The information profession - fragmented or diverse?

The defragmentation debate began when Mark Field first expressed his heartfelt concern about the state of ‘the information professions'.The key question he posed was this - why, despite the fact that we are living in the ‘information/ knowledge/ internet age', do the information professions continue to lack influence within government and business?  And, by extension, what can we do about it?  His initial posting created quite a stir.This debate about the information professions, and the role of the professional bodies that support them, continued this week at the first 'open' (and oversubscribed) defragmentation meeting, held at the headquarters of the British Computer Society in London.  At round tables a series of key questions were discussed, including some fundamentals  - what exactly are the information professions and what is their value to society?  Has our profession fragmented because it lost sight of its true 'core competences' or is it simply a broad and diverse church?During a plenary session, attempts were made to identify some practical next steps (and willing volunteers!).   These actions focus on improving advocacy and demonstrating value.Several professional bodies and networking groups have been involved in the debate, including Cilip, NetIKX and the BCS.  Is there are need for a new, umbrella organisation that can work to improve the fortunes of the profession for the benefit of society or can a 'sexy commune' of the bodies be created through better collaboration?James Mullan and Nicola Franklin have blogged about the event and the 'defrag wiki' has more information on the debate and possible ways forward.