ASSOCIATES (2007, July, v. 14, no. 1) - associates.ucr.edu
Web Editor for the Affiliates Group
When I first did a presentation on the new CILIP Framework of Qualifications, and in particular the Certification award at the ‘Umbrella 2005’ conference in Manchester, it was the first of several about Qualifications that I was asked to do. I was not alone in being asked to talk to people, as the desire for information was widespread and geographically diverse. Many people had the same requests and the FAQ were constant. I really wanted to attend all the events I was asked to attend but the geography often defeated me and I was not able to go. I was sure there was a better way of getting all the required information to people who wanted it. (CILIP is the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals based in the U.K.)
So I asked Mike Martin at CILIP if there was a way we could distribute the information given out at such events, which was cost effective and innovative. Costing of various ideas like video streaming or CDs and DVDs were discounted for technical reasons. If the information was to be supplied on request and free of charge the production and distribution were going to be a huge problem. The main problems being that while programmes like Real-Time are freely available on most PCs there are various versions of it, and it can also conflict with different versions of MS Windows XP or MS Vista. Then, of course, there are many other web browsers available which people use. I did try and do a few trials with an audio file I recorded but it would only work on some PCs. I then thought that it would be a good idea if we could have some form of direct download from the Affiliates web site that would contain the answers to the most popular questions asked at such events – and so was born the idea of the podcast! The idea being that a variety of people would answer a selection of popular questions, using the latest guidance from CILIP.
The idea of the Top Ten questions was to simply answer some basic questions which Certification candidates often ask at meetings in an innovative and interesting way. Using technology to enable them to access the information regardless of whither they had PC access at work or not, but having in mind different download speeds. The range of questions is being researched amongst other Certification candidates and the type of question answered will be basic but often essential, such as ‘Can I use evidence of achievement from other careers in my portfolio’? To add an innovative aspect to the podcast, successful candidates are being asked to record the answers and these will be used in the downloads. So the range of expertise and experience from successful candidates is being used to help those still working towards their ACLIP's (Certified Affiliate of CILIP).
This years CILIP President Ian Snowley has kindly agreed to record the first question, which is based on ‘What is the FOQ or Framework of Qualifications’. This first question has been recorded and is ready on the Affiliates web site for people to see and listen to at Umbrella 2007 and afterwards. Umbrella seems the ideal time for this new venture by the Affiliates to be unveiled as the conference is all about the catalysts for change. Members have expressed great interest and support for the Framework of Qualifications and the Certification award in particular. Large numbers of members are attending various training events around the country, organised by a variety of groups in association with the Affiliates Group. It is hoped that the full Top 10 Questions will be recorded and available in time for the CILIP Members Day in October 2007. Meanwhile the Affiliates web site contains a variety of information and resources on how to get the portfolios produced and accepted by assessors.
I took this project with me to the CILIP Umbrella Conference 2007 where I wanted to discuss it with various conference delegates. The Umbrella conference this year was all about the ‘Catalysts for Change’ and I needed to discuss technology and ideas with people I only see at conferences! We discussed the podcast idea and everyone I spoke to said how impressed they were with the concept, and how far that the project had got. The general problem being that the initial audio download available at http://www.cilip.org.uk/specialinterestgroups/bysubject/affiliatedmembers/audiodownloads is that some people reported a lack of volume control, while others reported that with enhanced security on web access several people were unable to access the site because of firewalls refusing access. What I want to do is enable people to access the Affiliate's web site and download the podcast direct as some sort of mp3 file, direct to an Ipod or similar. At the moment we have a problem in that the CILIP web site is not unable to host a podcast file which can be downloaded as an mp3 file, but can allow you to download an audio file. So the next part of the project for me is to try and develop a way to do this, while also making sure that the information they access is current and up-to-date. So to a certain extent the project is waiting for technology to catch up with concept.
I could argue that the project I have worked on shows the imagination of front line staff in libraries currently exceeds the capabilities of technology available to us. It may exist in some corporate organisations but we need it in a library setting.
Attending such a library conference as Umbrella 2007 with its collection of leaders and speakers is something everyone should do at least once! How often do you get a chance to hear, as I did, the immediate past President of the American Library Association, Leslie Burger, talk about her ideas, her library, and her aims and objectives for the future?
I got so much from the conference apart from the help and advice on the podcast. I got a chance to speak and to listen to library staff from all over the world, and realise that this sort of innovation is what makes front library staff the innovators that they are.
Listen to CILIP President Ian Snowley answer the FAQ 'What is the Framework of Qualifications?" at http://www.cilip.org.uk/specialinterestgroups/bysubject/affiliatedmembers/audiodownloads/president_talk.htm. Then, click on 'Audio Downloads.' Then click on 'What is the FOQ.'