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Welcome to Live From London IV, Information Today’s blog of the Information Online 2006 conference in London. For the next four days, ITI’s blog team will be bringing you rapid reporting of the presentations, exhibit hall developments, and even accompanying events (parties!).

This year’s blog team consists of Dick Kaser, VP of Content; Barbara Brynko, Editor of Information Today; Marydee Ojala, Editor of ONLINE, Michelle Manafy, Editor of eContent; and yours truly. We will be joined by Barbara Quint, Editor of Searcher, and Paula Hane, News Bureau Chief, who will chime in from back home when they have something interesting to report about. The London team, except Michelle, were here last year, making this is a repeat performance for us. Michelle, welcome to London and Online, and I hope you followed my e-mailed advice (which is good for everyone coming to this conference) and brought comfortable shoes—the exhibit hall is huge, and the floor is hard!

The conference program is packed with talks on many interesting topics, as usual, starting with the keynote by Thomas Stewart, Editor of Harvard Business Review. Adopting the popular “2.0” mantra of these days, the overall Online conference theme is “Preparing For Information 2.0”, and there are many presentations on Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and related technologies. New for this year is an Information Management Solutions (IMS 2006), a co-located conference concentrating on managing information, improving collaboration using information technologies, increasing ROI, and responding to regulatory and competitive pressures. IMS will focus on business and competitive issues and will have its own exhibition, also co-located with the Online conference. Splitting the conference into two distinct units raises some questions:
• Is this a trend?
• Does it reflect a new mission outlook for VNU, the conference organizer?
• Are the two segments really that much different?

I think the answer to the first question is probably Yes. ITI did it with their Info-X conference last year in New York, which had five co-located conferences, and it has long co-located the Internet Librarian and Internet@Schools conferences. I don’t know what the organizers have in mind with this experiment, or even if it will continue. Previous Online conferences have had segments on a theme (not IMS), however. And I’m not sure about the third question. I note that both segments deal with online information and there are business-related topics in each. We will have to wait until the events play out before we can provide a definitive answer to this question.

Check back here frequently to get updates on the latest news from London. We all look forward to bringing it to you!

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today

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