« Radio 4 Media show and Facebook | Main | Internet Resources Newsletter: Issue 170 »

February 27, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Phil- here is what I posted on Bob's blog. I have made similar points about not listening to non CILIP folk before..

We stop worrying about our authority- we certainly stop assuming it. We don't worry about official spaces or unofficial; we get involved. If CILIP is its members then with all the blogging and twittering they do CILIP is already involved, whether it's sanctioned by Ridgmount Street or not.

Phil Bradley is right- you have no choice Bob. if we are to claim any 'authority' in the field of information, we get out there and blog, twitter- whatever the game is. And we open up to non CILIP members too.


This just about sums up CILIP for me - I am a young librarian, keen to learn about library skills new and old, but CILIP does not speak to me. I am looking forward to the day when employers won't ask about accreditation to CILIP any more - they are so antiquated.

Clari Hunt


Bob's post has made me very angry about CILIP's outlook on the world outside CILIP. Have added my tuppence-worth to his blog post, but thought I would include here my final comment:

And for anyone else according to OED to peenge is "To whine, complain in a whining voice; to mope, fret."

Clari Hunt

And I meant to add - well done, you've answered him far more thoughtfully and comprehensively than I think I could! And you've started a debate on it!


The lack of engagement in information technologies by the professional body for information professionals is one (of many) reasons that I have never been a member of CILIP. Two examples that spring to mind are
1. the clunky RSS feed they introduced a while back, which was too late in the day, and didn't say what it was an RSS feed for (a blog, training, courses, news, etc.?: it is very slightly clearer now: on one part of the site is it "new content", on another "news"), and
2. the lack of an RSS feed for their vacancies, which I still can't believe doesn't exist.


I agree completely with you Phil. It adds strength to your case that I first was alerted to this post via twitter, then clicked through to your post - and only then was made aware of what cilip were saying. And sympathised completely with the people who commented "I would respond if I could work out how". I'm very interested in collaborative working and networks - how they work, why some work and some fail - and thus was excited to see how the cilip communities would turn out. I visited once, finally managed to get in - but haven't been back, they dont alert me to ongoing conversations - there are a lot more exciting discussions going on elsewhere, in spaces I dont have trouble accessing.


Beautifully, eloquently written Phil...

I confess I feel more disillusioned with CILIP with each passing day. Much like Demeter (above), I feel I have very little in common with the organisation... It's demoralising when your own professional body doesn't understand you! CILIP seems to me to be negative and defensive, focused on 'old fashioned libraries' which don't realy exist any more. Certainly not enthusing and inspiring the IPs of 2009.

Instead of embracing the cheap, easy and open medium of blogging, Bob is clearly doing it against his will. I suspect it *will* get him attention, but if all his posts are so negative it'll only succeed in alienating even more of the membership. Deeply disappointing of an organisation that is supposed to have an open minded and enthusiastic approach to information and communication.

Tom Roper

I agree, RSS feed for vacancies is just so basic that I can't understand why it's not there.
We spend so much time as a profession marvelling at the pace of change in information work, but seem to be unable to apply that to the way our professional body works. CILIP has had to retrench lately, and will probably have to do so again, but that's all the more reason to use new and innovative ways of doing what we're here to do.
I was, until today, the only commenter on Bob's post.. and we claim 21,000 members

Alison Williams

The CILIP attitude to Twitter is disappointing but far from surprising. I can't comment on 'All of a Twitter' as I let my membership lapse many years ago. I'm by no means a 'young librarian' but I am still keen to learn new skills and try new technologies and new communications media. Blogs, Twitter etc allow me to follow and engage in professional debate and conversation in a way that official communication channels fail to do.


Tom Roper: Incidentally, if Phil is indulgent enough to let the plug pass, I created an RSS feed for CILIP jobs: http://www.aurochs.org/internet/blogging/ciliprss.php (caveats here: http://www.aurochs.org/aurlog/libraries/cilip/ciliplisjobnetrssfeed.html). There have been a few recent problems with Google Reader not registering old content as read, but this should hopefully now be fixed.


Having been accused of CILIP bashing myself, in the past, I was tempted not to comment on this, but reading Bob's post does make you despair for our profession. We are in a profession that is under threat in many ways, whether economic, social or technological. Many of us have realised that to survive we have to adapt and that means trying to stay ahead of the curve in developments that could either help us individually as professionals or to help us deliver a better service to whom-so-ever our end users are.

CILIP should be leading discussion and leading the exploration of new tools and services that can help their membership survive in the profession that have chosen, not procrastinating on the sidelines or even worse taking the 'you come to us' approach.

This is a brilliant rebuttal to Bob's post Phil (large hat tip!), and should be required reading for all those in our profession.

I do have to just add one final thing though. For Bob to end with a call for comments and ask for no whining just shows either how misjudged his attempt at humour is, or quite spectacular arrogance. I'll leave readers to decide which it reads more like.


For pity's sake they are supposed to be an information organisation. They should be leading the field on this, not doing half-hearted blog posts!
Great article Phil and it certainly has made for a enlivened Friday pm!

bob mckee

Great stuff Phil! Got the debate going, just as I intended...

CILIP, like many institutions, is inherently conflicted between authority and community. Perhaps the difference between CILIP and many other institutions is that we recognise the issue and are trying to think our way through it.

So, keep your comments coming - they're helping me and others within the CILIP family navigate with care along a complex path.



Owen Stephens

Since I've tried, and failed, to leave a comment on the CILIP blog (I thought I had access through corporate membership, but apparently not), I'm leaving a comment here instead (thanks Phil for providing a platform!). And CILIP - seriously, you need to fix this - what on earth can you be so worried about?

I think there are all kinds of challenges to institutions in exploiting social networks (I include Twitter) effectively, and as Tom notes, this is a challenge. I'm not that convinced by many of the 'institutional' twitter accounts.

As Phil notes, the idea of a CILIP sanctioned space is extremely worrying (I seem to remember that some of the CILIP groups have pub-based meetings - presumably the pubs are specially annointed for this purpose?)

Just this afternoon a Guardian journalist (http://twitter.com/jemimakiss) tweeted a couple of points I thought CILIP could learn from - I quote them here:

"Common mistakes news orgs make with Twitter:

1) That it's all about Twitter, rather than how people are actually using Twitter and

2) They get fixed on using a tool, like Twitter, rather than working out what they want to do & finding the best tool for it. That is all"

These are the things I believe should have reflected on in his blog post - then I'd have believed he was engaged with the real challenges here.

To quote from Bob's previous post (http://communities.cilip.org.uk/blogs/cesdesk/archive/2009/02/07/just-like-starting-over.aspx)

"Come along with us, and help to remake our profession in this new era of individual and collective responsibility."

Well - I'm trying, but you aren't making it easy.

Katy Wrathall

I have become ever more disillusioned wih CILIP as an organisation supporting it's members over the years since I first joine, professionally and personally. I hoped they would be leading the debate and the way forward, but apparently I was (yet again) mistaken. Seems they prefer to watch from the sidelines. As I said, disappointing, again, and explains why so many of my colleagues are considering leaving.

Anne Robinson

As I far I am concerned, CILIP has no authority any more. At the moment, a group of school librarians from around the world are taking part in a brilliant online course about how Web2.0 technologies can transform libraries.

Then we have a blog post from our Chief Executive like this! I am embarrassed to read this!

And that post on here from Bob is ridiculous!

It confirms for me why I have left CILIP and will not be returning in a hurry. If our own professional body cannot use the information and communications tools that are available to us now - what hope is there for our profession!

Michael Clarke

Am baffled as to why organisations like CILIP see themselves as having a conflict between community and authority - without their community, what's left? And doesn't the community pay the "mandarins'" wages?

Katy Wrathall

Are they not missing the point that the 1st port of call for info for many is now social networks, we need to be involved to make sure that we are part of these discussions, have input and can encourage communities, ideas and development as well as being aware of how the profession is perceived and areas we need to address? Surely it is better to have our heads in the cloud than stuck in nthe sand as seems to be the case all too often.


"CILIP is inherently conflicted between authority and community." Perhaps they can find a way out of their self-inflicted conundrum by remembering that any authority they have comes solely from their membership community.

Phil Bradley

Bob, I'm pleased to see your positive response, though the control element is still glaringly obvious.

What I'd like to see happen next is for CILIP to open up debate - many are disappointed at the lack of ability to comment on CILIP blogs - open that out for everyone to respond. You can still control comments to exclude inappropriate material, but I'd like to see you help US to help you.

Allow staff to Twitter, as CILIP staff. You've had ample demonstration of how useful this resource is, and how much interest there is in it, and how dynamic debate can get quickly. I understand that you want to get things right, but equally surely it's better to try things out and learn by *doing* rather than by talking?

I'm sure that there are plenty of us - both members and non-members - who are happy to assist you, and I suspect that we'll do it in a CILIP sanctioned space if necessary. Face to face, via a Wiki, or a LinkedIn group or some other place - or several of them. There's no need to try and do everything yourselves; lose a little of that control and invite greater participation. I'd certainly help and I'd bet money plenty of others will too.

Create your own Twitter account and start using it! Blend your posts into your blog or the website.

There have been lots of comments, both on my blog and on yours. I'd really like to see you blog again and address those points in detail. I'm also pretty sure that I'm not the only one.

Chris Hall

Good comments Phil - I think Bob McKee's response to your blog verges on the patronising.....

Like some of the other posters here I am far from being a "young librarian" myself but I (unlike CILIP)can see the need for librarians to adapt and move with the times to keep pace with this crazy world - and that means using all the new technologies/tools at our disposal.

So keep up the good work!


Hear, hear Phil! I must admit that I've never looked at Bob McKee's blog before, but that's probably because "From the Chief Executive's Desk" is a dreadfully autocratic title. It's as if we should be grateful for such precious crumbs of wisdom from the high table of CILIP authority.

The following comment, posted on his Twitter blog post today, says everything about Bob McKee's attitude: "At the risk of infuriating those of you who live in the world of "always on" networked conversation, I'm going off line now for a couple of days."

Rather than positioning himself in opposition to the increasing numbers of information professionals who are excited by the discovery and manipulation of these tools, Bob McKee should be encouraging an atmosphere of inclusion. He should be joining us in celebrating both the vibrancy and the challenges that this technology brings to our profession.

Caroline Moss-Gibbons

Some really interesting points have been made here, which as Leader of CILIP Council, I take on board and will feed back to my fellow Trustees/Councillors.

CILIP is indeed nothing if not it's members. Increasing member engagement is a priority for us, and we already use the Council blog and various lists such as lis-professional to engage with both members and non-members. Leading on from there, I've recently begun to use Twitter myself, as have several other Trustees.

I can already see that Twitter's going to be an important channel for me, for all the very good reasons you (Phil) and the various commentators have made. When considering ways of increasing CILIP's level of engagement with the LIS sector, I keep coming back to a comment by Euan Semple about the necessity for organisations to recognise that conversations are already happening 'out there', and that "If you're not in *their* space, you're nowhere".

I will be using the Twitter space more and more, and all those other spaces too.

Mandy Phillips (@m8nd1)

Can't really say anything that hasn't already been said, but wanted to add my voice to the array of others.

Not a CILIP member as I couldn't really see the benefit, and now pleased that I'm not paying for the somewhat antiquated views that represent CILIP.

I'd be happy to be part of the debate about what CILIP should do for it's members, it might even gain some new ones, or tempt some of the old ones back.


Excellent post, Phil. I am quite taken aback by the attitude displayed on Bob's post and by the patronising comment he posted here.

As others have said, I wouldn't have even known this debate was going on if it wasn't for using Twitter.

Feeling rather in despair about CILIP, or at least it's Chief Executive. Not only because of his views on Twitter, etc., but more because of his patronising and 'exclusive' attitude. Aggh.

The comments to this entry are closed.




My Photo


  • Subscribe!
    Add to any service

My Flickr photographs

  • www.flickr.com
    This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Phil Bradley. Make your own badge here.