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Information Today

Vol. 21 No. 8 — September 2004

On the Road: The Fall and Beyond
By Nancy Garman

Is your mailbox overflowing with conference programs and reminders? I'm not surprised, since Information Today, Inc. has five conferences on its fall conference schedule. Check the calendar on this page for details about what's coming when and where, and make plans now to register for the conference that best meets your needs.

WebSearch University is back in Washington, D.C., for a return engagement in late September, followed by Internet Librarian International in mid-October in London. KMWorld & Intranets 2004 co-locates with Streaming Media West for a mega-event in Santa Clara, Calif., from Oct. 26 to 28, followed by Internet Librarian in Monterey, Calif., from Nov. 15 to 17.

What's the Big Idea?

In a keynote speech at Buying & Selling eContent 2003, Larry Prusak, widely considered the father of knowledge management, suggested that KM has become so integrated into the fabric of how many companies do business that it risks fading into oblivion as a stand-alone discipline or specialty. His remarks, drawn from his recent book, What's the Big Idea?, were in the context of how to know when and how to adopt a new idea aggressively and how to harness the power of new ideas.

Knowledge management is a concept that has morphed and grown as organizations recognize that knowledge is one of their greatest assets and that managing it effectively is crucial to their success. Adopting the idea of KM also can be a good career move for savvy info pros seeking to propel their careers in new directions.

At KMWorld & Intranets 2004, the combination of workshops, informative conference sessions given by KM practitioners and consultants, special events, vendor panels, briefings, and customer case studies makes the conference a powerful learning tool for knowledge managers and information professionals.

Customize Your Curriculum

The Platinum Pass for KMWorld & Intranets is a best buy. Going platinum lets you move freely among three tracks of the KMWorld conference, a special Content Management track, and two Intranets tracks. Platinum perks also include the chance to create your own conference focus by attending two half-day, pre-conference workshops for a 4-day, total-immersion experience.

Hearing Dave Snowden and Steve Denning conduct their full-day master class in organizational storytelling is worth the price of the conference alone. Or, choose from half-day workshops such as Boosting Knowledge Worker Productivity, Problem Solving (who doesn't have problems?), Intranet Standards & Best Practice, Blogging for Knowledge Exchange, High-Performance KM for Advanced Practitioners, Web Content Management, Taxonomy Development & Usage, or others. Lunch is served to workshop attendees, which provides a great chance to follow up on questions and find out more about who's doing what.

Social Networking Live!

Kick off your conference activities on Monday night after the workshops by attending one of two special events, or you can room-hop to both of them after dropping by the cash bar.

The Web Slam: Show Me Yours—And I'll Show You Mine! is a lively session giving you the chance to see behind the firewall and learn about what's happening inside other people's intranets. This evening session was standing room only last year and originated at one of the first Intranets conferences from a message board posting by someone who wanted to trade ideas. Elton Billings from Remedy Corp. moderates the praise, awe, and benchmarking commentary. He's looking for volunteers who want to share their intranets. E-mail him at to get involved.

KM Stories @ the Pub brings together experts and novices, conference attendees, and speakers for a session of Jumpstart Storytelling exercises that promise to be fun and instructive. Seth Kahan has done Jumpstart Storytelling in organizations around the world, and you'll take away a template to put this idea to work in your own organization.

Continue your social networking at KMWorld & Intranets on Wednesday evening at the Communities of Interest discussion groups. Grab a drink or a soda at a cash bar, and join a stimulating discussion on one of the topics that surfaced during the first 2 days of the conference. It's often the people you meet and the casual exchanges with speakers that turn a good conference into a great learning experience.

Snowden, Morville, and More

Dave Snowden, director of the Cynefin Center for Complexity, launches the formal program for the KMWorld conference, while Peter Morville, the well-known guru of information architecture, keynotes the Intranets conference and special Content Management track. In keeping with Prusak's assertion that KM is becoming mainstream, Snowden sees KM as leading a new organic approach to organizational design, with the potential to become a key part of a company's strategic agenda. Morville emphasizes the need to deliver an effective user experience, which must be achieved by striking the right balance between content management and information architecture.

Snowden and Morville are well-known names in the industry, guaranteed to offer knowledgeable information and food for thought in pleasing and cogent presentations—a good way to begin a conference. When it comes to keynotes, there's a downside to buying a Platinum Pass since you'll have to make a decision about where you'll be at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. But hey, what a choice to have!

The Wednesday and Thursday keynotes are staggered, so Gold and Platinum Pass holders can catch those they want to hear. Eric Shaffer on Ubiquitous Usability and the Leaders in KM CEO round table led by John Strackhouse headline Wednesday's activities. Carla O'Dell, APQC's CEO, leads off Thursday's KM conference, while French Caldwell, vice president of research at Gartner, wraps up KMWorld & Intranets 2004 in a closing plenary session with his timely keynote on social knowledge management.

Sessions of Special Interest

The 3 days and six tracks at KMWorld & Intranets are filled with good sessions and top-notch speakers. Your primary challenge will be deciding which sessions to attend and which you'll have to miss. Read on for some highlights of special interest.

A mini-Gartner symposium is offered in Track C of the Thursday KMWorld conference, in which Gartner Group analysts (Mike Anderson, Betsey Burton, and Simon Haywood) will present three sessions on aligning KM to businesses. If you've always wanted access to Gartner thinking and analysis, this 1-day symposium offers a unique opportunity. Closing keynote speaker French Caldwell, also from Gartner, is a perfect wrap-up for this special track.

Search remains hot, hot, hot, and several Intranets sessions build on the interest and success of ITI's Enterprise Search Summit last May. On Wednesday, in Track F, the topic for the day is Information Discovery & Search. You'll also find a number of search-related topics in Tuesday's Track F on Information Architecture. Look for search to pop up in other Intranets sessions and in the Content Management track. Also check out a session on unstructured data, which will showcase various vendor solutions to this thorny search and content management problem.

On Tuesday, the Collaboration Tools track (Track B) in KMWorld promises to be popular, given the current interest in applying social networking and collaboration tools to business needs. Sessions on Weblogs, wikis, virtual working, and collaborating with teams headline this track. The practice of KM is all about collaboration, so watch for the many sessions on teamwork and best practices in the KMWorld tracks and sessions.

Looking Ahead

While you are deciding which fall conference to attend, conference organizers at ITI are busy working on plans for our spring events. Jane Dysart is planning a super 20th anniversary program for Computers in Libraries (March 16­18). If you hurry, you still might be able to submit a proposal at the Web site, although the official deadline is past.

Plans are also underway for return engagements in New York in May for WebSearch University, Enterprise Search Summit, and Streaming Media East. Buying & Selling eContent in Scottsdale, Ariz., the place to see and be seen among industry executives, is also on tap for early April.

Watch this space for more exciting announcements coming soon. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you at a conference this fall—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
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