Going Beyond: The Silos of the LAMs in the UK

After successfully wrapping up a series of panel presentations at ALA, SAA and AAM, we’re now taking our LAMs to the UK. CILIP asked us to create a day-long event around library, archive and museum collaboration. Internally, we’ve code-named this event “Beyond ‘Beyond the Silos of the LAMs,’” since we’re using our report [pdf] as a launch-pad for presenters and presentations going beyond our initial investigation. To the world, the event is known (without the stutter) as “Beyond the Silos of the LAMs”, and it’ll be held on September 15th in London. It’s not too late to register!

The day starts with an overview of the LAM report [pdf], and then focuses on organizations that have already made great strides in fostering collaboration among the LAMs under their purview. Presentations by two institutions that were part of the OCLC Research study highlight the challenges and successes from different vantage points: that of an archivist working in a vastly distributed complex of libraries, archives and museums (the Smithsonian Institution), and that of a curator working working alongside librarians and archivists in an art and design museum (the Victoria & Albert Museum). Both presentations will showcase what has come of the plans they hatched in the workshops a good 18 months ago. With the University of Calgary and the City of York, we start going beyond the pool of workshop sites to compelling exemplars of cross-domain work in a university and a municipal environment – and we’ve also rounded out a reasonably international array of perspectives, with the US, the UK and Canada being represented.

After lunch, we’ll switch up the format a little bit with a panel of representatives from UK service organizations who have library, archive and museum support as part of their remit. Representatives from MLA, UKOLN and the Collections Trust will deliver five minute statements containing an obstacle to collaboration, a promising project and an idea / vision for library, archive and museum collaboration. We’ll have two respondents standing by to engage in discussion, and eventually draw in the audience to assess how service organizations and LAMs can inspire each other to excellence.

The last session of the day is dedicated to going beyond “Beyond the Silos of the LAMs” in yet another way. Our report, and the day outlined so far, mostly focused on improving relationships among LAMs under a single institutional umbrella, be it a large museum complex, a university or a municipal setting. Now we’ll look at collaboration in the wild, if you will: how does all of this activity scale up to the national level? Jane Finnis of Culture24 and Stuart Dempster of JISC’s SCA will offer their thoughts on the gap between what LAMs currently offer and user expectations, and what help is available to those wishing to optimize their services towards the common good of serving the public.

We’re still trying to figure out where to take our speakers for drinks after the event, just in case you’ve got any suggestions. After all that, I’m sure they’ll be thirsty!