Information sharing refers to the processing of information either on a one-off or ongoing basis between partners for the purpose of achieving a common aim.
Information sharing is the process of exchanging data among various computer networks, usually operated by separate organizations. Sharing information can bring many benefits. It can support more efficient, easier to access services. Library personnel can cooperate to deliver information to those with complex needs.
There are two main sorts of information sharing. The first involves two or more organizations sharing information between them. This could be done by giving access to each other’s information systems or by setting up a separate shared database. This may lead to the specific disclosure of a limited amount of information on a one-off basis or the regular sharing of large amounts of information, for example bulk matching name and address information in two databases. The second involves the sharing of information between the various parts of a single organization, for example between a local authority’s various departments.
The goal of sharing information is to provide information to others, either proactively or upon request, such that the information has an impact on another person's (or persons') image of the world, i.e., it changes the person's image of the world, and creates a shared, or mutually compatible working, understanding of the world. Information sharing includes providing information, confirming the information has been received, and confirming that the information is jointly understood. Information sharing is an important component of information behavior. It is an essential activity in all collaborative work, and helps to bind groups and communities together. When working together group, or team, members must continually provide information to others and to some degree mutually understand and use information others provide. When information is not effectively shared, collaborative group work fails.
In information sharing library personnel are well aware of their need to provide useful information to others and their need to use information provided by others.
Effective service provision relies on the organizations communicating and sharing information with a wide range of partners. Information sharing is, therefore:
• A two-way process that enables links to be made between people, objects, locations and events that would not be possible otherwise;
• Can help deliver improved public services;
• Leads to an increased openness among partners which, in turn, builds confidence and trust;
• Increases expertise, professionalism and an understanding of the process of sharing information;
• Enables partners to make informed decisions about how best to protect and serve the public.
However, while there are clear advantages in sharing information with others, information should not be shared purely as a matter of routine. Each case must be viewed individually with informed decisions made about whether to share or not.
The sharing of information can be summarized in three distinct groups:
• Those required by or under statute (statutory obligation)
• Those permitted by or under statute (statutory power)
• Those made under common law to support the delivery of services including information sharing and dissemination
It is good practice to check the quality of the information before it is shared, otherwise inaccuracies and other problems will be spread across information systems. In general, any plan to share information should trigger action to make
sure that inaccurate records are corrected, irrelevant ones weeded out, out of date ones updated and so on. There should be mechanisms in place to help library personnel to resolve problems where there is disagreement over an information quality issue.
Library personnel may share information in different ways. Before sharing information you must make sure that the library personnel involved have a standard format for information sharing. If you cannot establish a common standard for sharing information, you must develop a reliable means of converting the information.
Only once you have a clearly defined objective, for example the delivery of a particular service, can you make an informed decision about the information that is necessary to carry out that objective. You should be able to justify the sharing of each item of information on the grounds that its sharing is necessary to achieve the objective. You must not share information if it is not necessary to do so. It is good practice to regularly review the information sharing and to check that all the information being shared is necessary for achieving your objective
It is good practice to check from time to time whether the information being shared is of good enough quality.
The spreading of inaccurate information across a network can cause significant problems for information professionals. If you discover that you have shared inaccurate information, you should not only correct your own records but make sure that the information is also corrected by others holding it.
Information shall be adequate, relevant, not excessive, accurate and up to date.
· A procedure for checking that information is of good enough quality before it is shared.
· Methods for making sure that shared information is recorded in a compatible format.
· Procedures for making sure that any information that is being shared is relevant and not excessive.
· Methods for checking regularly that shared information is of sufficient quality.
RETENTION OF SHARED INFORMATION
Automated systems can be used to delete a specific piece of information after a pre-determined period. This facility is particularly useful where a large number of information of the same type are held.
Considerations for judging retention periods include:
· the current and future value of the information for the purpose for which it is held;
· the costs, risks and liabilities associated with retaining the information; and
· the ease or difficulty of making sure the information remains accurate and up to date.
You should review your retention policy in the light of operational experience. If
information that are being retained are not being used, this would call into question the need to retain them. It can be very difficult to assess the significance of the information you hold. In these cases you must rely on experience and
professional expertise to come to a balanced decision about whether to retain or
delete the information
There is a significant difference between permanently, irreversibly deleting information and merely archiving it. If you merely archive a record or store it ‘off-line’ it must still be necessary to hold it and you must be prepared to give subject
access to it.
Library personnel sharing information should have an agreement about
what should happen once the need to share the information has passed. In some
cases the best course of action might be to return the shared information to the
personnel that supplied it without retaining a copy. In other cases, for example
where the particular issue that the information sharing was intended to deal
with has been resolved, all personnel involved should delete their copies
of the information.
It is very important to regularly assess whether your sharing of information is having the desired effect, for example in terms providing a more efficient service to the public. When assessing your information sharing it is also important to consider any complaints or questions that you have received from members of the public. You should keep your information sharing procedures under review, and should update your documents when necessary.
Information sharing is key to the library personnel’s goal of delivering better, more efficient services that are coordinated around the needs of the user. Library personnel recognize the importance of information sharing and there is already much good practice.
HOW ORGANIZATIONS CAN SUPPORT PRACTITIONERS
It describes the important organizational and cultural aspects that are required to ensure that good practice in information sharing is promoted and supported.
Practitioners need to understand their organization’s position and commitment to information sharing. They need to have confidence in the continued support of their organization where they have used their professional judgement and shared information professionally.
To give practitioners confidence to apply the support in practice; it is important that their employers aim to establish:
• a culture that supports information sharing between and within organizations including proactive mechanisms for identifying and resolving potential issues and opportunities for reflective practice;
• a systematic approach within their agency to explain to service users when the service is first accessed, how and why information may be shared, and the standards that will be adopted, which will help to build the confidence of all involved;
• Clear systems, standards and procedures for sharing information. These may be derive from the organization’s information sharing governance
any local procedures in place, or from their professional code of conduct;
• infrastructure and systems to support secure information sharing, for example, access to secure email or online information systems;
• Effective supervision and support in developing practitioners’ and managers’ professional judgement in making these decisions. For example, access to training where practitioners can discuss issues which concern them and explore case examples with other practitioners; and specific training and support for managers and advisors who provide support to practitioners in making information sharing decisions;
• Mechanisms for monitoring and auditing information sharing practice; and
• A designated source of impartial advice and support on information sharing issues, and for resolution of any conflicts about information sharing.
INFORMATION SHARING GOVERNANCE FRAMEWORKS
It is good practice to establish an information sharing governance framework so that all library personnel/information professional are clear about the organization’s position on information sharing.
Information sharing governance framework must always recognize the importance of professional judgement in information sharing at the front-line and should focus on how to improve practice in information sharing within and between agencies. These should be communicated to the front-line so that practitioners have confidence in their organization’s commitment and support for professional information sharing.
An information governance framework would be expected to include:
• An Information Sharing Code of Practice, which outlines the principles and standards of expected conduct and practice of the organization and the staff within the organization. The Code of Practice establishes the organization’s intentions and commitment to information sharing
• Information Sharing Procedures, which describe the chronological steps and considerations required after a decision to share information has been made, for example, the steps to be taken to ensure that information is shared. Information sharing procedures set out, in detail, good practice in sharing information.
• Information Sharing Protocols (ISP). Where the organization is involved in pre-specified, regular or bulk sharing of personal information with other organizations then the framework would also be expected to include one or more Information Sharing Protocols. An ISP is a signed agreement between two or more organizations or bodies, in relation to specified information sharing activity. An ISP relates to a specific information sharing activity and explains the terms under which both (or all) organizations have agreed to share information and the practical steps that need to be taken to ensure compliance with those terms.
SHARING AND COLLABORATION
Sharing and collaboration are more dependent on people than technology. ICT has also greatly facilitated information sharing and collaborative working. Cost of sharing and distribution of information is low and negligible in digital environment. But sharing is a complex human process subjected to psychology of individual and his professional and cultural predisposition.
Extensive sharing of information and collaboration are ok. Hither to popular ‘technological gatekeepers’, ‘communication stars’ and ‘invisible colleges’ are losing ground and yet another kind of disintermediation; beyond ICT and libraries social sharing is negligible. The forces and objectives behind information sharing among libraries and library consortia include: unutilized spare capacity of resources, optimum utilization of resource; budgetary crunch; and duplication.
In view of content boom (Web pages double every three months), enormous unutilized capacity of resources and duplication as well as huge additional expenditure incurred by agencies centrally paying towards consortia subscriptions It is difficult to say that the objective behind information sharing have been better achieved in the new digital environment. Though ICT has enabled information sharing and collaborative working, the collaborative evaluation of the content in the Internet has become a marketing tool. Amazon uses evaluation and views of customers to rate books and present to others to further its commercial interest. Imitating collaborative evaluation on Web, personalizing contents and product customization based on usage and observed user behaviour are being attempted. What information management community requires is that technology learns users’ likes and dislikes over time in order to dynamically and consistently deliver the right content.
INFORMATION SHARING ACTIVITIES
Information sharing is seen as a mode of operations whereby, functions are shared in common by a number of participants having the same objective.
Some of the activities aimed at information sharing:
Inter lending/Document Delivery
Inter library lending is one of the earliest schemes developed by library personnel in their bid to share information. There are two types of inter lending- the decentralized and centralized schemes. The centralized inter lending scheme is a situation where there is a centralized collection specifically for inter lending. The central has established enormous collection capable of meeting efficient information retrieval and delivery.
The impact of the computer revolution and the utilization of modern telecommunication in information storage and delivery has greatly facilitated and broadened the scope for information sharing. Banks of specialist information and machine readable bibliographic data available to, or being used, thus crating unprecedented opportunities for online sharing of information and bibliographic services.
An advance in information and communication technology has really enhanced the way information sharing operates. Among the developments are the e-mail, the internet, full text bibliographical services, e-journals, CD-ROM technology etc.
Consortium is the cooperative arrangement between several libraries for the purpose of cooperative acquisition of materials, cooperative cataloguing and classification of materials so acquired.
Frank Parsons’s s tripartite model is considered to be the forerunner of modern theories of career behaviour. His model suggests a person should:
(1) understand one’s self,
(2) understand job requirements,
(3) choose a career that is based upon knowledge and logic.
CAREER BEHAVIOUR THEORIES
Trait and Factor Theories
Stress the individual’s need to develop his or her “traits, (interests, values, skills) as well as select environments that compliment those traits.
An Example of a Trait and Factor Theory
Holland’s Theory of Vocational Personalities and Work Environments
• An individual’s personality is the primary consideration in their choice of vocation.
• Holland believed that interest inventories were personality inventories.
• People form stereotypes about jobs and careers which guide them in their choices.
• People daydream about a possible career before they attempt it.
• Having clarity and a small number of vocational goals is related to a person’s identity.
• People are not as happy with their career if they have not chosen one that is congruent with their personality type.
• Holland identified six different personality types: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional (RIASEC).
• All six personality types differ in interests, vocational preferences, goals, beliefs, values and skills.
• Environments can also be characterized by these series of traits which correspond with the personality types: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional.
• A match between personality type, and the environment which supports that type, leads to greater career satisfaction.
Share the assumption that factors related to career choice are also related to stages of personal and psychological development.
An Example of a Developmental Theory
Donald Super’s Life-Span, Life-Space Theory of Career Development
• People have different abilities, interests and values and therefore are qualified for different occupations or jobs which all need different abilities and personality traits.
• People change over time and with experience and so too do their abilities, interests and values.
• People go through life stages whereby they experience growth, exploration, establishment, maintenance and decline in their career life.
• Career Maturity or Adaptability: When a person is able or willing to engage in the developmental tasks that are appropriate to the age and career level in which he or she finds himself or herself.
• Six Life Roles: Homemaker, Worker, Citizen, Leisurite, Student and Child.
• People develop a self concept through which they test out occupations that will allow them to be their ideal self.
• Work Satisfactions and Life Satisfactions: It is contingent upon an individual’s ability to find outlets for his or her (abilities, values, needs, interests) in work and in life.
• Work and occupation provide a focus for personality organization for many people.
Describe the learning processes by which an individual gains self-efficacy and what effect this has on the career decision-making process.
An Example of a Learning Theory
Krumboltz’s Social Learning Theory
• This theory is not concerned with developmental stages.
• It is based on Albert Bandura’s social learning theory.
• Krumboltz believed that genetic inheritance, such as race, gender or physical appearance, can have restrictive influences on the individual.
• There may be factors that lie out of the individual’s control such as environmental or natural forces.
• An individual’s learning experiences, both instrumental and associative, has an influence on all career and decision making.
• Task Approach Skills: These are the skills library personnel apply to each new task or problem. These include: Performance standards, values, work habits, and various cognitive processes.
• Each individual encounters learning opportunities that are either rewarded or punished which shapes the individual and his or her responses.
• Self-Observation Generalization: It is an overt or covert self-statement that is evaluative of one’s own performance in accordance with learned standards.
• Task Approach Skills: These are efforts of the person, to make self-observation generalizations and predict future events which include, work habits, values, perceptions etc.
• Actions: These are implementations of behavior such as applying for a new job or changing one’s major in college.
Pay less attention to psychological traits but focus instead on the socioeconomic status and the influence of sociological and economic factors on occupational choice.
Examples of Socioeconomic Theories
Status Attainment Theory
• The socioeconomic status of one’s family determines the education and career goals one would most likely pursue.
• However mental processes and abilities do play a role in what one is able to do.
Examples of Socioeconomic Theories
Dual Labor Market Theory
• There are two types of businesses in our labor market: Core and Peripheral.
• Core firms have internal labor markets, have job stability and mobility for their employees, have dominate roles in the labor market and rely heavily on technology.
• Peripheral firms make no long-term commitments to their employees and pay by the job. Employees are laid off when they are no longer needed. There is little chance of upward mobility.
Examples of Socioeconomic Theories
Race, Gender and Career
• Some racial groups earn less than others.
• Males earn more than females.
• Women and men are segregated in the work place.
Focuses more on the personal constructions people place on events related to career and decisions making.
Social Cognitive Theories
Lent, Brown and Hacket’s Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT)
• This is also based on the socio cognitive theories of Albert Bandura.
• However more emphasis is placed on self-regulatory cognitions, especially those that pertain to self-efficacy.
• SCCT theory posits that the interaction between people and environment is highly dynamic and ever changing. People influence, and are influenced by, the environment.
• Career related behavior is influenced by: A person’s behavior in general, beliefs about self-efficacy, beliefs pertaining to outcomes and goals, and genetically determined characteristics.
• People’s interests lie in their belief that they can do these things well.
• Self efficacy development is influenced by gender, race, physical health, disabilities and environmental variability.
• Other factors influence career behaviour: Discrimination, economic variables, and the culture of the person doing the hiring as well as chance happenings.
• People who have high self-efficacy and high ability perform higher in educational and career endeavors then those who do not.
Modernist Theories posit that:
• Human behavior can be measured objectively if instruments are reliable and valid.
• Human behavior can be studied without direct observation.
• Research should be without bias or value imposition.
• Research, if done scientifically, can be generalized to people beyond those studied.
• Research should be empirically validated.
Post-Modernist Theories posit that:
• Human behavior cannot be studied objectively.
• Cause and effect relationships cannot be determined.
• Human behavior can only be studied through direct observation.
• Research data cannot be generalized.
• Research cannot be value free.
• Narratives are legitimate sources of data.
• Research should be goal free.
• Career counselors should use qualitative research and assessments.
Library personnel dream is to serve its users. User demands are increasing at an exponent rate against limited resources at the disposal of library personnel. For library personnel to still be relevant in the scheme of things, a lot of information sharing activities are going on among information professionals.
Information sharing is globally endorsed as it tends to result in harmony and progress. Information sharing has a significant role to play given the problem of scarce resources with regards to human, material and financial aspect.
Library personnel are service providers, thus users satisfaction is always a point of consideration. For library personnel to satisfy users needs, it has to store all the information product and services that the user will likely demand and in varying formats.
3. www.governornet.co.uk/.../ Information%20sharing%20guidance%20for%20practitioners