Libraries at the Crossroads: Resolving Identities. EMEA Regional Council Conference 2017

Resolving identities

Personal identity is the concept we develop about ourselves that evolves over the course of our lives. It touches our appearance, our choices and our beliefs. We choose to demonstrate aspects of our personal identity outwardly, while keeping other elements private. We share who we are, with those we have a connection with. An employer, co-worker, friend or family member 'knows' more about us, because we 'know' about them. Privileged knowledge is gained through a mutual pact based on trust.

At least it was.

Today, our social networks have extended far beyond those we know. Technology can track our activity and make forecasts based on our current behaviour to predict our future behaviour. Our 'digital identity' offers valuable information about us to those we do not know, or trust. Such a change has brought with it a tension, between protecting our right to be unseen with the value that such insights can bring. Advances in research, learning and innovation are viewed by our profession as a 'public good', but is this always the case? In this era of big data, and superior processing power, our Meeting will explore this question.

We will also look at the work of promoting our identity and the identity of our collections. Today, there are new workflows emerging in scholarly communications and in the surfacing of government or public data. Many academic and public institutions are actively involved with linked data and digitisation projects to make such information more freely usable and discoverable, we will find out more about these activities. And, we will discuss how greater profiling of the usage of our collections is helping to inform us what future service provision might look like.

Many libraries have undertaken major changes in their identity to meet new challenges. Everywhere we look there are initiatives reaching out to new users and communities. This can mean changing the offer, changing the hours of business, or changing people's perceptions. The OCLC EMEA Regional Council Meeting is an opportunity for innovative libraries to showcase how they have committed to transforming their identity in the eyes of their community.

As knowledge professionals, we understand very well the power of openness and sharing but also have the utmost respect for the privacy concerns that go with it. We are standing at a crossroads, where the ability to trace our steps digitally enables new opportunities. The Meeting gives us much-needed time to consider whether these are roads we should be taking.

Registration for the OCLC EMEA Regional Council Annual Conference has now closed.


Tuesday 21 February 2017

  • Conference Day One
  • Conference Dinner

Wednesday 22 February 2017

  • Conference Day Two

Thursday 23 February 2017

  • Product Day (limited spaces)

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