Category Archives: research

Private Case – Public Scandal – The Secret books in the British Library

I find it fascinating how much our attitudes to subjects change over time. In this case the topic is the British Library’s collection of pornography. In the past a few individuals have become somewhat obsessed by the various holdings in our Private Case collection. This seems Private_Case-Public_Scandal-coverstrange to me, in an era permeated by sexual content, from  television shows like Big Brother, to teenagers sexting each other, and virtually unrestricted access to pornography through the internet.

Since first joining The British Library back in 2006, I have heard many myths and legends about the collection of pornographic material. It was, I was confidently assured, the second largest in the world, behind the rather surprising winner, the Vatican Library, and slightly ahead of the Library of Congress in Washington, home of the First Amendment.

As a ‘newbie’ in the library I received this information in good faith, and in the knowledge that the collection was safely locked-away our basements, where I was unlikely ever to stumble across them.

However a chance mention in an article about the National Library of Australia led me to Private Case – Public Scandal by Peter Fryer. Published in 1966, this book claimed to expose the deep dark secrets of what was then known as the British Museum library (home to the famous Round Reading Room).

Naturally my first instinct was to look up this controversial publication on Explore The British Library, and within minutes I had located and ordered it.

I can’t claim to be an expert on Erotic Fiction , but I was surprised by just how dull and turgid these 160 short pages turned out to be. The contents mostly consists of excessively detailed reports of the author’s struggles to unearth the library’s ‘hidden gems’, his numerous letters to those in charge at that time, and many lists of the controversial titles and their provenance.

Perhaps any serious attempt to catalogue the more ‘exciting’ content of The British Library stacks was bound to end up being something of a snooze, but I have to say I was disappointed. However here are some of the highlights I thought worth noting:

Early on Fryer reports that;
“The BM collection of erotica is without doubt the most comprehensive in the world. The Kinsey Collection does not hold a candle to it. The celebrated Enfer Of the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris probably runs it a close second; but the alleged riches, in this field, possessed by the Vatican, the Library of Congress, and the Bodleian in Oxford, turn out to be small fry indeed compared with Bloomsbury’s well-stocked private case.”

It seems that the confusion stems from their “courage and honesty” in listing publicly their collections, whereas, up until the 1960’s The British Library had not.

Later on, Fryer recounts an episode relating to a request for a ‘naughty’ book by Iwan Bloch. He is asked to meet with the Superintendent of books who explains that he has to satisfy himself, that Fryer’s purpose  was serious, and that he was unlikely to steal, mark, or mutilate the book.

It was subsequently explained to Fryer, that the intention of this kind of interview is to protect the library’s books from the readers, “which experience has shown to be a necessary part of a librarian’s duty, rather than to protect readers from books, which is not thought to be a librarian’s business in this country.”

Fryer divides up the library’s collection of erotica into several categories including what he terms ‘sexological works’, which include books on “contraception, guides to erotic technique and coital positions, sociological surveys of teenage copulation in Cockfosters and homosexuality in Rutland.” I’m guessing this last part was Fryers attempt at humour.

round_Reading_RoomA section of the book covers the history of the Private Case at the British Library and includes mention of Anthony Panizzi, of one of the key figures in its development. Rather surprisingly Panizzi was not British, but an Italian lawyer and revolutionary democrat, who had been sentenced to death by the government of Modena. He escaped to England in 1823 and joined the British Museum staff, working his way up to Keeper of printed books by 1837. During his tenure Panizzi grew the book collection from 200,000, to over a million by the time of his retirement in 1866. Many of these were catalogued by Panizzi himself., The creation of the famous round reading room was also his idea.

In keeping with his democratic principles Panizzi wanted the library to be open to all students of knowledge.

“He wanted the student to have the same means of indulging his curiosity on any topic, consulting all authorities, and ‘fathoming the most intricate enquiry’, as the richest man in the kingdom. ‘And I contend’, he added, ‘that Government is bound to give him the most liberal and unlimited assistance in this respect.’”

This was quite a change from the views of his predecessor Henry Ellis, who opposed the idea of opening on public holidays because, “I think that the most mischievous part of the population is abroad and about at such a time.” Ellis claimed that if the library was not closed for the Easter holiday period, “the place… would really be unwholesome.”

Fryer managed to track down an article published in the English Review from December 1913, complaining about hidden books in the British Museum. In The Taboos of the British Museum Library, the authors claimed there were three general classes of books liable to be secreted by the library at that time:
1.    Subversive of the throne
2.    Subversive of religion
3.    Of an improper or obscene character

In response to an author who’s latest book had been ‘dissapeared’, the Keeper of books wrote this rather unhelpful reply;
“Dear Sir, – In your letter of the 12th July, referring to books which are not entered in the catalogue, you ask me whether there are any printed instructions issued, and available for public use, by which the public may know of the existence of such books, and to the conditions under which they may be consulted. My reply to your question is that there are no printed instructions relating to such books.”

A_Dictionary_of_ExplosivesTowards the end of the book Fryer covers some of the non-erotica related causes for books in the library being ‘suppressed’. One, is if the publication has resulted in a successful libel case. Others are breach of copyright by the publishers, or serious factual errors in the publication. A more interesting cause was those containing commercial or state secrets. Examples included  the cautiously titled Statement respecting the Prevalence of Certain Immoral Practices in his Majesty’s Navy from 1821, and those containing information on lock-picking and safe-breaking. Also included was the 1895 edition of Lieutenant-Colonel John Ponsonby Cundill’s Dictionary of Explosives.

Fryer makes his views on these restrictions clear on the final page of the book;
“It is high time the museum authorities realized that the un-catalogued books in their care are not their private property, and that their refusal to let people know exactly what they have and have not got is unworthy of a great national library and totally inimical to scholarship.”

Since those repressive days of the 1960’s the library has indeed opened up the catalogue, and these curiosities can be found. But only ordered up from the basement by those who have a serious academic interest.

Calling all dyslexic entrepreneurs

The Business & IP Centre is hosting a research placement for Sally Ann Clarke, an MA student from the University of Brighton. She is looking to find entrepreneurs and business people who are dyslexic. Below is her blog post about the project:

Sally Ann ClarkeMany thanks to the British Library for agreeing to host my research project.

First of all, something about me. I started my career as a qualified librarian in Manchester Public Libraries, and since then I have had a variety of roles including managing an independent bookshop. This gave me retail and business experience but also an interest in business information. I decided to return to the library profession and I am now studying for an MA in Information Studies at the University of Brighton.

For my dissertation I am researching dyslexic entrepreneurs and business information. My choice of research topic came from bringing various ideas together. I read the Cass Business School’s research by Dr Logan that entrepreneurs have a significantly higher incidence of dyslexia than in corporate management and the general population. I also visited the Business and IP Centre and noticed that many of their services are aimed at entrepreneurs. I then wondered if dyslexic entrepreneurs had specific business information needs.

I also have an insight into some of the issues dyslexic entrepreneurs have, as I am dyslexic myself. I understand that many people do not realize they are dyslexic although they may have an inkling that they are ‘different’. I didn’t find out myself until I studied for a part-time University Certificate in Creative Writing eight years ago. I am now aware of the difficulties I have, and have learnt some strategies to try and overcome them, but now I am becoming aware of some of the ‘advantages’ such as good verbal communication, lateral thinking and creativity. These ‘advantages’ are perhaps why someone with dyslexia becomes an entrepreneur in the first place.

Richard_Branson

And there are many examples of successful dyslexic entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson, Kelly Hoppen,  Duncan Bannatyne from Dragon’s Den and Tom Pellereau, winner of last year’s The Apprentice.

However, I need your help! If you are dyslexic and have used the Business and IP Centre, if you think you may be dyslexic or if you know a dyslexic entrepreneur please do get in touch. I would love to hear from you. My email is SallyAnne.Clarke@bl.uk

The Key Trends for 2012 from Cate Trotter – Insider Trends

logo_insider_trendsI have been covering sessions from  founder and Head of Trends at Insider Trends Cate Trotter for a while now: Insider Trends – The Future of Online Marketing, The growing grey market in the UK and How to become a cutting-edge retailer.

As previously, Cate showed an impressive grasp of the trends that new and existing businesses need to know about, to keep ahead of the competitive curve.

Tonight’s topic proved even more popular than before, requiring a move to a larger room, and an overflow event last-night.

Here are my notes from the event:

Cate started the evening by identifying three headline trends for 2012 of Doom and Gloom, Ubiquitous Digital and Humanness.

Doom and Gloom (aka – the economic recession is killing business opportunities – or is it?)

  • If you only read the papers or watched TV you would think the end is nigh.
  • Unemployment is at a 17 year high in the UK, with over 1 million young people out of work.
  • The UK economy is predicted to grow by 0.2% in 2012 (i.e. no growth to speak of).
  • But…
  • Interest in entrepreneurship is at an all-time high, and barriers to entry are at an all-time low, thanks to technology and the internet, with the likes of Facebook, PayPal and on-demand printing.
  • Slowly we are shifting to become a nation of entrepreneurs.
  • There are plenty of opportunities for person-to-person (P2P) businesses thanks to the likes of Kickstarter and SellAnApp. Or how about MinuteBox which allows you sell your expertise by the minute.
  • Opportunities also exist in the off-line world too, such as ‘cheap and cheerful’ offices for start-ups like The Ugli Campus, or how about opening the first cafe for entrepreneurs.
  • Too many business websites use ‘me too’ branding with stock photography and unclear messages – Cate gave the example of BubbleWebs  as one that ‘shows what it does on the tin’.

BubbleWebs_home_page

Ubiquitous digital (it really is everywhere now)

  • 65% of adult internet users now use a social networking site of some kind.
  • By the summer of 2012 over 50% of Brits will be using a smartphone.
  • So:
  • Cate’s tip no.1 – Mark your location on Google Places to boost traffic to your website.
  • Cate’s tip no.2 – Make sure you website is mobile friendly using 11 Excellent Solutions for Making Your Website Mobile Friendly.
  • Need to think beyond using social media just for marketing and PR – add customer support roles (e.g. Hippo Munchies in India using twitter prompts from customers to re-fill their vending machines).
  • Companies will develop intelligent and selective strategies for social media channels. No more scatter-gun approach to digital marketing.
  • Digital data will give commercial insights. E.g Klout score to measure your online influence.
  • A/B test your website your website using Optimizely to maximise visitors.

Humanness (the importance of trust in a digital commercial world)

  • Ask yourself how is your digital strategy enhancing the lives of your customers?
  • More targeted communications and email lists – less scatter-gun.
  • Google is starting to highlight more human related content, so you need to have people talking about your business in social media.
  • Which means you have to do stuff that people think is worth talking about.
  • Results in a move away from novelty campaigns to real customer value. E.g. Zappos.com have a 24 hour staffed phone line, and up to a year to return products.

Zappos_logo

  • Inspirational brands talk about why they do what they do, not what they do, or how they do it – read Start with why by Simon Sinek or watch him speak at TED.
  • The need to stay human, once you grow beyond a single person business, think of your brand as a personality or celebrity.

2012 is all about being connected – individuals, networks and businesses
Use customer value to cut through the ubiquitous social media noise. Connections through honest communication is key.

Cate ended her talk by encouraging us to go away and start experimenting with some of the ideas covered. We now had 11 months lead on our competitors.

She really wants to hear from us how we a get on, so please get in touch with her at cate@insider-trends.com

Interview with Jesús Montero freelance film maker

Jesús_MonteroMy colleague Fran Taylor recently interviewed Jesús Montero, a freelance film maker on how the British Library has helped his work.

I am a freelance film maker and have used the British Library consistently over the last few years. I have worked for the BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel and Animal Planet. The collections I have consulted at the Library vary hugely according to the content of the programme I am researching; anything from ancient Egypt to Meerkats. At present, I am working on a part-time basis for National Geographic on a very popular show called Air Crash Investigation.

One project I worked on for National Geographic was Seconds from disaster: Inferno at Guadalajara. One of the books I consulted at the British Library to make this documentary was a compelling account of some of the people who survived this terrible human disaster in Mexico. Once I finished my research, I packed my bags and travelled to Mexico, in search of one particular survivor depicted in this book: a Mexican woman with an incredible story to tell. Eventually, I did find her and she became one of our contributors, which was all down to this extraordinary book.

The British Library has been a constant and constructive road companion for me over the last fifteen years. It keeps the films that I work on, accurately informed. It gives them focus. More importantly, it fuels my pen.

You can follow Jesús on his blog at The Hidden Cracks of Oblivion, or on his Twitter feed.

British Standard for a cup of tea – BS 6008 (revisited)

morning_tea_4_1165221_porah

Today we had a visit from British Standards Institution demonstrating their British Standards Online service (BSOL), to which we have full access in the British Library.

It reminded me of one of my earliest posts on this blog, way back in 2007, British Standard for a cup of tea – BS 6008. Surprisingly this has become my third most popular topic of all time (after the Bic Crystal ballpoint pen and the not so simple paper clip)

Perhaps not so surprising when you know (according to the United Kingdom Tea Council), tea is the most popular drink consumed in Britain, with over 165,000,000 cups being (image by porah) drunk in the UK every single day of the year.

Drinking tea the right way has it’s own popular website and book with A nice cup of tea and a sit down.

Sadly the vexed topic of when to put in the milk has the nation (and families) divided, despite the British Standard suggestion of putting it in last (for tea brewed ‘properly’ in a pot);

7.2.2 Preparation with milk
Pour milk free from any off-flavour (for example raw milk or unboiled pasteurized milk) into the bowl (5.2), using approximately 5 ml for the large bowl and 2,5 ml for the small bowl described in the Annex.

Prepare the liquor as described in 7.2.1 but pour it into the bowl after the milk, in order to avoid scalding the milk, unless this procedure is contrary to the normal practice in the organization concerned.

If the milk is added afterwards, experience has shown that the best results are obtained when the temperature of the liquor is in the range 65 to 80 °C when the milk is added. While addition of milk is not essential, it sometimes helps to accentuate differences in flavour and colour.

Many, including that great British writer George Orwell, who wrote a detailed eleven point set of tea making instructions, insist on putting the milk in second;

Tenthly, one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.

Needless to say, the Tea Council have their own ideas;

  • Use a good quality loose leaf or bagged tea
  • This must be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature
  • Always use freshly drawn boiling water
  • In order to draw the best flavour out of the tea the water must contain oxygen, this is reduced if the water is boiled more than once.
  • Measure the tea carefully
  • Use 1 tea bag or 1 rounded teaspoon of loose tea for each cup to be served
  • Allow the tea to brew for the recommended time before pouring
  • Brewing tea from a bag in a mug? Milk in last is best

And of course Wikipedia have a wealth of information on the topic of tea preparation.

tea_pot_858726_76609514

The only ‘proper’ way to make a cuppa – image by rubenshito

Kate Middleton to marry Prince Harry

The most important activity for any start-up (or existing business come to that) is research. If you don’t understand your customers, your market, or your products properly, you will make mistakes. And these could cost your business.

With this in mind, it looks like Guandong Enterprises ltd failed to do their research when producing a piece of memorabilia to celebrate our forthcoming royal nuptials. Although the names are correct on the ‘Royal mug’, the image is of red-haired Harry, instead of his older brother, less colourful brother Will.

Ironically although this mug is not likely to be a best seller, its value is going to go sky-high due to the mistake.

Will and Kate

http://www.guandongenterprisesltd.com/

Kate Middleton ‘marries Prince Harry’ on souvenir mug

The growing grey market in the UK

Retired man on bench

Photo Walter Groesel - Stock.XCHNG

Last night I attended a packed Insider Trends’ talk at the Business & IP Centre. Last time the topic was How to become a cutting-edge retailer, but this time Cate Trotter the founder and Head of Trends was talking about the rise and neglecting of the over 50’s market.

As a newly minted 50+ myself (well last September anyway), I was doubly interested in what Kate had to say, and was pleasantly surprised to hear that by 2020 the over 50’s will form the majority of Britain’s population. So that makes me part of the only growth market in the UK.

Once again Kate provided an excellent talk, and left the audience pumped full of relevant statistics and marketing angles.

Here are my notes from the evening:

Untapped markets: The grey pound – Monday 24 January

Profile Marketing Opportunities

–    The population in the UK is getting older, already more +60s than -16s
–    People are living longer
–    Family sizes are shrinking
–    Number of 90 year olds expected to double in 25 years
–    78% of income retained post retirement, but loss in commuting and mortgage costs increase available money
–    +65’s spending £100 billion a year Recession
–    Older customers are better prepared for economic decline than younger
–    Many are working part-time to bring in an income Segmentation
–    Important part of understanding your customers
–    Need to add more age categories. 50-65 and 65+ are not enough
–    Need to be aware of not pigeon-hole by age – much more diverse than the younger categories, due to widely varying life experiences

–    So use lifestyle segmentation instead

  • Live Wires – active and working, many interests, technology aware, spend on holidays
  • Happy and fulfilled – active, but more traditional, financially well off, lots of holidays, spend on quality traditional brands
  • Super troopers – often have lost a spouse, don’t like advertising and new technology
  • Living day to day – spends rather than saves, more interested in material wealth than time, tend to choose premium brands
  • Unfulfilled dreamers – hard working, dreams of un-achieved ambitions,
  • Rat race junkies – could retire, but not yet, into technology, more than one marriage

–    Need to be aware of sets of baby-boomers coming through

  • Flower-children are now approaching their mid 60s
  • So interested in green such as Prius cars and green funerals
  • Believe that old age starts at 72, not 65
  • More old travellers going further afield and more adventurous
  • The SKIers – Spending Kids Inheritance

Adapting your business
–    Attitudes, physical (eyesight) and cognitive (memory) impairments
–    Over 50’s buy 80% of top of the range cars (BBC news report)
–    But many have enough mainstream products (washing machine, microwave, TV). However, they might upgrade at point of retirement with help of lump sum
–    From products to services – or service related products (e.g. sport) less equipment for the home
–    Travel

  • Generally continues until late 70’s and early 80’s
  • GrandTravellers – grandparents and their grandchildren on holiday together – something relatively new and growing
  • Travel gripes – single supplements, insurance costs, active sports insurance

–    Clothes

  • Comfortable and cool clothes lacking in the market place
  • A younger style, but to fit an older shape
  • Children’s toys and clothes as presents

–    The Home

  • Home improvement rather than new products
  • B&Q
  • Employing independent traders + reputable traders marketed towards an older customer
  • Ergonomic tools (SandBug from B&Q)
  • Packaging older people can open – %80 are not – Primelife President
  • Smaller packs and designs – one person teapots (Debenhams small wok a bestseller)

–    Home health care

  • Philips Defibrillator – talks you through
  • Retrofit-friendly homes you can grow old in – e.g. doors wide enough for a wheelchair, room for safety handles – Joseph Rowntree Foundation – www.lifetimehomes.co.uk

–    Fitness

  • Pensioners are fastest growing group of gym members
  • Scope for specialist centres
  • Zumba – very popular with older dancers

Design

–    Product and service design, also websites and fixtures and fittings
–    A lack of interest in older consumers from mainstream companies
–    Specialist

  • Simplicity computers – replaces Microsoft Windows with 6 buttons – option to pay by cheque in the post
  • Tesco online shopping has an access setting
  • Photostroller – purpose built controller to access Flickr content
  • PostEgram – a Facebook app for printing out content
  • Presto – an Internet printer with a remote control system for the sender – customer doesn’t need a computer
  • Kaiser’s in Austria – e.g. easy to reach stock, reduced glare lighting, slip-proof flooring, pleasant places to sit, reading glasses to borrow, all employers over 50 – sales 50% above forecast
  • Odeon Senior Screen – with different snacks – coffee and cake instead of fiz and popcorn
  • Danger of alienating older customers who still feel young – if they can reject it, they often do – don’t want to be associated with ‘that group of people’ – they expect products and service to cost more

–    Inclusive

  • Kindle – allows you change size of text and have text to speech
  • Nintedo Wii is becoming more popular in care homes – active game playing
  • ClearRX by Target in the US – simplifies medication for entire families
  • Ferrari Enzo – with wider doors and lower floor o    Harley-Davidson – trikes for the older market – still cool design
  • Mobilistrictor – a suit to age the wearer by 40 years – useful to test our store design etc
    – used by Ford when developing the Focus – e.g. boot has no lip, dash doesn’t reflect light – became Ford’s best selling car
    – used by Derby City General Hospital building design
    – General Motors used older engineers – key card and push button start
mobilistrictor_Richard_Hammond

Richard Hammond trying out the Mobilistrictor

  • Legibility of writing
    – Larger fonts
    – Bolder colours
    – Clearer typfaces eg Tireseais typeface
    – Use of icons and symbols
  • Interface design – e.g. Apple iPhone and iPad, Facebook (103 year old woman who uses an iPad to interact)
    – Additional advantage of extended appeal to disabled, parents of young children, those heavily laden – e.g. small trolley in supermarket
    – Involve audience in your designs

Marketing

–    Only 1 in 5 sticks to brands they now – happy to try new products and service, but as late adopters
–    Only 1 in 3 own a mobile phone
–    Less influenced by mass media as advertising does not reflect their interests, have become cynical, but not being wired, are more open to national and local marketing
–    More time to shop around – and more time to think if they really need it, so more critical, and more time to write reviews. Can become experts in new products
–    More time to tell their friends about products and services – word of mouth becomes even more important
–    Need to use younger (not too young) faces in images – or take out faces – e.g iPad just shows hands, so appeals to all ages
–    Retail and experiential – e.g. Harley Davidson stores – older are less likely to buy online
–    Only 1 in 4 over 65’s have used the internet, but this is growing very fast
–    Over 50’s represent 25% of online population, but those that are spend longer online
–    Silversurfersday – increase confidence
–    Raceonline2012 led by Martha Lane Fox from LastMinute.com – can buy a £99 computer, with a cheap wireless dongle from 3
–    Better designed websites – e.g. Jitterbug from Samsung aimed at older customers, who can call to order as well as online
–    Email marketing more effective with older customers – e.g. eldergym newsletter
–    Free magazines – e.g. Staysure magazine for the over 50’s – based on airline magazine model
–    Segmented approaches – e.g. Ninento DS using Girls Aloud and Julie Walters in different ads for the same product
–    Car adverts tailored to age group. E.g. the young are interested in loans, the older are not
–    Appealing to the adult child
–    Look for older people in marketing agencies, if you can find them.
–    Be aware of emotional issues associated to buying older products such as walking sticks or elasticized trousers

Conclusion
–    They represent the only growing market in the UK
–    They have time and money to spend
–    There is currently very little competition
–    Be aware that they are difficult to profile – very varied with more variety in the future

Approach requires
–    empathy
–    must not be patronising

Our Management and Business Studies Portal goes live

THE BRITISH LIBRARY HomeThe fruit of many months of labour by my colleague Sally Halper has finally emerged blinking into the bright light of day.

The Management and Business Studies Portal is a joint venture from The British Library and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

We have joined forces to develop a new online service for managers, bringing together the latest management research and business information, alongside the British Library’s vast collections of print and digital material.

Jude England, head of social science collections and research at the British Library, says: “Our joint aim is to develop joined-up information services and content. The partnership with CMI expresses our continued commitment to supporting the government’s vision of building Digital Britain and improving UK productivity.

We have created a video explaining the site on our YouTube channel.

Whether you’re a University researcher or a busy manager, this Portal will help you find and use high quality management research publications quickly and easily.

  • Download research reports, summaries, briefings, working papers, conference papers and articles from key publishers.
  • You must register (see button above) to see most of the content.
  • Discover the British Library’s vast print and digital collections – in one powerful search
  • Receive alerts about new content that matches your subject interest(s)
  • Watch author interviews and other videos
  • Disseminate and preserve your work
  • Contact us

The introduction of the portal is the second joint venture with CMI this year. The first was the CMI Management Book of the Year awards, which I blogged about last March (Who will win Management Book of Year?).

Fifteen of the UK’s best management authors are now one step closer to winning the coveted title of Management Book of the Year, having made it on to the competition shortlist.

The CMI Management Book of the Year competition, launched by the CMI (Chartered Management Institute) in association with the British Library, aims to uncover the UK’s best books on management and leadership and raise the profile of the great management writing published or distributed in the UK. The shortlisted books are those that, in the opinion of the panel of expert competition judges, will help transform the working practices of managers and help to raise awareness of how management theories and thinking can be better applied in practice.

With £5,000 at stake for the winning author, the shortlisted books, which include John Adair’s Leadership of Muhammad and Richard Donkin’s The Future of Work, will now undergo an intense review process, where expert judges will whittle down the entries to find the UK’s best management text. One winner will be chosen in each of the three categories – ‘Practical Manager’, ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ and ‘Digital Management Book’ – before the overall winner is picked from the three.

The first competition of its kind, Management Book of the Year was created in response to shocking research that revealed that 85 per cent of employees would rather seek help elsewhere than turn to their managers when they need guidance at work. Despite this, just five per cent of these people are turning to management books when they have work issues, suggesting that managers are struggling to find useful, practical texts.

The research also revealed that surprisingly, when it comes to topic choice, more people would like to read about how to achieve a good work/life balance (40 per cent) than how to get a pay rise (30 per cent). In addition, 31 per cent are interested in advice on how to manage people, while just 19 per cent would like tips on securing a promotion.

The winning book will be announced on 25 January 2011.

The books that have made it onto the shortlist are as follows:

  • Practical Manager category:
  • Leadership of Muhammad by John Adair
  • ReWork: change the way you work forever by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
  • Managing by Henry Mintzberg
  • The Intuitive Mind by Eugene Sadler-Smith
  • The World’s Business Cultures and how to unlock them by Barry Tomalin and Mike Nicks
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship category:
  • Glimmer: How design can transform your business by Warren Berger
  • Brilliant Business Creativity by Richard Hall
  • Evolution:  How to thrive in crazy times by Bill Lucas
  • Supercorp by Rosabeth Moss Kanter
  • Design-Driven Innovation by Roberto Verganti
  • Digital Management Book category:
  • The Future of Work by Richard Donkin
  • The Leadership Illusion by T. Hall and K. Janman
  • Fast Track to Success:  project management ebook by Patrick Harper-Smith
  • How to lead by Jo Owen
  • Meet the new boss by Philip Whiteley
  • Growing Knowledge the Evolution of Research – the garden is open

    Our Growing Knowledge – the Evolution of Research was officially opened by Andrew Miller MP, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee last week.

    Over the next nine months, we will be using a dedicated exhibition to explore what technological tools will shape the library’s future research facilities.

    The exhibition aims to challenge visitors on how research is changing and ask what you want to experience from the library of the future.

    I have volunteered to be a guide to the exhibition so do drop by and say hello.

    Working with hardware partner HP and software partner Microsoft, the library is showcasing a range of research tools, including a prototype of Sony’s RayModeler 360-degree Autostereoscopic Display that uses gesture control to view static and moving 3D images and video.

    At the end of the Growing Knowledge exhibition, the British Library will evaluate the tools and decide which have been most useful for researchers – a term the library uses to describe anyone using its resources.

    Richard Boulderstone, CIO at the British Library, explained: “It’s about trying to explore what tools and services we should provide for researchers in future. What is the future of the library? What tools, spaces, technologies should we provide for researchers?”

    Clive Izard, head of creative services at the British Library, added: “We are evaluating the way researchers will work in an area that is not hushed and quiet – where people will be more collaborative physically.

    “At the end [of the exhibition] we will produce a report. JISC [independent advisory body providing advice on ICT use to higher education] is going to take the findings and incorporate them into our services.”

    The exhibition, which is running on a thin client solution, is testing everything from monitor set-up – from a single touch screen monitor to four standard monitors – to audio search software developed by Microsoft.

    These tools, which include map rectification software that reshapes old maps over current maps, and a Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts tool that enables users to digitally delve into Austen’s handwritten manuscripts, will be alternated with other ones in the British Library’s portfolio over the nine months.

    Researchers can also experiment with a Microsoft Surface Table, on which the British Library is showing an interactive, digital version of the world’s longest painting, the 19th century Garibaldi Panorama. A set of dials, developed with (University College London (UCL), also measures Twitter activity across nine capital cities.

    The Growing Knowledge exhibition will run until 16 July 2011.

    Growing Knowledge – the Evolution of Research is open

    Growing Knowledge – the Evolution of Research has been officially opened by Andrew Miller MP, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee.

    Showcasing some never-seen-before research tools, thought-provoking content and futuristic design in a fully interactive research environment, the exhibition aims to challenge our audiences on how research is changing and ask what they want to experience from the library of the future.

    For more information watch this You Tube video for interviews with Library staff and further details about the exhibition.

    Reuters have also produced a video piece on the exhibition.