Magazine article Information Today

Internet Librarian 2000

Magazine article Information Today

Internet Librarian 2000

Article excerpt

This annual conference for information professionals hits the mark once again

The 2000 edition of the fourth annual Internet Librarian conference convened November 5-9 in Monterey, California, the site of the first event. Monterey is always a pleasant venue and seems to be an attractive destination for conference goers. This year, the conference center bustled with activity as the show drew 100 top companies to the exhibit hall, and over 2,100 attendees.

The three main days of the conference offered four simultaneous tracks of sessions that covered a range of issues and challenges facing information professionals who are dealing with Internet technologies. The mixture of practical tips, case studies, and functional applications, with some visionary perspectives added in, provided much food for thought and something for everyone. Once again, Jane Dysart and her organizing committee had a clear sense of the topics and issues that needed to be covered, and are to be commended for their organization of the program and their choice of speakers. There was also a full roster of pre- and post-conference sessions, as well as a 2-day conference within a conference, Internet @ Schools, hosted by MultiMedia Schools magazine.

On the Right Track

The four main conference tracks focused on carefully chosen themes, and, of course, attendees could move freely among the track sessions. The WebWizards' Symposium was aimed at Webmasters, managers, and others wishing to follow the learning track. The broad range of sessions in this area covered practical site design and implementation issues, cool analysis and usability tools, virus-protection strategies, data-visualization software, the use of application service providers (ASPs), systems for delivery of library services, and more.

Just reviewing the list of speakers for this track, I was struck by the diversity of job titles, backgrounds, and organizations they represented. Speakers were from large corporations and small firms; huge universities and small colleges; public libraries; health-science organizations; and companies in the information industry, both traditionals and Net newbies. Some speakers were information brokers and one was the program officer for Internet services for the Association of Research Libraries. I realized the speakers mirrored the attendees that were there, based on the people I saw and the conference statistics. As I observed the collaboration and sharing that occurred among these folks--leaders and learners all looking to improve their services and learn from each other--I saw they recognized the commonalities of their problems and goals. It's great to see the linking of people that can occur in a forum like this.

The second main track was titled Navigating the Net: Searching and Searchers, and covered training, search engines, and virtual communities. While all of the sessions were lively, well-attended, and featured top speakers, I particularly enjoyed the session titled "My Favorite Search Engine." Mary Ellen Bates, a top business "Super Searcher," discussed a case study of how she approached a particular business search, using a range of sites, forums, and search engines, and then the professional online services. It was solid and logical--just what I've come to expect from Bates. Greg Notess, who does the Search Engine Showdown (http://www.searchengineshowdown.com), gave an entertaining look at the iWon.com site, but confessed that his favorite search engine right now was "none of them."

Chris Sherman, About.com's Web Search guide, discussed a new search engine that's available as an experimental prototype. Originally known as CiteSeer and now called ResearchIndex (http://www.researchindex.com), it combines a metasearch engine with a computer-science citation index. The engine locates and fetches Adobe PostScript and PDF documents (which are usually part of the "invisible Web"), and verifies that they're valid research papers. …

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