Magazine article Information Today

The 15th Annual AIIP Conference

Magazine article Information Today

The 15th Annual AIIP Conference

Article excerpt

Information professionals had the chance to 'Network in New Orleans'

The 15th Annual AIIP (Association of Independent Information Professionals) Conference was held April 19-22 in New Orleans. As the association's name implies, the majority of AIIP's members are independent information business owners. Most of us tend to work by ourselves, mostly through virtual contact with our peers and clients. We look forward to the annual conference as a way to network with our colleagues and friends. Hence, the theme for this year's conference, "Network in New Orleans," was quite appropriate. And network we did. There was the constant buzz of introductions, greeting peers, and catching up with old friends.

The event kicked off with an opening reception in the exhibit hall that was sponsored by Lexis-Nexis. For such a small conference (it's nowhere near the size of the Special Libraries Association or Internet Librarian events), the number of exhibitors and their prominence were impressive. Among the 14 represented were Information Today, Inc.; Factiva; Dialog; Catch the Web; Intelliseek, Inc.; Chemical Abstracts; BiblioData; Copyright Clearance Center; ECNext; ingenta; and the National Library of Medicine. In addition to sponsoring the opening reception, Lexis-Nexis had a Cyber Connection area set up in the exhibit hall so that no one would suffer from e-mail or Web withdrawal.

Invisible Web

The keynote session, titled "The Invisible Web," was presented by Chris Sherman from Searchwise and Gary Price from George Washington University. As usual, the two of them were very informative. The Invisible Web is loosely defined as "information on the Web that search engines either can't or won't index." It's estimated to be anywhere from two to 50 times the size of the "visible" Web, with resources that are often of a higher quality. Much of the Invisible Web is composed of file formats such as Adobe PDF, flash, and streaming media; real-time data (stock quotes, weather updates, airline flight information, etc.); and dynamically generated pages (CGI, JavaScript, ASP, and most pages with a"?" in the URL).

There are some sources that are helpful in finding Invisible Web sites. One is named (no surprises here) InvisibleWeb.com and is hosted by Intelliseek, Inc. (http:/www.invisibleweb.com). Billed as "The Search Engine of Search Engines," it's a directory-style site of Invisible Web resources. Another similar and equally useful site is BrightPlanet's CompletePlanet (http://www.completeplanet.com).

One word of caution about the Invisible Web: It's only one of the many resources available to information professionals. It's not the single approach for all research projects nor should it be used in a vacuum. The Invisible Web should complement your usual sources, not replace them.

Tools of the Trade

Following lunch on the top floor of The Hotel Monteleone, which had a wonderful view of New Orleans, there were three concurrent sessions. One, "Tools of the Trade--Who Uses What and Why," was a panel discussion with plenty of audience interaction and participation. The diverse panel included Marjorie Desgrosseilliers (AccuSearch Information Services, Inc.), Risa Sacks (Risa Sacks Information Services), Susan Detwiler (The Detwiler Group), John Lescher (Vivamus Concepts, Inc.), Gary Price, and Chris Dobson (Fl Services, Inc.). The idea behind this session was to learn what tools and tricks other information professionals use to make their everyday work a little easier. We often assume that everyone else knows the little shortcuts we use in our work, but that's usually not the case. For example, Dobson demonstrated how to "fool" Microsoft Word into assigning page number "1" to a page that might not really be the first page in a document. Detwiler shared her experience of hiring a professional publicist, reinf orcing the late Sue Rugge's adage, "Do what you do best and hire the rest. …

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