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Magazines > Information Today > October 2004
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Information Today

Vol. 21 No. 9 — October 2004

On the Road
November in Monterey
By Nancy Garman

If you are a librarian and use the Internet, then Internet Librarian is your conference. Held in Monterey Nov. 15—17, it's slightly later this year, so you have until late October to register at the low "early bird" price. After digesting the program that Jane Dysart and her planning committee have put together for this conference, you won't need to have Thanksgiving dinner—and perhaps it's a good thing that words and ideas don't have any calories!

Librarians and the Internet

Think about it. It's difficult to imagine a librarian whose job description and daily routine have not been changed by the Internet and related technologies. Whether it's e-mail, virtual reference or Web searching, or managing an intranet or designing a Web site, Internet technologies are primary tools for information managers and librarians. The conference tracks at Internet Librarian 2004 span the full scale of a librarian's responsibilities, from core Web search topics like Information Discovery & Search and Search Engines to Web Design & Development, Web Systems & Operations, and E-Resources & Digital Libraries.

Our constant challenge (and a primary reason to attend a conference like Internet Librarian) is to stretch our minds and envision how to use new technologies to improve our job performance. We need to constantly think about how to offer better services and products to our clients, how to enhance the performance of our organizations, and, ultimately, how to contribute to the bottom line, whether in terms of profits or patron satisfaction.

It's exciting to be at the leading edge, discovering real uses for blogs, wikis, and collaborative technologies and tools as well as designing digital libraries, implementing e-learning, identifying new trends and technologies, and putting them to work in the context of our library communities. Attend Internet Librarian and you'll leave invigorated and ready to head back to your library or information center with a new zest for exploring how to use Internet technologies to do your job better.

Start with a Workshop—or Two

Book a cheaper plane fare by flying into Monterey on Saturday, and then justify the extra day by attending one or more of the half-day workshops offered on Saturday afternoon and Sunday, Nov. 13 and 14. You could even spend a full day immersed in Searchers Academy, Web Managers Academy, or Weblogs/RSS 101 and 102. Or put together your own half-day combinations and attend workshops such as Finding Business Information Online, Current Awareness Delivery Options, Power Browser Tips and Tools, or CMS Basics.

Spending 3 hours or more exploring a topic with an expert adds depth to your conference experience and gives you the opportunity to learn enough to really use a new technology. Handouts, small groups, informal settings, and lots of Q&A with the instructors and other attendees all add to the value you will get from a pre-conference workshop.

Highlights and Hot Spots

Speaking of hot spots, you're likely to find some Wi-Fi hotspots in the conference rooms at Internet Librarian. At last year's conference I sat behind Jenny Levine (The Shifted Librarian; http://www.theshiftedlibrarian.com) and watched her blog a session about blogging. Levine and others are sure to be blogging again, so if you can't be there, check out blogs like hers or Steven Cohen's (LibraryStuff; http://www.librarystuff.net) to find out what you're missing.

Blogs are one of the Internet Librarian conference highlights, with an all-day track on blogging scheduled for Tuesday. Levine and Greg Schwartz will tell you how to make the most of the blogosphere, followed by speakers discussing blogs in both corporate and academic settings. Then find out how to get the rest of your team started on blogs and, of course, how to use RSS to deliver content to your users.

Sessions about search and search engines are always jampacked at Internet Librarian, and once again you can hear super searchers like Mary Ellen Bates, Greg Notess, Gary Price, Ran Hock, and others in these popular sessions. (For the total immersion treatment, check out the all-day Searcher Academy on Sunday's workshop schedule.) Search has also gone corporate in a big way, and Steve Arnold talks about enterprise search and the role of the information professional in selecting, organizing, and managing an internal search functionality.

Internet librarians will have a chance to participate in the great open access debate by attending the special Open Access Forum on Wednesday morning. The Open Access Forum actually begins in London in October at Internet Librarian International. You are invited to view streaming video of the London forum on the Information Today, Inc. (ITI) Web site and then attend the debate in person in Monterey. Dick Kaser, ITI's vice president of content, will interview Stevan Harnad, the well-known and opinionated OA advocate, followed by a discussion featuring experts in digital collection management and search as they debate how to make materials in institutional repositories and library catalogs openly available on the Web.

Keynote speakers, always a hit at IL, include the annual search engine update from Search Engine Watch, key Internet trends from research by Pew Internet & American Life Project, and some tips from Patricia Martin on making deals to enhance our abilities to collaborate and partner for success in the information world. In fact, there is a whole track of sessions dedicated to partnerships and collaborations sponsored by the Medical Library Association. Check it out along with the sessions focused on collaboration tools and techniques for community building and improving group communication.

The evening session at Internet Librarian is always about something that doesn't quite fit the traditional conference format. The panel that well-known searchers' advocate Barbara Quint has organized this year, Dancing with the Devil, definitely breaks the mold. Traditional library vendors are nervously exploring opening their content up to Yahoo!, Google, and other Web-based search engines. A panel of wise and witty representatives from all sides of the debate will help Internet librarians decide "who's the real devil here," and whether we're likely to find nirvana on our search screens in the near future.

Mark Your Spring Calendar

Information Today, Inc. has announced the following dates for its spring 2005 conferences:

• Computers in Libraries celebrates its 20th anniversary March 16­18 in Washington, D.C.

• WebSearch University will be back in New York May 17­18.

• Last year's highly successful Enterprise Search Summit is scheduled for May 17­18, also in New York.

• StreamingMedia East (May 16­18) is the third of the ITI events that will be held in New York.

• Buying & Selling eContent will be held April 10­12 in Scottsdale at the Camelback Inn Resort.

Go to the ITI Web site at http://www.infotoday.com and click on the conference sites for these and other ITI events. A call for speakers has been posted for Enterprise Search Summit, and early announcements, sponsor information, and inquiry forms are available for other conferences.

Watch this space for more exciting announcements coming soon! In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you at Internet Librarian—and hearing your ideas, comments, and suggestions for future conference programs.


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