On the Road
A monthly look at upcoming ITI conferences
By Nancy Garman
to the first On the Road column in the newly redesigned Information
Today. The conventional wisdom is that spending several days at a conference
totally immersed in a topic, meeting new colleagues and old friends, and learning
what's happening in the world outside your office is guaranteed to stimulate
your thinking and give you a new perspective on your work. The reality is that
you are facing budget cuts and increased demands on your time and resources,
and your conference and travel funds are very
Information Today, Inc. (ITI) produces seven major conferences, plus WebSearch
University. Many information professionals lament the proliferation of conferences
competing for their attention. However, every conference has a unique focus,
flavor, and features, as well as different programs, speakers, and sessions—not
to mention various dates and locations. Our job as a conference producer is
to ensure that each event is focused to meet the needs of its defined audience—and
that each delivers the best possible program and speakers.
This inside look at upcoming ITI conferences will help you make critical decisions
about which events are the best match for your interests and your conference
budget. You will get advance notice about what's happening with our conferences
long before the formal preliminary programs hit your desk, and special insights
into the planning as it happens behind the scenes.
WebSearch University Revamps Curriculum
On Feb. 34, WebSearch University (WSU) kicks off its 2003 schedule outside
the Disney World gates at Orlando, Fla.'s Disney Hilton. New courses and a
schedule of electives respond to a frequent protest of past attendees: having
to choose between sessions in two tracks on the second day of the conference.
In 2003, folks can attend up to seven of 11 electives, and the most popular
ones occur twice.
The WSU Electives include Search Engine Overlap & Comparisons, Market
Research Toolkit, Competitive Intelligence Strategies Using the Web, Stupid
Searching Mistakes, Price's Pearls, News, Alerts & Current Awareness, Evaluating
Web Content, Internet Groups & Other Forums, Delivering Search Results,
Browser Tips & Tricks, and Meta Searching. The Core Curriculum covers power
Web searching, the invisible Web, and the decision points between free and
The level of instruction at WSU is intermediate to advanced, and the questions
asked this fall in Washington, D.C. Chicago, and Dallas show an increasing
degree of expertise among the attendees. Few searchers are novices, and those
choosing to immerse themselves in 2 days of WebSearch University are serious
searchers. We have responded to this challenge by bringing in the "best of
the best" as faculty and asking them to concentrate on advanced search strategies
and techniques, touching only lightly on the basics.
The WSU faculty continues to include the super searchers and Web gurus that
have made the conference popular. Mary Ellen Bates, Ran Hock, Greg Notess,
Chris Sherman, Marydee Ojala, and Gary Price will all be back in 2003, along
with Donna Fryer and Bob Berkman, who have taught at some of the past events.
Unlike at some of the huge, multitrack conferences, the speakers at WebSearch
University are available, visible, and very approachable on and off the podium,
and during the breaks and reception. The shared interests and sharp focus of
the audience and speakers combine to create an unusually intimate opportunity
to exchange ideas and learn from each other.
WebSearch University is also scheduled for April 78 in San Francisco.
Fall dates will be announced soon.
Computers in Libraries Announces Keynote Speakers
Michael Schuyler, a longtime favorite columnist in Computers in Libraries magazine,
is the featured keynote speaker at Computers in Libraries 2003, which will
be held March 1214 in Washington, D.C. Speaking on "Library as Implant;
Librarian as Cyborg," Schuyler's keynote suggests a poignant but funny future
in which we'll all have library chips implanted in our heads.
Schuyler is a welcome new face on the Computers in Libraries agenda. Fans
can also hear him in a more casual format in the popular "dead technology" evening
session, where he will be joined by Andrew Pace, another Computers in Libraries columnist,
and Steve Abram, Darlene Fichter, and moderator, provocateur, and columnist
D. Scott Brandt.
Standards, especially changing standards, haunt us all. Roy Tennant's keynote
speech on the second day of the conference will discuss the twin issues of
interoperability and standards, and which standards are needed for libraries
and librarians to grow and prosper. Based on his work at the California Digital
Library, Tennant is well-placed to consider this topic. His reputation assures
that his comments will be on point.
Jayne Hitchcock, the third keynote speaker, fascinated the Internet Librarian
audience this past November with her story of computerized stalking and cybercrimes.
Her book, Net Crimes & Misdemeanors, was published by ITI's CyberAge
Books in 2002. Hitchcock's lessons are primarily personal, but the issues are
important ones for libraries and librarians as well.
Computers in Libraries 2003 offers something for everyone. So how do you decide
if it's right for you? Consider that a broadly based conference with four tracks
over 3 days exposes you to at least a dozen new ideas—or gives you a chance
to concentrate on a single topic by zeroing in on one track and spending an
entire day on something like Security or E-Learning. The choice is yours—your
options are open.
The Computers in Libraries 2003 preliminary program should be on your desktop,
or you can find it on the Web at http://www.infotoday.com/cil2003.
Watch for more insights and tips next month in this column about some of the
tracks and speakers.
Birmingham, U.K. Hosts Internet Librarian International
Dreaming of a trip abroad? Want to expand your horizons? Or see springtime
in the English countryside? If you're looking for an international library
conference that focuses on global library issues, projects, and people, then
look closely at the program that is planned for Internet Librarian International.
The keynote speaker, John M. Lervik, is CEO and co-founder of Oslo, Norway-based
Fast Search & Transfer, also known as the home of popular search engine
AllTheWeb.com. Richard Boulderstone, director of eStrategy at The British Library,
and Martin Dodge, who will talk about the mapping of cyberspace, round out
the roster of keynote speakers.
Librarians with global interests or responsibilities should consider making
the trip to Birmingham, U.K., to attend Internet Librarian International 2003
on March 2527. The program and speaker roster confirm that topics such
as Web searching, digital libraries, distance learning, and information literacy
are as popular abroad as they are in the U.S., albeit each with an international
or country-specific twist. If you go, you'll find Internet Librarian International
worthwhile for the insights gleaned from the global mix of speakers and attendees.
Garman is Information Today, Inc.'s director of conference
program planning. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.