While this development presents many challenges relating to the reliability of content, intellectual property and so forth, there's a question of how we get that information out there in the first place. This is because much knowledge can be described as 'tacit' - experiences and thoughts that are not necessarily written down or published, and therefore not easily accessible by others.
In my previous role at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), I specialised in how architects could contribute to - and benefit from - this information landscape through peer-to-peer networking and collaboration. Online social and professional networking technologies are ubiquitous (such as Linked In, Twitter, and Facebook), so I was interested in how the profession was adopting these tools.
For example, the architects in Second Life (an online 3D environment) have fostered virtual open communities to share ideas and designs. I believe these complement, rather than replace, face-to-face interaction and communication. Also, regardless of the hype, online networks should be viewed as tools to support professional activities rather than something one should feel guilty about not using if they are not useful or relevant to one's professional or personal life.
So, are building services professionals also adapting online networking and information technologies and integrating them into their working day? I'd be interested to see examples.
If you are a BSRIA Member and you're not already asking us questions, you're missing out on a key Member benefit. We offer a free enquiry service by phone, email or online. So I challenge you as follows - the next time you start scratching your head at your web search results, give us a call and see if we can find the answer for you. If we've got it (we do have over 70,000 items), you can borrow the source material the same day.
Clare Sinclair is BSRIA's information and knowledge manager. firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the benefits of BSRIA Membership, contact:
Tel: +44 (0) 1344 465600
or email email@example.com