Magazine article Information Today

Pacific Rim: Connecting with Users

Magazine article Information Today

Pacific Rim: Connecting with Users

Article excerpt

Melbourne, Australia, was the hub of the Australasian Information Technology and Information Industry from Feb. 8 to 10 as the VALA2006 13th Biennial Conference and Exhibition offered prime exposure to the hottest technological developments around the globe. The conference's theme was Connecting with Users, and a record number of 780 attendees turned out for the seven plenary sessions and 41 concurrent sessions, all of which were geared to the players and their audiences in the Southern Hemisphere. Among the hot topics were new products, user feedback, and open access models.

Publisher Activities

Established information industry players showed their wares at the exhibition, while others presented high lights of new developments in the conference sessions.

Ovid, for example, showed its innovations with a new full-text work flow integration tool called QUOSA. This full-article retrieval management package incorporates data mining software. Belinda Sharp, Ovid's Australia and New Zealand sales manager, noted, "QUOSA is to PDFs what ENDOTE is to citations."

Likewise at Thomson Scientific, Reynold Guida, director of product development, described some of the company's updated technology initiatives. Guida explained that Thomson has been listening to its customers via global user-group surveys and described his work with the Australian and New Zealand national library consortia, CAUL and CONZUL, respectively. Thomson responded to this global feedback by improving the interface and rolling out a better Author Finding Aid earlier in 2006, which will be followed by Broader Searches for Novices later in 2Q 2006.

With 82-year-old Kenneth Thomson rated No. 9 on the Forbes' List of the World's Top 100 Billionaires (with $19.6 billion), publishing is clearly a lucrative business for those on the cutting edge.

Open Access Publishing in Australia

The perennial debate about the value of open access (OA) publishing was revisited by Paul Mercieca, a lecturer on information management and digital publishing at Melbourne's RMIT University. In his presentation, Mercieca reviewed an interim report from an Australian Research Council-funded project on the changing patterns in digital scholarly publishing titled Competition and Collaboration in the Market for Digital Publishing. …

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