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The Role of Information Professionals in the Knowledge Based Society: Opportunities and Challenges

Session Chair:

Prof. Hesham Azmi, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Media & Mass Communication
American University in the Emirates (AUE)

Prof. Hesham Azmi is currently the Dean of the College of Media and Mass Communication at the American University in the Emirates – Dubai. Previously, He was the founder and Director of the Information Science Program at Qatar University from 2004-2010.

Prof. Hesham Azmi received his Bachelor of Information Science degree from Cairo University, Egypt, his MA. In Information Studies from Loughborough University of Technology, UK, and his Ph.D. in Information Science from Cairo University, subsequent to conducting the research in the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, USA.

He is the author of several books, peer- reviewed journal articles and papers published in regional and international conference proceedings. He has been recognized by various institutions for his remarkable research endeavors. He was granted the Best Research Award in Social Sciences, Humanities, Arts and Islamic Studies by Qatar Foundation Research Forum in 2010 for his research project dealing with Qatari Woman use of the Internet. Also, he was the recipient of the Best Research Award form Qatar University Research Forum 2011. Furthermore, He is a recipient of several research grants including the highly prestigious QNRF in its first cycle in 2008.

Prof. Azmi has participated in several key committees including: the Committee for the establishment of the National Archives of Qatar and Qatar University's Reform Committee. He also served as the Chair of Qatar University libraries Development and Steering Committee. He has served two terms as the Vice President of the Arab Federation of Library and Information (AFLI) from 2008 – 2013.

Panel Speakers and Presentations:

The role of wisdom in creating integrity in knowledge policy

Common sense alone tells us that wisdom matters and that knowledge can only be put to its best uses if wisdom is applied to its use. I argue that Knowledge policy is likely to be wasted if it exists in a wisdom vacuum. Yet wisdom is rarely discussed in relation to knowledge economies and knowledge policy.

Wisdom researchers do not picture wisdom as something belonging to old men with long white beards living hermit-like existences in the wilderness or in remote monasteries. Wisdom is actually a practical capacity for use in everyday life by citizens. Aristotle called this practical wisdom or phronesis. The theory of wisdom I use is called Social Practice Wisdom (SPW) and it is an update of Aristotle’s practical wisdom extended by Buddhist philosophy and contemporary empirical research.

SPW is the art of living coherently and appropriately according to the situation to produce excellence for oneself and others. Wise practitioners do this by integrating intellectual and ethical virtues in praxis to create deliberative excellence that has positive impacts for humanity. In this view wisdom is the peak of human social excellence. Specifically, a wise social practitioner integrates their sense of mastery and healthy self-esteem that is tempered by humility with:

  1. State of mind: An equanimous and actively open mind. This involves equanimity for openness to new ideas, experiences and critique, and the ability to mindfully, skillfully and constructively understand uncertainty and any situated relativities of values, culture, and politics.
  2. Ability and skill: Educated self-awareness, conation, and emotional and social intelligence. This involves self-knowledge, and well-developed and practiced predispositions (conation and mastery) and social, cultural, economic, and political nous to achieve social excellence and to create well-being.
  3. Virtue: Empathy and pro-social behavior. This involves empathetic and careful consideration and understanding of other's needs, including emotional and social needs, to find the right and ethical (virtuous) thing to do.
  4. Praxis/doing: Courage, generosity, and prudence in responsible use of knowledge and power. This involves knowing why, how, and when to adapt to the environment and why, how, and when to change the environment, including having the mastery and courage to do so in difficult circumstances.
  5. Creating positive outcomes, change: Being a galvanizing leader and artful communicator. This involves an aesthetic, forward-looking, constructive and positive way of living as a skilled and ethical communicator, deep and transcendent thinker, and humble leader.

However, despite understanding others and life so well, a wise social practitioner is not selfishly manipulative.

Five important things about taking an SPW approach (that are not well enough handled in knowledge, judgments, decision-making, ethics and related research areas on their own) are that SPW:

  1. Is clear about the roles and relevance of one's dispositions and their recursive relationship with habitus, including cultural artefacts like knowledge and values that are part of a community of minds.
  2. Shows how self-insight, empathy, virtue, reason, and transcendence create equanimity and commitment that underpin deeply wise dispositions needed for SPW.
  3. Explains the importance of culture and institutions in facilitating the integration of equanimity, empathy, emotion, virtue, transcendence, and reason, leading to ontological commitment through clear thinking, and then on to deep understandings and insight that foster SPW.
  4. Gives due emphasis to the aesthetics of wise social practice, particularly applying knowledge through social practice and dialogue (including eloquence and the art of communication), and metis or shrewd improvisation and political nous so that empathy, emotion and reason work in concert tp achieve things in life. Aesthetics, nous, and metis provide the skills and dispositions for quick and deep thinking that mindfully, ingeniously, skilfully, and yet prudently responds immediately to unfolding, ambiguous and difficult events, political realities and therefore encompasses the skills of mindful living and evoking and enacting tacit knowledge.
  5. Finally, SPW’s integration is the scaffolding that shapes and holds long term wellbeing or human flourishing and rises above narrow interests.

The central dynamic in SPW is therefore a complex multidimensional integration that creates clarity and decisiveness through equanimity and corresponding dispositions that generate the insight, composure and motivation to deploy the resources needed to act excellently and successfully in the best interests of oneself, others and the planet. This is the greatest public policy challenge for knowledge economies.

Presented by:

David Rooney,
Associate Professor at UQ Business School The University of Queensland.

Rooney has researched, taught and published in the areas of the knowledge economy, knowledge management, wisdom, leadership, and organizational change. His books include Public Policy in the Knowledge-Based Economy, the Handbook on the Knowledge Economy, Knowledge Policy, and Wisdom and Management in the Knowledge Economy. Rooney has also published in many leading academic journals including The Leadership Quarterly, Public Administration Review, Human Relations, Journal of Business Ethics, and Management Communication Quarterly.

The Role of Information Sectors in the knowledge based Economy: Techniques and Measurements Tools

Dr. Khaled A Mohamed


This paper would try to investigate the different techniques, assessment tools, and measurements criteria used by researchers and organizations to explore the role of libraries and information sectors in the knowledge based economy. The proposed framework would indicate the different fields of information sectors such as information industry, information and libraries services, information technology and so on, and what are the techniques and key performance indicators (KPIs.), beside the measurements criteria used for evaluating their role in the knowledge based economy?

The findings of this investigation would provide a framework for further and detailed research to explore the role and impact of these sectors on governments and organizations development. It would also create opportunities for developing new strategies and approaches to increase the rates of return on investment (ROI) and development in the knowledge based societies by utilizing the inputs and outs of knowledge production and transfer.

The proposed framework would provide a practical implication for assessing the level of advancement of each information sector to set up the priorities of development according to a strategic approach and general overview to the whole picture.

Presented by:

Dr. Khaled A Mohamed
Associate professor, Dept. of Library and Information
Fayoum University
Director of the Egyptian Universities Libraries' Consortium

Dr. Khaled A Mohamed is an Associate professor at the department of library and information, Faculty of Arts, Fayoum University, Egypt and act as the chairman of the department. He is also serving as the director of the Digital Library Unit in the Supreme Council of Universities. He held a PhD from university of Pittsburgh, USA, and two master degrees, one from Cairo University, and one from university of Pittsburgh. He has initiated and participated in the development of the Egyptian Universities Library Consortium, managing its activities including: the Egyptian universities Union Catalog, open access journal publishing, and the Egyptian Digital theses repository. He is a member of the Egyptian National Committee of ICT and the Egyptian national negotiation team of electronic resources who are negotiating with the international companies for e-content licensing. He has participated in many advisory boards meeting of the international publishers. He has three books published, one of them is published in English, and the other two are in Arabic. He has also been invited author to write a book chapter in one of the American Books published by Academic press. He has published almost 20 papers some of them are published in international journals and the others are in Arabic. He has been granted the Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research award of knowledge management and informatics in 2009 and the Arabian advanced system award in the golf SAL, 2010. He has H index score equal 2 as indicated by SCOPUS, Google Scholar and ISI.

Librarians as changemakers: the role of intrapreneurship in librarianship

Dewey developed a new classification system to help him reclassify a collection at Amherst in 1876. More recently in 1967 a collaborative effort by Ohio university presidents, vice presidents, and library directors who had the idea to use computer technology to enable shared, online cataloging and OCLC was born. Such constant reinvention is vital to avoid stagnation, respond to changes in the environment, and also for staff to feel stimulated and that they are contributing and making a difference.

Librarians and libraries can ensure they continue to provide valued services and systems to their patrons and user communities by thinking differently, innovating and reinventing themselves and their service offerings. Librarians can truly be innovators and catalysts for positive change in their communities. Pinchot coined the term ‘intrapreneur’ to describe those with an entrepreneurial disposition working within an organization to turn ideas into valued innovations. This presentation will explore the vital role of intrapreneurship in librarianship in today’s knowledge economy with an emphasis on social intrapreneurship and how librarians can become changemakers in their communities.

Shana Ponelis
Assistant Professor School of Information Studies,
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Shana Ponelis is an Assistant Professor with the School of Information Science (SOIS) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). Before joining UWM she was a Senior Lecturer with the Department of Informatics at the University of Pretoria. She worked as practitioner in industry as an IT consultant with Andersen and KPMG Consulting advising various organizations located in South Africa on management information systems. Her research includes information needs for decision-making in small, medium and micro-enterprises and she teaches information-based entrepreneurship to graduate students in LIS. Her work has been published in Aslib Proceedings, The International Information & Library Review, South African Journal of Information Management and Information Development amongst others. She serves on the editorial board of the Infopreneurship Journal, International Journal of Business Intelligence Research and the International Journal of Technology Diffusion. She holds a PhD in Information Technology from the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

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