Losing the professionalism

So, recently, CILIP apparently sent out an email regarding a consultation on a change of brand image, and name. I say apparently, as despite being a member, I never got this email. When I went to the website to log in and check why it wasn’t sent to me, it didn’t let me log in. I tried a password reset, and that email came through, so it *can* send emails to me…but the password it sent won’t let me log in. I’m losing the will to keep trying. Overall, this is kind of symptomatic of how I feel about CILIP, and how useless its IT systems are….

Anyway, the consultation is on changing CILIP’s currently, clunky and meaningless name (picked as the best of a previous bad lot, as David McMenemy showed with this link to the 2000 consultation results ) to something more meaningful and relevant is open. If you want to take part, it’s here. I was a good girl, and pootled over yesterday to take part, and after filling in all the bumph, I got to view the glorious options.


This is what they’ve given us as options:

Information UK
Information Professionals UK
Info Pro UK
The Information Association
The Knowledge People
Information Matters UK

Really? REALLY?!?! Did CILIP actually pay someone for this nonsense? It looks like they had a hard day in the office, it was late on a Friday afternoon, they managed to force out one or two vaguely OK ideas, and then threw in a few others just to bulk up the list. As someone online has already pointed out, at least one of the names is already (or was) a registered company, so probably couldn’t even be used. Info Pro UK looks like someone couldn’t even be bothered to write out words in full. The Knowledge People sounds like a spin-off from The Tomorrow People TV series. Information Matters is a statement, not an organisation name. And why the obsession with using UK in the name? Are people likely to get confused with The Knowledge People USA or Info Pro USA when they make comments on UK library matters??

And all of these options completely disregard one important aspect of the name: CILIP is a body which awards and regulates the professional qualification of a Charter. A Chartership is recognised through many professions as the mark of an advanced and skilled professional in that field. Would any other Chartership awarding body ever consider dropping that aspect from its title? Could we have The Institute of Architects of Scotland, rather than ICAS? Or The Royal Institute of Surveyors rather than RICS? It’s unlikely. Yet our own professional body is considering dropping the most visible element of its name that identifies its members as professionals. It seems like a huge step backwards to me, and so, I spent a whole 3.5 minutes thinking of other names, which include the word Chartered in them:

Chartered Information Professionals Association (CIPA)
Chartered Information Management Association (CIMA)
Institute of Chartered Information Managers (ICIM)
Chartered Information and Knowledge Management Association (CIKMA)

Look, it’s not hard, is it? If you’re a professional body, and have powers that the general public know relate to professionalism, you should really try and retain that signifier somewhere visible. Like…within your name?

Author: Jennie

Law, libraries, books, crafts, and general geekery.

5 thoughts on “Losing the professionalism”

  1. I guess that the;

    Patent Attorneys,
    Management Accountants,
    Integrative Medics, and
    Turkish people who are 'going out'

    might have something to say about those names, but the point which you make is valid. How much time/money has been frittered away on this re-branding? (de-branding??)


  2. Great post, you make some very pertinent points. I find it incredibly frustrating that they are wasting time and (presumably) money on this, while there are other issues which they should be addressing.


  3. I completely agree with most of this, but doesn't the “Chartered” refer to the Institute's royal charter, rather than the status of individual members? In ICAS and RICS, the word Chartered qualfies the Accountants and the Surveyors, not the Institute as it does in CILIP's name. The Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters is similar to CILIP in having a royal charter (1961) but they don't have any form of chartered membership (that I can see).

    I personally think both chartered membership and the elusive professional status (whatever that means) are red herrings that CILIP would be better off moving on from.

    I think Information is a very vague term (not as bad as Knowledge) although hard to avoid. That said, your suggestions are head and shoulders above the shockingly unbelievable ones CILIP paid lots of money for!


  4. I didn't do any research into what other groups use those names, whether they're available, because that's what a marketing company is paid to do, I was just illustrating that even in comparison to the results of a few moments of thought from me, the proposed names are ridiculous. And yes, the “Chartered” has to go in the right place, but again, just playing about with ideas in my lunch break. It just seems, in general, to be a pointless and distracting exercise: is this really the thing CILIP want to focus on right now?


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