In 1990 at a newspaper library, we thought it was pretty amazing when we went from cutting the papers up by hand and filing them in cardboard envelopes to formatting text on green screens into a database that allowed the unimaginable number of up to ten people to read the same article at the same time.
In 2014, Soutron Global's cloud-based specialized libraries leave those green screens in the dust. Soutron's webinar series "Transforming Libraries" makes the case for their service while also presenting topics on specialized libraries, knowledge management and knowledge services — and the growing usefulness of all of those in the business world.
Soutron, a cloud-based library, knowledge and information management solutions provider, has been running this series since Feb. 2013, plenty of time to get the bugs out. But some glitches in the presentation and the sound quality for the in-house speakers leave something to be desired and might discourage some viewers.
The most recent of these webinars was lead primarily by Guy St. Clair, president of SMR International, a New York City-based consultancy practice focused on knowledge management, knowledge services and the role of knowledge strategy in organizational effectiveness.
Changing Business Libraries
The webinar focuses on making specialized libraries an integrated part of a business's overall goals and successes in a more proactive and connected way. Although he clearly knows a lot about his subject, St. Clair tended to look down and read from a page most of the time, despite the wide availability of teleprompter programs.
Stereotypically, business libraries are thought of as rarely visited, out of the way dusty rooms that resemble a hoarder's domain.
St. Clair emphasizes a far more dynamic approach, particularly in the computer age.
He refers to specialist librarians as "Information professionals," "Strategic Knowledge Consultants," or even "Knowledge Thought Leaders" who must play an active role in their organizations' strategies and accomplishments.
A polling of the webinar participants showed slightly more than 15 percent believed there was a strong connection between the library and the organization, more than 50 percent felt that connection was fairly average and less than 25 percent said "not so good."
The key, according to St. Clair, is to find the link "between the library's offerings and what the company is seeking to accomplish."
Library Services and Clients
The second part of the webinar, headed by Gary Brooks, Soutron Global Account Manager, showcased the various features and services the company provides to prospective clients along with several examples of working libraries that were created for current clients.
A virtual Q&A followed with St. Clair, Brooks and Tony Sadaat, CEO of Soutron Global, fielding questions from professionals about medical libraries, upgrading from legacy systems, virtual training and circulation modules.
Overall the webinar was an interesting tool — both for more promoting and advancing in-house business/specialized libraries and making them a more integral part of an organization's culture and mission, along with promoting Soutron Global's services and capabilities.
The next Soutron webinar will be held Aug. 19 on "Knowledge Services: Connecting Strategic Learning with Information Management and KM." Previous webinars are available for download.