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Information Today

Vol. 21 No. 2 — February 2004

On the Road
A monthly look at upcoming ITI conferences
By Nancy Garman

Lights, camera, action. It's showtime! Well, not quite yet, but plans are already in the works for the launch of a brand-new information industry conference and trade show in May 2005. The new event will replace the venerable InfoToday/National Online Meeting that has meant "May in New York" to the U.S. online industry and a broad-based library audience for the past 25 years.

The December 2003 announcement by Information Today, Inc. was interpreted by some industry observers as bringing down the curtain on a fading show. The reality is that May 2005 has the potential to be just as exciting as May 1980, when the first National Online Meeting took place. Inside ITI, we see a unique chance to reinvent this show and structure a pace-setting event that will be relevant for 21st-century information professionals and knowledge workers in libraries and elsewhere.

After 25 years, now is a good time to take a fresh look at the information industry and evaluate its changes—past, present, and future. This spring, ITI will be doing just that as we consider what the new trade show and conference should look like and who its constituency will be.

Libraries and librarians have changed since 1980. Our missions have evolved, our tools and resources have undergone sweeping changes, and the advent of the Internet has caused a dramatic transformation across the entire information industry. A conference for the "new online" industry must reflect these fundamental changes and lead the way into the future—both in format and substance. It must meet the needs of the info pro and library community and at the same time embrace knowledge consumers in other professional and commercial environments.

You can help shape this new event. E-mail me at ngarman@infotoday.com to share your suggestions and ideas. Let me know especially if you'd like to participate in one of the small-group brainstorming sessions we'll hold this spring. Some will be virtual meetings; others will be held at locations around the country. We're eager to hear from librarians, info pros, and the vendor community about how to make this an important and successful landmark event.

Enterprise Search Summit

In the meantime, you can learn how to implement search behind your firewall at Enterprise Search Summit, which will be held May 11­12, 2004, at the New York Hilton. The solution may be as straightforward as buying the Google Search Appliance and plugging in the hardware or as complex as developing a carefully structured taxonomy, applying metadata to all your content, and deploying an industrial-strength search engine that can search all types of structured and unstructured data in hundreds of thousands of files. The importance of search is often overlooked in the rush to implement a content management system—until someone realizes that findability is the key to unlocking all that elegantly organized content.

Enterprise Search Summit is a new 2-day conference that's focused on the nuts and bolts of how to plan for, choose, and deploy an internal search capability. Its tightly structured curriculum offers a concentrated learning opportunity in which information managers and IT professionals can understand the strategies and get the know-how to make internal content not only searchable but findable.

Expert instructors and industry analysts will cover the building blocks of search, including metadata, taxonomies, and classification; the complexities of searching both structured and unstructured content; and how to determine which features are essential and which search solutions are best-suited to different kinds of situations. In addition, enterprise information managers will present case studies to illustrate successful examples of enterprise search applications.

Modeled on the same instructional and tutorial format as the popular WebSearch University, Enterprise Search Summit will offer a similar total-immersion experience. Many conferences have sessions or even tracks on enterprise search, but Enterprise Search Summit is where professionals who need to know how to choose and implement internal search solutions can "go to school." They'll take away fundamental and advanced knowledge, skills, and strategies to apply in their own organizations.

Call for Speakers

The call for speakers for KMWorld and Intranets 2004 is posted at the conference Web site
(http://www.kmworld-intranets.com). Think about what you've been working on this year and consider proposing a case study or presentation on KM strategies, business processes, intranets and portals, content management, or collaboration and learning within organizations. This year's conference theme emphasizes that knowledge management is about applying strategies and tools for performance improvement and bottom-line results.

Spring Conference Calendar

Now is the time to check your schedule and decide which conferences you'll attend this spring. Review the calendar on the left for dates. Here's a quick list to help you decide:

Computers in Libraries: Feb. 12 is the early-bird price break and group registration deadline.

Internet@Schools East: This meeting, which is running in conjunction with Computers in Libraries, features a newly revamped, practical, how-to agenda.

Buying & Selling eContent: Closing keynote speaker Allen Weiner, a research analyst from Gartner G2 who will be talking about "perfectly portable content," is the latest addition to this conference's agenda.

WebSearch University: This event, which will be held in New York for the first time, will showcase new faculty members Tara Calishain and Genie Tyburski as well as perennial favorites Greg Notess, Mary Ellen Bates, Gary Price,
Ran Hock, and Marydee Ojala.

Streaming Media East: With 2 days of sessions plus a full exhibit hall, this conference has a buzz that's reminiscent of the early days of the online industry. It's worth looking into if you're working with digital audio or video content.

Enterprise Search Summit: Search is hot and is a crucial piece of the puzzle for how to manage enterprise content, which is often part of the expanding mission for info pros.

The wide range of conferences produced by ITI means there's something for everyone, so pick the event that best meets your needs and register now. I also look forward to hearing your ideas for remaking InfoToday/National Online Meeting into a vibrant new event for May 2005.

 


Nancy Garman is Information Today, Inc.'s director of conference program planning. Her e-mail address is ngarman@infotoday.com.
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