Reaching a Major Milestone

By Hawkins, Donald T. | Information Today, February 2008 | Go to article overview

Reaching a Major Milestone


Hawkins, Donald T., Information Today


The conference scene begins to heat up this month. Top on the list this year is NFAIS's (National Federation of Advanced Information Services) major milestone as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. The publishing industry is also well-represented, with three important conferences this month.

NFAIS' 50th Anniversary

NFAIS (www.nfais.org) is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a gala as part of its annual conference Feb. 24-26 in Philadelphia. Fifty years is a long time in the information industry, especially in these days of rapid change. The theme of the conference is the New Information Order: Its Culture, Content and Economy. David Weinberger, author of Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder, Small Pieces Loosely Joined and co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, will be the keynote speaker. (By the way, Weinberger is the subject of a page in Wikipedia, and each of his books also has its own page.) A discussion of communication and information behavior by Lee Rainie, founding director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, will follow Weinberger's keynote address. The remainder of the conference will focus on the new information environment, information discovery, and the new information economy. One highlight of the annual NFAIS conference is the presentation of the Miles Conrad Lecture; this year's lecturer is Robert Massie, president of Chemical Abstracts Service.

Publishing Industry Conferences

The Specialized Information Publishers Association (SIPA; www.sipaonline.com/Events/WinterSPC2008) is holding its 2008 Winter Publishers Conference Feb. 8-11 at Rose Hall, Jamaica. This conference is unusual in that there is no formal advance program. Instead, registrants will use a pre-meeting questionnaire to choose discussion topics of interest. The organizers will then structure the meeting around the most popular topics. The actual meeting consists of round-table discussions in a casual, confidential setting.

O'Reilly's Tools of Change (TOC; http://en.oreilly.com/ toc2008) for Publishing conference, which was a success in its 2007 inaugural event (see the July/August 2007 issue of Information Today), is moving to New York for the 2008 conference, which will be held Feb. 11-13. The lineup of keynote and plenary speakers includes Stephen Abram of SirsiDynix, Bill Burger of the Copyright Clearance Center, Sara Nelson of Publishers Weekly, and Tim O'Reilly of O'Reilly Media. Many of the sessions will focus on book publishing, the interaction of books and blogs, and content delivery on mobile platforms. Judging from the advance program, the 2008 TOC conference is expected to be as successful as last year's.

The FOLIO Summit (www.foliosummit.com), which will be held Feb. 20-22 in Miami, focuses on magazine publishing. Attendance is by invitation; the summit is organized around eight working groups that will explore opportunities in the following areas:

* Executive management

* Finance and operations

* Sales and business development

* Marketing and brand development

* Editorial and content management

* Circulation and audience development

* City and regional publishing

* Association publishing

Detailed information about the working groups, including leaders, panelists, and topics to be discussed, is available on the conference website.

The Digital Divide

Since digital information is more difficult to access in many parts of the world than it is in developed countries, libraries are often the only means to access information in this "digital divide." The IFLA Presidential Meeting (www.ifla-deutschland.de/de/downloads/programm_praesidentschaft_2008_eng.pdf), which will be held Feb. 21-22 in Berlin, will explore some social aspects of access to information, particularly scientific information. The keynote address by Miriam Nesbet, director of UNESCO's Information Society Division, is titled Free Access to Information in the Global Knowledge-Based Society; it will highlight issues surrounding the digital divide. …

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