Magazine article Information Today

Internet Librarian '98

Magazine article Information Today

Internet Librarian '98

Article excerpt

ITI's second West Coast show provided a host of networking information and opportunities

Paula J. Hane is contributing editor of Information Today. Her e-mail address is

Last year I reported enthusiastically about the impressive debut and resounding success of the first Internet Librarian conference, sponsored by Information Today, Inc. (ITI). This year, I am pleased to report that the second conference, held November 1-5, again in picturesque Monterey, California, added more of everything-more participants, more exhibitors, more high-quality content, and best of all, more networking.

The "nothing but Net" gathering focused on information professionals and Internet-related technologies, and proved to be an appealing venue for discussing, learning, exploring issues and challenges, and stretching to new visions for our information futures. The conference attracted over 2,400 participants (including speakers and exhibitors; this is 400 more than last year), of which 1,400 were paid registrants, and provided a sold-out exhibit hall with over 90 companies.

The first 2 days offered preconference workshops--23 of them, on a wide variety of hot topics, covering intranets, Web authoring, searching and resources, knowledge management, training, and content acquisition. There was also a full day devoted to Internet@Schools '98, a new conference within a conference that focused on the impact of the Internet on K-12 librarians, media specialists, and technology coordinators. According to the conference organizer, Jane Dysart, "The school track was very successful its first time out, and we will likely expand it to 2 days next year."

Then, the full 3-day conference began, offering over 100 speakers in three concurrent tracks, providing 48 conference sessions, two evening plenary sessions, and a wrap-up panel chaired by inimitable emcee and industry watchdog Barbara Quint. Plus, for those with enough energy, there were 3 days of exhibit hall time, two receptions with food and drinks in the exhibit hall, "Dine Around" groups that gathered to network over dinner at a number of the fine restaurants in the area, and even a post-conference "Internet Librarian Golf Classic." I don't know about the other participants, but I was tired by the end-though exhilarated by all I had learned.

Preconference Sessions

Many of the topics offered in the preconference workshops looked interesting to me and offered top-notch experts in their areas--and drew large numbers of registrants. Among the choices, one could hear Helene Kassler, library director at Fuld & Co., Inc., focusing on the creative uses of the Net for global competitive intelligence research. Howard McQueen and Jean DeMatteo gave a full-day seminar on intranet development for information professionals--and provided a 200-page handout. (McQueen is editor of the newsletter IntraNet Professional, published by ITI.) These two themes--creative uses of the Net and librarians' involvement and leadership possibilities in developing structure and content for library and corporate intranets--were ones I heard loud and clear, echoed throughout the conference.

I attended the workshop on Managing Electronic Journals, which brought together publishers, aggregators, and users to address some of the management challenges. As a user myself, working for a publisher, I was familiar with some of the facts and viewpoints, but the session served to lay out the key issues quite well, and provided some valuable insights for working together. Several speakers addressed access issues (varying interfaces and formats, technical considerations), statistical issues (usage data, privacy), content issues (currency, completeness, image quality), licensing issues (standardizing definitions, multiplicity of contracts, ILL support), and, of course, pricing issues. Users want reasonable and predictable pricing, but generally do not understand the behind-the-scenes work involved for publishers and aggregators to produce journals in electronic format or the development costs required. …

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