Over the past couple of months I have stepped in as ‘Guest Editor’ to help The Heritage Alliance produce its fortnightly email newsletter, Heritage Update. This is circulated directly to over 3,600 subscribers, and is then forwarded on or circulated to a few thousand more folk within organisations and networks within the sector and beyond – both in the UK and overseas. Judging from sheer amount of information collated and edited from pro-active monitoring of a wide range of information and data sources, along with items submitted directly for inclusion from professionals and organisations across the sector, it is probably the single most important point of news and information for anybody wanting to keep up with what is going on. [Along with the BEFS Bulletin, for organisations north of the border in Scotland, serviced by the sister organisation, the Built Environment Forum Scotland!]
We exist in a multi-channel environment for receiving information, and it has been both fascinating, hugely enjoyable and utterly daunting at times to be at the heart of the flow of policy updates, news, consultations, job vacancies, events, debates, courses, critique, analysis, data, research projects, emails, calls, images and tweets. The sector is incredibly dynamic with so much going on. Update tries to provide a central point of curated information to particularly support the independent sector which usually doesn’t have the capacity to monitor what’s going on beyond the horizon in the way that the larger heritage organisations do. It also tries to make sense of wider policy issues in planning and the environment, which are of relevance for the sector, and flags opportunities to engage in consultations which Government departments and other bodies conduct to feed in reaction, concerns of ideas where they might impact on the heritage sector. The whole sector seems to find it useful and essential reading.
What is abundantly clear is that whilst Update contains a lot of information every fortnight (frequently running to over 20 pages if you happen to press print!), it is only able to cover the essentials: much more could be included, and the information feeds and platforms expand week by week (new projects, websites, RSS feeds, tweets, LinkedIn groups and discussions, publications). There is a combination of information overload, connection deficit, a curatorial requirement, and a challenge in making sense of the heritage sector’s activities – which all washes up into the production of Update: as I swap back from the editor’s hat to my management academic hat I am starting to scribble ideas on how this can be conceptualised and signposted in terms of a knowledge management case study.
To sign up for Update – follow the link here: http://email.premmdesign.co.uk/h/r/31BE9009F8B5DF9B