The UIC Information Management Professionals Group, formerly the Documentation Group, held its annual meeting on 10 and 11 February 2014 at UIC Headquarters in Paris. The group decided to change its name in May 2012 in order to better reflect the diversity and changing nature of the professions within the group.
This meeting provided an opportunity to discuss information management departments’ practices in the area of Internet communication and social media, and to obtain feedback from those who had already implemented similar projects.
The spectacular growth of the web over the last 15 years has revolutionised our relationship with information. It has disrupted user behaviour and the practices of those working in the area of information management.
Although first-generation web applications enabled information to be standardised, expanded and access to be widened, Internet users remained passive with limited interaction with Internet content. In contrast, the salient feature of Web 2.0 is its interactive nature: Internet users are no longer passive users, but have become contributors and even creators of online content. These technologies offer information professionals considerable resources to extend their activities and raise their profile.
Inta Berke, head of the documentation centre at Latvian Railways (LDZ), illustrated the ways in which information was shared and disseminated in her company. This feedback was followed by a presentation by Virginie Roustant, Communications Manager for SNCF Innovation and Research on Share-I, the social network used by SNCF’s Innovation and Research Division. Jean-François Miaux, Project Manager, then illustrated how SNCF’s documentation centre had used this social network to promote its new documentation policy and give value to its product and service offerings, which were thoroughly revamped two years ago.
Isabelle Fonverne, Project Officer for Safety and Interoperability at UIC, also spoke about UIC’s practices with regard to the use of social media. As part of the international campaign to raise awareness on level crossing safety (ILCAD), she uses both Facebook and Twitter to send campaign-related messages and contact safety practitioners outside the railway sector.
Finally, François Maugère, Innovation Advisor at UIC, presented Spark, the knowledge-sharing platform that provides access to technical information in the area of research and innovation. Spark is an initiative of the International Railway Research Board and is being developed in partnership by RSSB and UIC.
There was also a technical visit to the new SNCF premises at Saint-Denis to learn about the new documentation policy implemented by Nathalie Douville, head of the “Unité Veille Info Doc Knowledge” (VIDOK – knowledge monitoring unit) and her team.