Wednesday, 19 July 2017

CILIP Conference 2017: 'Fostering the Infosphere' - Spotlight by Itzelle Medina Perea

The CILIP Conference 2017 was held last week, in Manchester. This is one of the most important events for the library and information professionals across the UK, it provides a great opportunity for collaboration, debate and networking. This year the programme included interesting sessions on topics such as managing information, literacy and learning and copyright and ethics and the presentation of three keynote speakers: Dr Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, Professor Luciano Floridi, and Neil MacInnes, Strategic Lead for Libraries, Galleries and Culture at Manchester City Council. I found the sessions on Information Governance and Ethics very useful as they addressed topics that are relevant for my PhD research. Furthermore, I met some information professionals and students from different backgrounds and was really interesting to share ideas an experiences with them.

One of the highlights of the conference was, without doubt, the keynote delivered by Professor Luciano Floridi: Fostering the Infosphere. In this great session, Floridi discussed the changes that have been provoked by the emergence of digital technology. He also explained how the new environment created by the convergence between the digital and analogue challenge the entire society to re-interpret concepts and practices of daily life. Professor Floridi talked about how power relationships have changed in this new era. From his perspective, questions are today the key to power, not answers, which means that uncertainty is controlled by the questions. For this reason, the role of the library also requires a major transformation: “the role of LIS & libraries in information societies is to counterbalance the power to control/influence people’s behaviour through uncertainty by guaranteeing and facilitating the free and effective formulation of questions”.

This was a powerful message, a call to action, a reminder that information professionals still play a key role in society and that we have a great responsibility.

During these two days of conference the Information School had the opportunity to promote the postgraduate programs offered at the School. The iSchool stand was located in the exhibition area and in addition to attending the sessions of the conference I spent some time at the stand and provided potential students with information about the courses. I shared my experience as an Information School student, talked about the practical skills and theoretical knowledge I acquired during my MA degree and PhD, and the advantages of studying at the University of Sheffield.

Overall this was a great event, well organised and with excellent content. Thank you to the Information School for providing me with a bursary to attend the CILIP Conference 2017.

Itzelle Medina Perea
PhD student

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