Hello, I am Iain Watt and this site is about managing information, library and research services. It draws on a career working in and managing information services, from the local to the global level. This includes work with the City of Westminster, the London Borough of Camden, the UK national archives, the European Parliament and the United Nations. I have worked with many parliaments through the IFLA Section for Library & Research Services for Parliaments (IFLAPARL) and with some as a trainer/consultant.
This website is intended to stimulate professional thinking and action, and to invite professional exchanges on the issues.
What’s on the site
The page on ‘Service development’ highlights posts on practical service management issues and tools. The page on ’Concepts and issues’ introduces some neglected and emerging issues in the profession – further posts in the ‘Concepts and issues’ category expand on those issues and reflect on other professional concerns in parliamentary library & research services.
Parliamentary research services produce very useful briefings and other products. They are often published but hard to track down. For those in English and (with the help of Diego Hättenschwiler of the parliament of Switzerland) in German, I have created directories of online sources for these publications. I have also experimented with topical search engines in English and in German to retrieve products by subject from multiple parliamentary sources. (The German language search developed also with the help of Diego Hättenschwiler). I hope that these tools can help research services find and make use of work by their colleagues. They may also be useful to students and citizens. Experience has shown that services make changes to their online publishing arrangements and the search may then be unproductive – updating is constantly required. Please contact me if you think something is nor working correctly. The search engines remain experimental.
In 2021/22 I ran a survey on methods used by parliamentary research services to raise their profile, particularly with Members. This was in support of an IPU project for which I am a consultant, but the results of the survey are of wider interest. The respondents have access to a series of posts reporting on the survey results. These pages are only accessible to survey respondents who have registered on the site.
My current work
I work occasionally as a consultant and if you are interested in that please see the page on ‘Professional services‘. I worked for IFLAPARL pro-bono and continue to do so on general professional issues.
As Chair of IFLAPARL 2019-21 I was committed to the development of parliamentary library & research services. I would recommend IFLAPARL as the global body for the profession and the IFLAPARL site is the source for reference material such as guidelines and standards. IFLAPARL organises conferences and activities and full information on those can be found on the IFLAPARL site.