30 April 2019

With an impressive line up of influential industry support for this year's Taxonomy Boot Camp in London, Programme Chair Helen Lippell reflects on the importance of industry associations.

Taxonomy Boot Camp London is lucky to have the support of a number of partner organisations in this field. They help us to promote the event by encouraging their members to submit a proposal or attend. I wanted to give a personal perspective on how these groups have helped my career, and maybe persuade you to join one (or more!) of them.

Being a taxonomist can be a lonely furrow to plough if you are the only one in your organisation, or you work independently, as I do. I first got involved back in 2006 when I started going regularly to ISKO UK meetings. I made new friends and contacts right from the start; it was a group of like-minded souls doing interesting work who were open and friendly. Members come from a variety of backgrounds including academia, the public sector and the private sector.

Another advantage of being an association member is support. Some years ago, I hit a rocky patch of my career due to an organisational restructure, and my familiar friendships with direct workmates were affected because everyone was worried about their own jobs and positions in the hierarchy. It was helpful to chat to friends in the industry instead, as many had had similar experiences (taxonomists and other information professionals often have to fight to prove their value when businesses cut back). Going to association events helped me to adapt to the change and grow.

Association events are a superb way to learn new things in a cost-effective way. By way of example, NetiKx charges £60 a year which includes free access to at least 6 meetings a year. In the last few months topics have included: working with complexity, linked open data and blockchain. I doubt I would have found the time and energy to learn about all these topics on my own. As corporate training budgets are squeezed, this kind of learning opportunity is essential. (Of course, coming to Taxonomy Boot Camp London presents an unrivalled learning opportunity for taxonomists, but we only pop up once a year!)

The social aspect of these groups is another big plus, with lots of chances to network. I’ve picked up a couple of jobs that weren’t advertised elsewhere, as a direct result of being in an association and talking to people. I’ve also gained confidence and satisfaction from taking part in and organising events. If any of these groups have events in your city, then go and try them out.

Lastly, if you still needed convincing, each of our partner associations offer generous discounts for members to attend Taxonomy Boot Camp London! You can access those discounts once registration opens in June.

Taxonomy Boot Camp London's 2019 industry supporters include:

AIIP - Association for Independent Information Professionals
Bibliotekarforbundet - (BF) - Danish Union of Libraries
CILIP K&IM - Chartered Institute for Library & Information Professionals, Knowledge & Information Management Specialist Group
IRMS - Information & Records Management Society
ISKO - International Society for Knowledge Organization
NetIKX - Network for Information & Knowledge Exchange
SLA Europe - Special Libraries Association, European Chapter
SLA Taxonomy - Special Libraries Association, Taxonomy Division

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