brand;
  • Increase your visibility and showcase your value;
  • Deepen connections using the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn; and
  • Create compelling thought leadership during this time of uncertainty and anxiety.

Named one of the top 12 female entrepreneurs in North America by Ernst & Young, Debra directed the Kiplinger Program at Ohio State University’s School of Public Affairs, where she launched the world’s first social media fellowship for journalists. She and her colleagues at Mindset Digital have delivered presentations and training to more than 200,000 professionals in the financial, healthcare, tech and hospitality sectors. An international keynote speaker, Debra has given talks in more than a dozen countries, from the Global Internet Conference in Australia to the Ukrainian Council of Ministers. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Leadership from Ohio State and wrote her dissertation on the art of powerful micro storytelling Today, tens of thousands of professionals are enrolled in her firm’s high-impact, scalable online programs in social selling and recruiting, writing for mobile, and cybersecurity. ”

She described Mindset Digital as helping firms compete in today’s virtual world.

Debra’s talk was called Small Screen Big Impact. So much of what we knew and was normal has gone away. Virtual is the new reality. It won’t be forever, but it is now. One really big shift that resulted from this change is preparing everything – emails, reports, presentations for the online reality. The focus is on online presence, building powerful presence in an online world.

Debra Jasper slide on interruptions

Debra Jasper slide on interruptions

One thing that we all have to deal with is interruptions. You can control, somewhat, your own interruptions, but not those of people to whom you are presenting. Debra posted a powerful slide that really made me take notice. This is a graphic of what is on the other side of your screen, the things that a presenter cannot see. You have to fight for attention and attention is EVERYTHING in this new virtual world.

We have less time, attention and space.

Debra focused on LinkedIn, because she said that relationships drive results. This is true, which is why I keep telling people that I am looking for a KM/portal manager position. 😉

She gave us 3 steps for improving our online presence:

Step 1: Power up your online presence

  • Google yourself to see what comes up. LinkedIn usually comes up first, because they have a lot of SEO. Are you making a good first impression?
  • Your LinkedIn profile is a microsite of you. It is not a resume.
  • Answer the questions:
    • do I want to work with you?
    • are you credible?
    • do I like you?
    • what will you do for me?
    • can I relate to you?

Basically, I read this list as not about the person whose profile it is, but about the person reading it.

Essentially, your profile should answer the questions:

  • how do you help people like me
  • why should I work with you

Profile should not say what you do, but what you love about what you do. Keep in mind that your visual story matters. For example, choose a background that relates to what you do.

Fast fixes:

  • Photos
    • think about a branded background – some kind of impactful background, even if it isn’t branded can make your profile more compelling
    • consider a profile photo where you are smiling and you have a more compelling background. Show some personality
  • Skip the blah-blah-blah
    • lead from the front. This is about first impressions, which means that the About section is the most powerful real estate in your profile.
    • Tell the story of you.. Be likeable and relatable.
    • Write in the first person
    • resume like summaries are hard to read and hard to get a sense of you
    • create a compelling first person summary that makes an impact

I don’t think people want to think very much, mostly because they have a lot to do and hiring people isn’t always their primary job. I think they want to find the info they need easily.

  • does your profile show you are likable and relatable
  • casual does not mean careless (NO liberrians!). Proofread carefully.

Do you want to meet the person based on their online presence?

  • 3rd Fast Fix: Be personable not personal
    • 1 away from work sentence

Step 2: Power Up Your Network

  • look at your network’s 1st connections
  • advanced search with filters
    • connected to people you know
  • tap the power of introductions
    • you can see who potential influencers know and ask to be introduced by name
  • dislike jargon and corporate speak

Spend time creating a personal note for connection requests

  • can be simple – read recent article, loved our conversation

You are  your brand. Don’t wait for invites

Step 3: Power Up Your Visibility

To inform you must engage

  • like
  • share
  • engage – thoughtful comments, show you care, express information about research and how you feel, share how you feel in general
    • listen and engage

Activity definitely shapes your reputation

  • Activity is visible
  • Be thoughtful
  • Think twice post once

Social Selling Index is something you can look at by Googling. Develop a score between 60-70.

You have to break through the noise.


  • Do I have to accept every invitation? No: connect with people you want to know. If you connect and people start pinching me, you can unconnect. When you connect, you are loaning them a little credibility.
  • Should we list everything? Or be selective? Have most relevant experience. You don’t need high school years. Make sure experience is actively written and skimmable- short, organized and skimmable (SOS).
  • For second careers, keep old career info, but say how it informed your work today
  • How can new professionals build their profile: frame research or work they are doing to show relevance. Can show discipline. Get LinkedIn references. Volunteering can be a great addition to a profile.
  • Is it good to highlight volunteer work in areas unrelated to your work? Yes, because it answers what you are doing for others and how you are giving back to the community
  • Will unconnecting give an alert to people? No. Your network will be more valuable if you are connected to people who are valuable to you.
  • Should I connect to my manager and colleagues: yes, but turn off notifications about changes to your profile when you upgrade your profile. This can be a way to show your manager what you are doing
  • possible to overdo it, over post? Use 3-2-1 rule: 3 likes, 2 comments, 1 post a week

They didn’t cover whether to connect to recruiters

This is an important way to showcase our relevance.

I liked this session and it made me think of LinkedIn in a new way.



Project Management for the Information Professional

Project Management for the Information Professional by Eugene Guidice


  • understand the importance of effective project management
  • understand several basic terms and concepts
  • know where to turn for additional help


  • defined activities
  • defined time frame – explicit beginning, middle and end
  • allocated resources
  • explicit start and end time
  • explicit goal
  • add value to the organization

Eugene pointed out that many of these points may be inherently familiar just from experience. I took that to mean that this session would label some of what I already know in terms of project management.

The project management triangle tells the story of the project. It includes:

  • time – when does the project need to be finished? are there milestones?
  • resources – do you need tech resources? people resources? financial resources?
  • scope – what is the project intended to do and NOT do?

The key is to keep the three points of the triangle connected so you can add value to the organization. For example, if you have a project where the scope broadens, then time or resources usually needs to expand as well. The mantra I made my attorneys live by was: pick two: cheap, fast or good. The concept is the same.

What are the two things that are the most important, because the third item will be your constraint.

Program manager: someone who manages a number of different projects in a program.

What Gets Managed:

  • Scope: Beware of scope creep, or prepare for it. Scope creep is when people want additional functionality and that requires
  • Risks – in terms of finances, resources, business opportunities
  • resources – individuals, time, financial
  • communications – how will the project status be communicated, how will the project valuse be communicated, how will the constituents who have to live with the results of the project be informed?
  • expectations – what will people expect of the project manager? Will people expect or be expected to work full or part time on the project
  • quality – this is not a question of shabby vs. good. It is question of quality on a continuum. How long to recover from a failure?
  • Change – communication is key as people move from an ‘as is’ condition to a ‘to be’ condition. Training needs to be in place and processes need to be updated.

Before You Start

What is the strategic intent of the project and how does it fit into the strategic intent of the organization?

What is the business case for this project? what value will it deliver that supports that strategic intent?

  • Understanding ‘as is’ and ‘to be’ conditions – how are things right now? What would we like the new state going to look like?
  • scope and approach – what is included? are we going to do a buy or build decision? In house or contractors?
  • risk assessment – based on business case, what happens if we don’t have resources, if the project isn’t brought in on time? How will it impact the organization?
  • options – what are the options from going from ‘as is’ to ‘to be’ condition
  • benefits
  • time frame – should we think of breaking it up into multiple projects?
  • environmental factors – what’s going on internally? Significant change and will project add to chaos? Should we wait until change in leadership is finished? What is happening externally? How is COVID-19 affecting projects? Is there a recession?

Planning the Project

It’s a lot easier to make a change to a document or form, when you are in the planning stage, than when you are in the middle of the project. At this point it is helpful to have a project management tool. The more sophisticated the project, the more sophisticated the tool, but a simple Excel spreadsheet can be fine.

This requires a lot of time and energy. Rely on institutional knowledge and a wealth of experience others have. Talk to them and mine their experience, because it can enhance your project plan.

What goes into the project plan?

  • Tasks
    • Consider scope of specific tasks.
    • Phases/Stages
    • Hours. If they are too big, consider breaking them up.
    • Dependencies – sequence in which tasks have to be executed
    • milestones – spots along the way where you take a breath and say where have been, where are we going, where are we?
    • Roles vs. Assignment – these are different. A role is a job title that is going to work on a specific project. The more granular you can make roles, the better you can allocate resources.

Managing the Critical Path

The critical path is made up of those tasks that will take the longest. Tasks on the critical path define the shortest amount of time it will take to complete the project. Any slip in critical path tasks will delay the project. Critical path tasks require close monitoring. An automated tool can help you determine and manage the critical path.

Feedback Loop

There is also a feedback loop in any project. The start is executing the plan. Next is tracking and updating the plan then communicating changes, especially to upper management. At this point there is a decision point: do we continue with the plan or stop. If yes, then you start with executing the plan again and going through the steps again. If no, you stop the project.

Generally, it is acknowledged that management can handle good news and bad news, but not surprises. Management will see the trend as you keep communicating with them and they make the decision, based on internal and external factors, as to whether the project still has value to the organization. Thus, they decide, based on your work, whether to continue. It is not a reflection on you. There are a number of factors that go into such decisions.

Finishing the Project

You can’t just walk away after all the tasks have been completed. You want to do this even if the project was stopped, so people can learn from it.

  • Make final updates to the project plan – this will become a piece of institutional knowledge for future project managers
  • Make final updates to the supporting documentation
  • Lessons learned – even if a project is cancelled, there are lessons to be learned and lessons that can be brought to other projects
    • what went well / what didn’t go well
  • Restatement of the business case – how does this compare to what we have now?
  • Compare ‘new’ to-be condition to imagined to-be condition – may take time since companies/orgs don’t turn on a dime
  • Recognition – opportunity to give recognition for hard work, growth. This will help you as a project manager, because people will want to work with you again.


I think Eugene did a good job laying out the steps for project management in a 30 minute session. I think anyone could watch his session and have a good idea how and where to start.

Reopening Libraries

Reopening Libraries During Covid-19: Lessons Learned from providing archive, library and information services during a pandemic. This was another 30 minute session and was described as “As members of the SLA Task Force for Reopening Specialized Libraries, Bronwyn Smyth and Seema Rampersad will present some of the findings of their Round Table discussions from this year, as well as their key practical professional experiences of working in archives, libraries and information services during the pandemic. Both have researched best practice information, which informed the guidelines presented to the SLA Community in Summer 2020. This has been a learning experience in unprecedented times for our community and their personal insights and knowledge captured demonstrates that we can use this challenging experience to help prepare us for future crisis management, pandemics and other health risks.”

I wasn’t super interested in this topic since I am not working in a library, but I wanted to support the task force. I also wanted to see if any of what the task force found out was relevant to information service in which I last worked.

SLA set up this international task force in June 2020.

Bronwyn talked about what the City of Vancouver did with their Archives. They have had a phased reopening.

Seema talked about the British Library. She talked about renegotiating contracts and working with vendors. Making a change to digital access is one coping strategy. Do a risk assessment before people start returning to the office.


  • Phased reopening allows course corrections as needed
  • Communication is key
    • supervisor to staff
    • staff to staff, including signage, helps keep everyone in the loop
    • staff to public – let people know how things are changing, continuously
  • Outreach – video video/online if in person isn’t possible. Social media is helpful and expanding materials that are already scanned is helpful to continue to provide service
  • Capture what you are doing via text and photos for future reference
  • Be prepared to course correct – puts it in terms of having an adventure and may make it less anxiety provoking
  • Social distancing
  • Contact tracing
  • Deep and regular cleaning
  • consider risk assessment – commuting, contact with the public
  • Be aware of how library/org fits into the community and how access fits in


REALM project documents/information

Lexis Nexis has a Coronoavirus Toolkit

Vancouver COVID-19 Safety Plans

Reopening Libraries

Foreseeing the Future…

Foreseeing the Future of Intelligence and Information Services…Are We Prepared? How Do We Know? The program was described as ” Intelligence and information services rely on keeping ahead of sources and methods, tools and technology, and changes in organizations, industries, and the broader environment. How well do we do this? How can we adopt ways to help us see more clearly and act with more certainty? How can we be sure we’re doing the right things and doing enough? Continuing their CI 20/20 series, longtime veterans Cynthia Cheng Correia and Dr. Craig Fleisher engage participants in a robust discussion, exercise and activities that will broaden our sights to drivers and signals of change and sharpen our focus to what’s important to our organizations, intelligence and information services, and professional impact and value. Join us to expand your foresight, gain more new insights, and prepare your work, and yourself, for the evolving service landscape.”

The speakers were John Thomson, Chief Research Officer, Aurora WDC, Craig S. Fleisher, Chief Analytics Officer, Aurora WDC and, again, Cynthia Cheng Correia, Managing Director, Knowledge inForm. Cynthia spoke at the scary program on misinformation yesterday.

This was held in Zoom and I find it a little confusing that some events are held in AccelEvents, some in Remo and others in Zoom. I am not sure about the why behind it.

They presented 3 scenarios for the future:

  • Dystopian Scenario
  • Utopian Scenario
  • Plausible Scenario

Not all will come to the fore.

I&IS (Intel/Info Services) Dystopia 2030: What are the implications for Intel/Info Services

  • People no longer even have experience ever having been in a library; orgs don’t have knowledge centers
  • the 3W is dominated by: Amazon, Apple, Alphabet/Google, Microsoft and We Chat
  • People need not apply; tech drives 90+% of information management tasks
  • Everyone are in filter bubbles
  • Data scientists are most valuable

I&IS (Intel/Info Services) Utopia 2030: What are the implications for Intel/Info Services

  • Info has been liberated, democratized for the global, social good of society, Info silos only exist in the info farms (reservoirs of archived info.
  • Citizens are educated to be info literate from their earliest school days, equal to 3Rs
  • Access to the web is viewed as a basic human right and provided by nation states as a public good, globally
  • Digital communities are peoples’ first affinity with which they interact, and people seek out information discovery, learning, support communities
  • A living and liveable balance has been struck between individuals’ and orgs’ information rights and responsibilities
  • Ethics considerations are included in all new information products/services being considered for public release; ‘information ethics’ becomes a required course in all universities

The Plausible I&IS (Intel/Info Services) 2030: What are the implications for Intel/Info Services

  • CI/Info Service pros continue to find occasional opportunities to influence significant org decisions
  • A few/some I&IS pros have ‘pushed the boundaries’ of knowledge and made breakthroughs in terms of influencing action
  • Some info pros grown in intelligence services awareness, and visa versa
  • a few orgs are publicly recognized for how I&IS contributed to their competitive advantage
  • Integrating information and analytics has become the key competitive differentiator for I&IS pros
  • Some associations and universities have developed curricula, standards , and policies standardizing approaches to ethical practice

One thing that needs to be done is we need to create collections of primary research. This will help combat mis- and disinformation. There will be a plethora of ways to build networks of experts and interviewing them will be based in a lot of different ways none of which are talking on the phone. Data analytics combined with human intelligence will be the way to get the plausible or utopian scenario.

We need to be thinking much more holistically rather than focusing on our job and the tasks that make up the job. We can expect that we will be able to automate many more tasks, especially search. We need to find the gaps in the systems and fill in for the tech there. I&IS can be the managers of these systems and lend our expertise to the design of these systems and how these tools fit in the overall process. We become advisors on the system. We have to look up from our roles and understand the info eco-system as it evolves. How can we be designers and advisors? Self-serve can be an asset, but it requires training so people know how to avoid mis- and disinformation and when to come to the Info Center.

We have to look back at the dot-com bust and how we looked at search engines through our lens not through the lens of the users and the organizations. How can current tools be in competition with us/our jobs? We are in a filter bubble. There is a sense of reinforcement, especially at this SLA conference, and see beyond that. We have to identify know centers in our orgs and bring them all together.

Growth Mindset – take on a new mindset, improve skill set, be curious, have insights co-emerge with our patrons. We have to be more interdisciplinary and be more interfunctional.

Toolset – toolsets (mindset, data set, skill set) have to be enlarged, not just wider, but deeper. SWOT is one that Craig mentioned – Substantial Waste of Time. Some of what is in our toolset is out of date or stale. (9:54). Some data we collect doesn’t help solve the problems of today. Datasets tomorrow and in 2030 will still be about big data, but there will also be a need to find needles in haystacks (small data). The 3rd type of data called thick data – questions about why big data is showing patterns it is showing. It helps us create the stories about big data. If you use all three, you will be able to show big rich insights.

They also discussed VUCA: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity

There was a very lively discussion. I was disappointed that the same old value discussion was brought up. I am so sick of that discussion. I can talk the talk and walk the walk, but it doesn’t work. Very few people in the session agreed with me, which was very disheartening. I believe there has to be a larger campaign extolling the virtues of organized information. I don’t know how that would look or who would pay, but it has to transcend the organization. It has to transcend the organization because, when money gets tight, orgs are still laying info pros off regardless of how innovative they are; regardless of how valued info pros are by patrons. Organized information has to be recognized as a corporate value across organizations, then info pros can talk about what they do in the org and how it helps.

The other thing I noticed, which was incidental to the topic was how many different organizations there are. I think SLA needs to partner or merge with others like SKIP, AIIP, CID, AALL, etc. Having these different organizations doesn’t benefit info pros in general.

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Manipulated Media: What’s Your Protection Plan?

Cynthia Cheng Correia was the presenter of this session. She is an instructor in the SLA Competitive & Decision Intelligence Certificates Program as well as the president, Council of Competitive Intelligence Fellows.

There was a special focus on disinformation.

The session started out with a poll about whether we have encountered disinformation in our research at work and a second question about whether we were concerned about disinformation in our research. I am not sure why we wouldn’t be concerned?

Misinformation can have unintentional and harmful effects. Disinformation is made up of fabrications and distortion. It can be deliberate. It can also be intended to have harmful effects. There is often commercial intent and it is growing. Manipulated media is another category pulled out from disinformation. It is often deliberate. It can also be intended to have harmful effects. There is often commercial intent and it is growing.

Manipulated media and disinformation have an intersection which represents new approaches and grown threats. New players are employing strategic, systematic, intelligent tech-enabled targeting and manipulation. These new players are individuals, fringe and interest groups, some businesses as well as state sponsored actors. There is rapid dissemination and propagation. It is possible that dissemination is rapid before anyone even notices something is happening.

Boosting the signals is very important to these players so that mis- and disinformation gets disseminated. A lot of fake accounts are created to amplify the mis- and disinformation.

Content Farms are the first category of players that disseminate this information. Soul Publishing is a Russian company that operates out of Cypress. They have a lot of 5 minute craft video, but when you subscribe, you get recommendations for other Soul Publishing videos, which may be more impactful in terms of mis- and disinformation. Disinformation websites generate $235 million of ad revenue annually.

Pseudo News Sites are the second type of site. They create specific sites for various groups and hire freelance journalist so their mis- and disinformation is harder to detect.

Manipulated media has generated successful audio attacks, such as having CFOs transfer money to illegitimate attacks. AI is also working out how to boost the quality of deep fakes. It’s increasingly difficult to detect as the technology gets more sophisticated.

Fake social media profiles are very common and everyday people have probably been targeted. Photos are stock, or co-opted or GAN-generated. There are also patterns and irregularities such as writing style, content, naming conventions.

There is an escalation in these tactics. Servers are moving to the US to try to circumvent those types of identifications. They are snaring legitimate authors to bring readership to these sites. The sites also target users for dissemination.

This is not just a US phenomenon, especially with elections, but is happening in Europe and Asia as well.

Compromised Accounts as well as accounts that are taken over. Established domain names are taken over if they expire, for example.

They are moving from a tactical approach to a strategic approach including understanding cognitive and behavioral analysis. Then these approaches are being exploited.

Gray zone or proxy conflict: commercial interests are easier targets. One of the reasons is economic espionage. For example, there is disinformation about the safety of cars, which can affect automobile makers.

There are 3 types of impact: macro, operating, and micro environments. The micro environment targets reputation and brand, financial assets, knowledge & intellectual assets as well as valuation within the industry. In the operating environment competition, innovation and industry structure can also be affected. The macro environment is affected by social and market stability, national and regional competitiveness as well as national regional security.

The impacts for research and intelligence professionals and their departments is to:

  • Macro Environment
    • issue analysis
    • STEEP/PESTEL analsys
    • Scenario analysis/Planning
    • War Games
  • Operating Environment
    • Porter’s 5 Forces Analysis
    • Customer/Market Analysis
    • Supply Chain Analysis
    • Benchmarking
  • Micro Environment
    • Competitor Analysis
    • Management Analysis
    • Technical Analysis

The key to all of the above is situational awareness.


Distrust is generated. There is diminished analytical quality and capabilities as well as crime and exploitation. These can lead to decision & planning errors because of distrust of information and analysis. Following that researchers and analysts can be distrusted as well. Distrust in institutions such as the media, government and social institutions will be generated. Reputations will be diminished/tarnished (this makes me think of when Tylenol was poisoned and how the company’s reputation was affected). Inefficiencies such as ‘noise’, overload and obfuscations will take more time and effort as well as resources and skills to combat.

What to Do

We need to understand the sources of mis- and disinformation. They come from state-sponsored organizations as well as corporations, HIVE groups, general mischief makers and the public (uninformed?).

  • We need to systematically educate, but also create awareness. With the availability of search engines and the Internet, everyone is gathering their own information
  • Direct combat – call out different content and information as disinformation. It is difficult because there is a lot. You can use software to address the issue at the point of research.
  • Tracking bad sites and alerting people
  • Pattern analysis
  • Mapping and noting ‘hot spots’
  • Point of access tools
  • Cycle interruptions
  • Profiling
  • Relying on expert human intelligence – talk to people who are in the know on specific areas.

What you choose has to be based on the type of sources, content and subjects.

Level 1: Awareness and Training

  • Types of disinformation actors & proagators
    • understand the key players and sponsors
    • understand the intentions and drivers
    • understand the strategies
    • understand the tactics
    • understand the channels
  • Information/media players, channels, cycles
    • detect relationship, influences, anomalies
    • understand potential vulnerabilities throughout cycles and pipelines
    • track information origins and flow
    • detect signs of ‘trickery’

Level 2: Sleuthing & Technology

  • keep on top of developments (check out Graphika. Snopes can be used for stories shared on Facebook as well, but may not be suitable for everything)
  • Compare content
    • reverse text & image searches
    • know platforms: Gab & Parler
    • Check profile “likes” – agents want to create networks. The more a piece of information is liked, the more it becomes ‘true’
    • Hijacked or repurposed websites
  • Analysis tools & Services
    • visual/audio analysis
    • text content analysis
    • metadata analysis
    • mapping
  • Experts

Level 3: Disinformation Protection Plan

  • Assess vulnerabilities
    • are there activities, functions or individuals who are especially vulnerable?
    • are there processes and workflows which are vulnerable
    • what about active/passive targeting?
    • Can you find signals and indicators?
  • Outline
  • Map
  • Prioritize
    • it isn’t really possible to do everything.

Growing Activities >> Growing Research

Fortunately, academia is setting up centers and providing researchers to start to understand this growing threat. The Global Disinformation Index is one such tool that is being created. The Global Disinformation Index provides advertisers, ad tech companies and platforms with trusted, non-partisan and independent ratings to assess a site’s disinformation risks.

Commercial entities and government agencies are getting into the game as well.

Media organizations, such as the Poynter Institute are helping out with journalism and media literacy. The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is a non-profit journalism school and research organization located in St. Petersburg, Florida. The school is the owner of the Tampa Bay Times newspaper and the International Fact-Checking. Thinktanks like the Rand Corporation which has a variety of products and tools to combat disinformation including (Countering Truth Decay). The Rand Corp’s mission is To help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. Their core values are Quality and objectivity. R&D institutions such as MITRE and First Draft are also in the picture.

Maintain vigilance and work on this as a group within SLA.

One resource shared was COMPROP (Oxford)

I felt fairly hopeless after listening to this session. I don’t know how I can combat mis- and disinformation in a small information center. Cynthia was a good presenter and, clearly, there was a lot more to share and know. I would love to bring some of these tools and strategies to my clients, but KM is hard enough without adding this layer of tools to the mix.

Belonging Keynote with Yvette Pegues

Yvette Pegues was the keynote speaker for this year’s SLA conference. The idea behind the keynote was Belonging and how it fit in with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This was very much about everyone feeling included and a sense of belonging to an organization.

Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something. It is about taking diversity and inclusion to the next level. Belonging is about integrating everyone into the workplace through belonging. Pegues talked about Wellness Circles, which can be barriers to belonging. For example, if a person is not satisfied with their current and future financial situation that can be a barrier to belonging.

In order to work through some of the problems in Wellness Circles, people need to:

  • have courageous (difficult) conversations
  • demystify and de-stigmatize the benefits of therapy
  • ensure safety and privacy
  • ensure policies and procedures support belonging.

Yvette was very much about talking about the issues above in a positive way. She used the term courageous about conversations that could be difficult.

Belonging at work matters because it has a direct impact on the business. For example, if an employee is hired and doesn’t feel like they belong they will leave sooner than desired and the costs of training will be lost. That is a direct financial impact because someone didn’t feel like they belonged.

She has a series of strategies for facilitating belonging.

  • Employee Survey
    • collect information
    • analyze feedback
    • understand what employees are saying (and don’t dismiss)
    • act on feedback

People are a really important part of the company. Ensure your people can trust the process.

Facilitate Social Bonds

  • location
  • logistics
    • Are these things inclusive? Do people have to work extra hard to get into the building?
  • Relationship is where belonging lives.
  • Invite everyone even if a person always rejects overtures. They may have valid input or a different perspective. Everyone is worth listening to.

Trusted Relationships

  • mentoring,coaching, peer groups – is it intentional or happens on the fly?
    • assign people a mentor as soon as they come in
    • line up new people with someone in an affinity group so they can be introduced.

Don’t make new employees do the heavy lifting. Starting a new job is hard enough without having them have to introduce themselves, figure out how everything works and create a work-social life as well.

Intentional Inclusion

  • recognize and respond to exclusion in all of its forms

Dissolve Interpersonal Barriers

  • Get to know the team through storytelling
  • Ask someone how their weekend was

Clear/Consistent Vision/Mission

  • Significant and shared work that motivates
  • Many people want organizations that help in the community

I followed up the Keynote with a round table with Yvette. There was a discussion about mentoring and how that can help with belonging. We discussed mentoring and how mentoring could extend to members who may no longer be active in SLA or other organizations. The implication is that they may not feel appreciated and that is why they may no longer be active. In the round table there was a brief discussion of accessibility and reasonable accommodations in the workplace. One of the attendees provided a link to a helpful chart.

Yvette’s other website is Your Invisible Disability.

SLA Swag

Virtual conferences are definitely a different experience. One of the things I was missing was checking out all the swag that the vendors were offering.

SLA 2020 Conference Swag

SLA 2020 Conference Swag

Yesterday FedEx showed up twice at my house. I couldn’t remember ordering anything so I was super surprised when I opened the box and the bag and found some SLA Swag!

The item with SCIENCE written on it is a burlap tote. I don’t usually take the totes when offered but this one is nice. I think I will be able to use it in my car (if I ever go anywhere again!). The snacks and water bottle will always come in handy. There is a also a bag with a pair of sunglasses, a clip and a few other things.

Martini Fixins

Martini Fixins

The Taxonomy Division sent the makings for a fig martini for their upcoming happy hour. I’m not really a martini kind of girl, but I’ll make something out of the ingredients and join in the fun.

It is nice that a few things were sent along. I have to be bright eyed pretty early since the sessions start on East Coast time, so these treats make the early hour a little easier to take. Of course, I won’t be drinking a martini at the crack of dawn!

Be the Knowledge Consultant in Data-Driven Initiatives

There wasn’t anything live going on today so I watched a session called “Be the Knowledge Consultant in Data-Driven Initiatives.” It was another 30 minute session, which seems to be my sweet spot at the moment. It is sponsored by Dow Jones, which made me a little leery, but I watched it anyway.

The agenda included:

  • Biggest potential for information teams to deliver value
  • Increasing visibility and adding value
  • What is the “knowledge consultant”
  • Gauging your environment for opportunities and partnerships

The session started with introductions and ended with next steps.

Biggest potential for information teams to deliver value

The first point was about the ingestion of 3rd party data. Solutions information professionals could provide included advising on the capture of unstructured data such as news and press releases. Compliance and building searches for the automated discovery of data. These points seem so basic that I can’t believe information professionals aren’t doing them already. As Manager of Library Services, my team and I were regularly running a series of searches we called ‘Client and Issue tracking’. This service was exactly what the presenters are offering.

The presenters also discussed re-use of 3rd party data. Licensing data once doesn’t mean you can use it for everything you want. The license terms dictate how you can use 3rd party data and many info pros have excellent skills in licensing all types of external content. It is important to discuss how external content might be used and license it for as many potential uses as possible, within the budget.

The presenters also said that licensing content as an evolving area in our profession and I have to disagree. In the legal area, library managers and electronic services librarians (AKA equivalent titles) routinely license a variety of different content, negotiate contracts and otherwise provide access to a variety of different content. While norms in this area many not be consistent, librarians and info pros talk to each other (one of the reasons we have SLA) and a common topic of discussion is contract negotiations.

One point with which I agree is silo busting. Connecting information is key to providing a company with more ways to use their own information. This isn’t always possible, or can be difficult, depending on the owners of the silos. Info pros are in a good position to know how the different silos can work together, because of the knowledge gained when various patrons ask for research. Librarians can see connections between different departments when the same questions are getting asked by people who may not know each other.

Increasing visibility and adding value

Dow Jones and Jinfo created a series of webinars based on the thoughts of information managers. One of the points that was consistently made was that info pros should be an agent of change. Embracing new opportunities will prevent you from seeming stodgy or afraid.

According to the presenters, there is an increased demand for data literacy. People want to know what is data, how is it structured and how can it be used. Our jobs are already spreadsheet heavy, so these skills can be an easy leap.

Being a data curator is another opportunity to add value. A data curator understands all the data sets in the organization and who controls them, and what data is accessible. “Accessible” data may be data that is licensed, but not owned. Partnering on issues such as integration and storage requirements is a good way to get a seat at the table. Info pros are already experts at annotating, publishing and presenting information. We understand how information/data is structured and can help others with that as well.

The next section was about who in the organization was using data and presented by a representative from Dow Jones.

They identified, from a survey, the following people/offices as the chief users of data:

  • CDO – chief data officer
  • data scientists
  • data strategy office
  • Innovation office

Frankly, the roles listed above must have had broader definitions and other titles associated with them. I have never heard of a chief data officer in the C-Suite. It could be new, but it sounds like a director position under the CIO or CKO.

Who is the “knowledge consultant”?

They like information professionals as knowledge consultants. They mention again that we can connect parts of the business who are working on the same problems. We can also connect departments with information and data they may need, but not know is available.

They suggest working with stakeholders to find out which projects are underway, so you can advise on what information or data might be available.

Every information professional should know what information is available in the organization. This can mean you have to delve into book chapters or lengthy files to get more detail. Knowing what you have is critical to being able to share it.

Your company culture also comes into play in terms of collaboration and hurdles to information sharing to overcome. Company culture, in this context, can fall into four categories:

  • data centric and synergistic
  • data centric and siloed
  • data emergent and synergistic
  • data emergent and siloed

Gauging your environment for opportunities and partnerships

Questions that must be answered are whether your organization is data-centric or data-emergent. It is also helpful to know whether your organization is synergistic or siloed.

First, make a development plan for your team. Break down the knowledge needs so you know who has what skills or who can learn needed skills.

Keep your eye out and try to identify areas that are working on data projects or may be working on data projects in the future.

This was an interesting session. I think it would have been more powerful if they had given specific examples of how info pros are working on data driven projects in their organizations.

They recommended two handouts, which are actually webpages: