Magazine article Information Today

Info Today 2001

Magazine article Information Today

Info Today 2001

Article excerpt

This conference looked at new technology, ideas, and trends in the information industry

The National Online Meeting has been a premier event in the information industry for 22 years. Late last year, Information Today, Inc. (ITI), sponsor of the popular conference held each May in New York, announced that the National Online Meeting would become InfoToday 2001 and would include expanded coverage of the electronic information industry and add a knowledge management program. This larger event, held May 15-17 at the New York Hilton, featured three simultaneous conferences: National Online 2001, E-Libraries 2001, and KnowledgeNets 2001. [See Marshall Breeding's "IOLS Conference Morphs into E-Libraries" on page 50 and Denise Bruno's "KnowledgeNets 2001" on page 51.]

Tom Hogan, president of ITI, explained the change. "With technology changing so rapidly, we decided to create a format for this annual event that would make it easier to add or subtract various content components without losing the underlying theme. Using this 'umbrella' approach gave us the flexibility, for example, to add a strong knowledge management conference to complement our traditional programming on all facets of online information and library systems.

With three simultaneous conferences and over 140 sessions, the meeting rooms, hallways, and exhibit halls bustled with activity. InfoToday 2001 drew over 5,200 participants and over 100 exhibiting companies. Along with many of the big names in the industry, the exhibit hall featured some new companies this year, including CyberAlert, which announced a new Internet monitoring service; Brain Technologies Corp.; Clear-Forest; and a number of knowledge management (KM) firms that were new to me. A few companies were conspicuous by their absence from the exhibit hail (Factiva, Northern Light, Hoover's, and NewsEdge). Maybe we'll see you folks next year?

Offering even more content choices, a popular addition this year was the Presentation Theater (located within the exhibit hail), which offered free half-hour seminars on topics like intranet toolkits, evaluating library automation systems, and content management. Though I'm very familiar with Gary Price's writings and presentations, I sat in on his "Finding Electronic Resources: Tools & Techniques" seminar and picked up several useful suggestions for keeping current. His resource page is available at http://www.freepint.com/gary/online20001.htm.

The emphasis on practical and digestible presentations continued with the free Cybertours, which included best-site recommendations for specific areas, such as competitive intelligence and KM, and advanced search tips.

Keynotes Bring Groups Together

Reflecting the convergence of interests among information professionals and knowledge managers, InfoToday 2001 began each morning with a keynote address that was featured in all three of the component conferences and was open to all attendees. Each keynote address was broad enough in scope to touch on everyone's interests.

The opening-day address was given by Robert Kahn, president of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), and best known for being co-inventor of the TCP/IP protocols. In his remarks on "Managing Digital Objects on the Net," he called for a concerted effort to manage the information we have. While the Internet was created as a communications medium, it has become more of a global information system. Some of the current issues we face include the control of information in a networked environment, regulating its use, and certifying that information has not been altered in some way.

In his recent work, Kahn has been developing the concept of a digital object infrastructure. His work is now being applied in a number of digital library projects and applications like the electronic copyright registration system. He noted that the technology components for managing digital objects are available but that more robust versions need to be developed to enable commercialization. …

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