ALIA Information Online Conference: Trends in Asia-Pacific
Lewis, Ray, Information Today
As many industries were obviously focused on globalization initiatives during the past decade, not many of them exhibit a zest for worldwide technology uptake more ubiquitously than online publishing. Nevertheless, regional trends still exist as seen at the ALIA (Australian Library and Information Association) Information Online Conference & Exhibition 2011, billed as Asia-Pacific's largest conference.
About 1,200 attendees from around the globe arrived at the biannual conference in Sydney's harborside venue Feb. 1-3. Temperatures surpassed 100 degrees, which made escaping into the conference air conditioning a delight.
The exposition's 90 exhibitors were a mix of Australasian-based publishers and representatives of regional offices from the big publishing guns in the Northern Hemisphere (ProQuest, Thomson Reuters, SAGE, and ExLibris). Many of the exhibitors took advantage of the well-apportioned "theatrettes" for vendor presentations during the final 2 days. The fact that 42 exhibitors offered the 15minute presentations, which were all well-attended, suggested a technologically savvy and innovationadopting audience.
The buzz in the conference sessions and in Exhibition Hall was extremely positive. After all, the mood in Australia and New Zealand continues to be largely upbeat and confident, as aptly reflected in the words of one Australian, "Recession, what recession?"
The macroeconomic position of Australia (which heavily impacts its near neighbors) has proved to be essentially recession-proof due to its huge mineral wealth. New mining projects continue to crop up across the nation, making the region a lucrative and growing area for publishing technologies.
It was proof positive that the audience was filled with librarians who were keen on adopting new technology amid a recession that hasn't hit too hard on these shores as hundreds of iPads appeared simultaneously from conference bags at the start of each session.
The 3-day conference program was jampacked with diverse content, spread across a trio of parallel breakout sessions around the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. Emerging trends were represented, from the concept of discovery over searching to the evolution of library space and web technologies. While many standard industry topics were covered, including search tools (old and new), metadata, remote 24/7 library access, ebooks, and library system navigation methodologies, some regional topics even entered into the mix. …