Magazine article Information Today

InfoToday 2002-The Exhibits

Magazine article Information Today

InfoToday 2002-The Exhibits

Article excerpt

Vendors displayed a combination of publisher tools and content sources at InfoToday 2002. There was a strong representation from companies with automated categorization applications. Products offering visualization software drew admiring audiences. Conspicuously absent were LexisNexis and Factiva, two of the traditional online database vendors. Also notable in their absence were vendors of competitive intelligence software. There was also a weak representation of library automation vendors.

Who Was There?

The content majors were there, including Dialog, Wilson, ProQuest, Thomson, EBSCO, OCLC, Swets Blackwell, and SIRS Mandarin. Most used their exhibit space to connect with established customers and used their time to "meet the people we need to see," rather than make major announcements. Wilson announced a new WilsonWeb design for its Web-search browser that allows students to search multiple databases (http://www.wilson.com). An added feature of the new product is an increased ability of library administrators to track user statistics.

The New York Times had a separate booth. In addition, its content was represented by its relationships with the traditional online research vendors. "We're here to check the B2B market for our content," said John Schwartz. "We wanted to learn more about reactions to the expanding partnership for our content and get a sense of the market."

Since many people also attend other library events, some made a point of noting an overlap of vendors at library and information conferences. Almost 50 percent of the InfoToday 2002 vendors were also at the Internet Librarian conference last fall. With the SLA and ALA conferences in June, and other library meetings on the horizon, conference planners need to look for ways to distinguish conference-hall exhibits. Overall, the library and information industry needs to attract new content, software, and service vendors.

Exhibit Hall Lectures

Three days of short--and free--lectures drew consistently packed audiences to the exhibit hall. There was frequently a crowd at the entrance of the 50-seat presentation area and an appreciative and attentive audience inside. Those vendors that lined the path to the area had a steady stream of people who were attracted to the free lectures.

Over 20 presentations covered practical information and advice on best practices in content management and organization, Web design, online trends, mapping information, library automation, and licensing. Lecturers pointed out the best Web sites for news, business, information professional literature, and new developments. "Lectures were tactical; they delivered concrete learning and could be put into action," said Nancy Kho of Global Reports.

Semantic Alley

For publishers, vendors offered categorization tools of increasing sophistication. Classification and metadata-tagging software seemed to be clustered along two aisles with the word "semantic" used to describe the technology. The show aisles attracted a constant flow of people who showed enthusiasm for the software and who demonstrated an appreciation of the features and functionality differences between the products.

Vivisimo (http://www.vivisimo.com) is a powerful tool for clustering intelligence for the rapid delivery and analysis of data. There is both increased need and national interest in software technologies that can handle huge, unstructured data sources. Vivisimo demonstrated its speed and hierarchical agility in handling and displaying unstructured data on the fly.

Engenium's Semetric Technology works with major news and defense databases (http://www.engenium.com). One of its first products is its HireReasoning software, which was recently awarded product of the year by Human Resource Executive magazine. …

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