What is the Business of Being an Independent Information Professional All About?
by June Boyle
What does it mean to be an Independent Information Professional? The AIIP Web site defines such individuals as those who “possess high-level skills in finding, managing, applying, and communicating information” and “pursue their calling with an entrepreneurial spirit.” The definition was left purposely broad, since independent professionals are like snowflakes – no two are the same.
A Wide Range Of Offerings
The differences among info pros go far beyond whether we focus on assisting our clients with strategic planning, conducting competitor intelligence, or gathering information (such as undertaking research about the healthcare or energy sectors). Indeed, using the term “research” is actually misleading when it comes to describing the wide range of capabilities of today’s info pros. Many of us do, in fact, perform research, but how we go about it and how we deliver the results to our clients is far more diverse than one might expect, ranging from transactional document delivery to advisory services an everything in between. And then there are those of us who are analysts, knowledge managers, web designers, trainers, writers, and so on. Below is a sampling of typical services AIIP members offer:
Business Research and Analysis. Business report; competitor/company profiles and financials; scenario planning; financial, demographic and other projections; strategic and business analysis and planning; funding and prospecting.
Market and Industry Research and Analysis. Industry profiles; media scans; clipping services or RSS feeds on industries or competitors; environmental scans; collecting, filtering, organizing, and presenting data.
Subject Matter Research. Review of news publications and business and academic literature on client-relevant topics; leveraging of online tools such as search engines, subscription databases, Web 2.0 sources (blogs, social networking tools, videos, book search, etc), and traditional hard copy book and reference resources.
Information/Knowledge Management. Information and knowledge management analysis and planning; document management systems; setup and management of archives; wiki development; oral histories; information audits.
Writing, Editing, and Document Creation. Writing customized reports, white papers, executive summaries, newsletters, books; editing documents; checking textbook facts.
Training and Advisory Services. Presentations or workshops on research techniques; advice on a range of issues, including strategic planning, management, communications, process design, etc.
Library Setup and Maintenance. Assessing an organization’s needs for a public or corporate library; space planning; collection development; cataloging; digitization; maintenance of the library’s in-house collection.
Copyright © 2011 June Boyle. All Rights Reserved.