When I took over from Paul Harwood as Chair of UKSG in April 2009, he warned me how quickly the three-year term as Chair would pass, and indeed it has proved to be so – time proverbially flies when you're enjoying yourself, and that has certainly been my experience. It has all been great fun, aided and abetted by enthusiastic officers (Graham and Ed), subcommittee chairs, (Charlie, Kate, Bev, Richard, Helen and Hazel), committee and subcommittee members, and of course the UKSG staff (Alison, Karen and Ally).
The development of a coherent and worked-out strategy, aims and objectives for UKSG was a major theme of the first couple of years of my term of office. This is not to say of course that UKSG was without direction in earlier years, but it does concentrate the mind to think carefully about the strategic direction that UKSG should be pursuing over the medium-term future. We were able to reaffirm our commitment to all the different stakeholder groups, enabling UKSG to perform its unique and highly-valued function bringing together those operating from different perspectives, and providing a neutral forum for fruitful networking and negotiating to take place.
Most visibly, this forum is provided by the Annual Conference, which has continued growing through recession, to a record 860 delegates gathering this year in Glasgow's sunshine. One highlight of chairing UKSG is certainly the annual meeting in June/July planning the next year's Conference, and seeing the programme coming together during a long day.
But the Annual Conference is far from UKSG's only activity – we took the opportunity to introduce a complementary autumn conference, and seminars, training and education events through the year also bring us together and provide very practical benefits for UKSG members. UKSG can also take advantage of its non-sectoral position to lead and sponsor standardization initiatives: KBART has established itself during the last three years, and Transfer and the Usage Factor continue to develop in different ways.
UKSG continued its strategic move away from an emphasis on ‘serials’ as such, symbolized by the relaunch of its highly-regarded journal as Insights – no longer Serials. Rebranding at the end of 2011 and the official renaming of the organization (now formally ‘UKSG’ not the ‘UK Serials Association’), were also indications of a wider reach.
I'm sure UKSG will continue to prosper. I pass on all my best wishes to Ross MacIntyre as incoming Chair, and to all those who will be working to ensure UKSG's continuing relevance and dynamism into the future.