Image [cc] San Diego Shooter

I was very happy to see that my RSS feed picked up an new post from Dr. Bonnie Cheuk this week. After nearly a year off from her blog, she came back with a very interesting perspective of “What is the future of information professionals?” where she opens up with some very open ended questions:

  • What do information professionals do?
  • What do others think we do?
  • What should we be doing now?
  • What is our future?
  • How should we define it?
Nothing like coming back with a bang!
Dr. Cheuk challenges the notion that technology is solely behind the major shifts in how the information profession has changed in the past 15 years. 

Personally, I think the major shift is not about technology, it is how we redefine information from “static, objective” information that we can manage as objects to “communicative” information whereby information is a “process of becoming” (the process to inform, to understand, to share common struggles, to look for facts, to look for multiple perspectives etc).

The “static” information is now turned into a “communicative” process where even the author of the information can be influenced by the user of the information. This type of fluidity of how information moves back and forth is something that information professionals need to understand in order to position themselves and “create value for your companies or stakeholders.”

She goes on to discuss how the changes shouldn’t be viewed from our own perspectives, but rather from the perspectives of those who engage with the information we provide. She suggests a number of ideas gathered from the problems that business executives, middle management, knowledge workers, entrepreneurs  educators and parents face.

Dr. Cheuk lists a number of opportunities that Information Professionals have in being strategic partners, providing practical solutions, being a trusted adviser, advocating for change, and preparing others for the future. Along side the opportunities also come the challenges of acquiring the right skills and demonstrating exactly how we are up to the challenge of influencing change. She believes that the Information Professional has a role to play… if we are willing to accept the challenge.