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Magazines > Information Today > January 2003
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Information Today
Vol. 20 No. 1 — January 2003
On the Road
A monthly look at upcoming ITI conferences
By Nancy Garman

Welcome 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 limited. 

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 fee-based services. 

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 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 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. 


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