It's the perfect acronym: LIKE is London Information and Knowledge Exchange. It's also a very likeable little set-up. Started 3 years ago by Jennifer Smith, Virginia Henry and Marja Kingman , this for me has become about the only professional discussion and networking group that I go to with any regularity. Maybe that just proves how unsociable I am, but I think there's more to it than that. Somehow or other, the founders have developed a format that works really well. There's a speaker, questions, food, and mingling. Doesn't sound particularly revolutionary, and it doesn't have to be. The balance between professional and social, seriousness and fun, is somehow just right.
Last night the speaker was Martin de Saulles of the University of Brighton, who gave us some interesting perspectives on what the future might hold for information production, distribution and consumption. Some of his predictions (after saying that only a fool would write down predictions, he made some, perhaps forgetting temporarily that 50% of his audience would tweet or blog them later) related to fairly old themes, such as the replacement of all things paper with a digital alternative. However, Martin made a compelling case for believing that change is now taking place faster than many realise. I, for one, would not bet against his prediction that in five years time his university library will no longer be buying printed books.
Martin is a very fluent and engaging speaker. I can imagine his students would stay awake during his lectures, even after a not-atypical student lunch of a couple of pints of Sussex bitter. My only slight disappointment - and this is no criticism of Martin but more a reflection of my own interests - was that he didn't spend much time addressing the Web 2.0 communication / social networking revolution more generally, and where that might lead us in 5 years time.
If you're into KM, information management or librarianship, and can get to Clerkenwell (which is a nice spot), I recommend giving LIKE a go.