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Magazines > Information Today > April 2003
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Information Today
Vol. 20 No. 4 — April 2003
On the Road
A monthly look at upcoming ITI conferences
By Nancy Garman

Planning is already underway for Information Today, Inc.'s (ITI) fall conferences: Internet Librarian and KMWorld & Intranets. Internet Librarian will be held Nov. 3—5 in Monterey, Calif. Please consider joining us as a speaker by submitting a proposal for a presentation ( We're also putting the finishing touches on the KMWorld & Intranets programs this month. In an upcoming column, I'll tell you more about how the program-planning process works. Hint: It's a jigsaw puzzle of gigantic proportions.

Now it's April and springtime in New York. That means it's time to think seriously about registering for InfoToday 2003, which will be held May 6—8. The discount ends April 11.

Why InfoToday? What makes it different from other industry conferences? An important question, especially since InfoToday will be held just a few weeks earlier than SLA's Annual Conference (which is also in New York this year). This column includes my insider's top-10 reasons why InfoToday is worth the money and why it makes sense to attend the event even if you also plan to go to SLA in June.

The New, Improved InfoToday

If you haven't been to InfoToday (the old National Online Meeting) in the last few years, take a close look at the "new and improved" conference as it has evolved under the direction of Dick Kaser, ITI's vice president of content. The National Online Meeting used to be packed with dry papers on narrow topics, and the program often played second fiddle to the wheeling, dealing, and meetings going on in the exhibit hall, coffee shop, and elsewhere. Now, after 2 years of careful development, InfoToday stands on its own as a practical, focused conference for info pros, librarians, and library managers.

The Top-10 Reasons to Attend InfoToday

1. Three conferences in one event—InfoToday comprises three conferences: National Online, KnowledgeNets, and E-Libraries. You'd have to travel to several separate events to get the depth and variety you'll find at InfoToday. Expert searcher and ONLINE editor Marydee Ojala organizes National Online, Jane Dysart heads up KnowledgeNets, and Pamela Cibbarelli and Deb Wiley co-chair E-Libraries. You can attend the conference that meets your needs or create a personalized conference agenda by buying a Gold or Platinum Pass that lets you attend sessions at all three events.

2. Focus, cohesion, organization—The organized and collaborative program-planning effort delivers six conference tracks that offer an integrated learning experience. InfoToday is not a smorgasbord—it provides a carefully thought-out program in which sessions, tracks, and topics complement each other and are designed to build a comprehensive agenda.

3. Digital Libraries—An entire 3-day track of E-Libraries concentrates on everything you need to know about digital libraries, including collections, design, taxonomies, digital rights issues, and management. If you're working on a digital library project or are about to get started on one, don't miss this track.

4. KnowledgeNets—If you can't get to KMWorld in the fall or need to know more about knowledge management strategies, tools, and practices now, the KnowledgeNets conference is right for you. Dysart has scheduled a subset of the excellent speakers who are featured at KMWorld. Get up to speed quickly on KM in two tracks and 3 intense days at KnowledgeNets.

5. World-class search experts—Hear the world's top search experts at National Online and get current with the latest tools and skills you need to maintain your edge as a professional online searcher. Ojala understands what searchers need to know and has rounded up a top-notch group of experienced speakers to cover search tools and resources. National Online offers 3 days of intensive sessions on practical online searching tips and techniques.

6. Pricing and value—The registration fee for InfoToday (or for any one of the three conferences) is more than SLA's, especially if you're an SLA member. However, add in the cost for specially ticketed SLA events and then take a look at InfoToday's Platinum Pass. It includes 2 full days of workshops in addition to a pass that lets you attend any track at any of the three InfoToday conferences. And don't forget the free "Breakfast with the Brass" CEO panel; other free breakfasts, breaks, and receptions; plus the half-day Content Management Symposium. What a deal.

7. Location, location, location—The InfoToday events and exhibit hall are conveniently located at the New York Hilton. You could spend a lot of time, money, and shoe leather traipsing around New York to the three SLA conference venues, or you can find everything you need and want neatly packaged in one place at InfoToday.

8. The Content Management Symposium—Has the job of content manager become one of your changing roles or new assignments? This special half-day forum crosses all three conferences and gives InfoToday attendees a quick, in-depth grounding in content management tools and strategies for libraries and related organizations. You'll return to your library prepared to step up to the plate in this important area.

9. Pre- and post-conference seminars—Choose from 21 pre- and post-conference workshops, including three full-day seminars scheduled for May 5: Searcher Academy; KM Concepts, Methods & Practice; and Library Automation from A to Z. As a bonus, these intensive, small-group tutorials (which are bundled with lunch) provide opportunities to network with colleagues who have similar interests.

10. Practical, take-home, use-now information—InfoToday 2003 is designed for the working librarian or information professional. New trends and technology sessions are good mind-stretchers, and the event's networking, receptions, and tours are lots of fun. But in this budget-driven economy, you need to justify your conference expenditures by picking up practical tips and information. We guarantee that you'll leave InfoToday with ideas you can put to work immediately in your organization.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to attend InfoToday 2003. Track me down at the conference and tell me why you decided to go. Or if you don't attend, send me an e-mail and tell me why. We're always looking for ways to improve our conference programs. Let me know what you think.

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