From Book Fairs to Global Cybersecurity

By Ashling, Jim | Information Today, July-August 2006 | Go to article overview

From Book Fairs to Global Cybersecurity


Ashling, Jim, Information Today


In the world of information technology, nothing stays the same for long. Change is never far, especially when it comes to a little old-fashioned competition.

Reed Exhibitions may have won a bizarre battle with the organizers of Frankfurt Book Fair to host London's only book fair next spring. Reed had originally planned to keep the London Book Fair at ExCeL, the docklands exhibition center, for a second year from March 4 to 6, 2007. However, since U.K. publishers expressed widespread disfavor of ExCeL, the German Boersenverein (a unit of the German booksellers and publishers federation) jumped at the chance to create a new--and competing--show in the West End of London at Earls Court during the third week of April 2007.

Jurgen Boos, CEO of the Frankfurt Book Fair, announced plans for the Book Fair at Earls Court on May 5 after receiving requests for a central London location from disgruntled publishers. Hachette Livre U.K., Faber & Faber, The Penguin Group, Random House, and the Association of Authors'Agents reportedly welcomed the idea.

Within a week, Alistair Burtenshaw, Reed's exhibit group director, announced that the London Book Fair had signed a long-term agreement with EC&O Venues of Earls Court to hold the one and only spring book fair at Earls Court from Apri1 16 to 18, 2007. "The move to ExCeL was a major industry decision that has clearly not met our customers' needs, and we encountered many operational difficulties for which we have unreservedly apologized," said Burtenshaw. "The important issue now is to get all aspects of The London Book Fair right in 2007 in a West End location that the publishing industry tells us is very important to [its] business." Acknowledging that the move to ExCeL was out of step with industry needs, Burtenshaw also announced the creation of an independent advisory board composed of senior publishing figures who will be consulted on future developments.

Boos, in turn, stated that he was seeking legal advice because he believed EC&O had broken an agreement with Frankfurt Book Fair. Since his plan to move the London event from Reed failed, Boos turned his attention to Frankfurt and the new fair in Cape Tewn in June.

So what is it about ExCeL that U.K. publishers didn't like? Complaints ranged from the venue's great distance from their favorite West End restaurants and bars to the low air conditioning setting to the long lines for coffee. In addition, some also complained that the color scheme lacked taste. One advantage of moving the fair to Earls Court is that all the attendees won't have to cram into two small elevators just to get from the meeting rooms to the exhibit hall.

Cybersecurity Highlights World Telecommunications Day

World Telecommunications Day (WTD) commemorates the founding of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) on May 17, 1865. From 2006 on, May 17 will be World Information Society Day, as U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan noted in his Message for World Information Society Day on May 17, 2006.

This year's theme was "promoting global cybersecurity." Annan urged member states "to help increase global awareness of cybersecurity, and to develop an international network of initiatives and ICT-based [Information and Communications Technology] countermeasures to enhance security and build trust in the use of information and communication technologies. This is essential for the continued growth and development of our economies, and especially important for developing countries."

As part of its observance, ITU issued the results of a global opinion survey of users' trust of online transactions and launched the Cybersecurity Gateway portal as an online reference source for cybersecurity information.

Despite the burgeoning growth in online transactions, only half of the users consider the Internet to be a safe communication channel. Among the biggest fears noted in the survey were theft of personal information (28 percent), viruses and worms (25 percent), spyware (19 percent), and scams and fraud (13 percent). …

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