The full conference programme upstairs in Olympia was well-attended, although I saw fewer nationalities than in previous years. The sessions themselves were, mainly packed. As in past years, there were three tracks, each with a different theme. The breaks between sessions, however, were longer, probably designed to allow delegates to go down to the exhibition and visit with the companies there. A lunch was provided on Wednesday, again I’m assuming to get delegates off the 3rd floor of Olympia and onto the exhibit floor.
Tuesday, following Clay Shirky’s keynote, the three tracks dealth with Web 2.0, Search, and the changed environment for librarians and publishers. Chris Sherman gave a fascinating talk on how search engines are beginning to understand what you really want to know, not just searching on the terms you enter. He also made a distinction between the semantic web and semantic search. Mary Ellen Bates talked about custom search engines, noting that Yahoo’s attempt at this is already dead. That’s the problem with sending slides in early–search can change very fast. In the search track, it was on to search engine optimisation and search analytics. The day ended, at least in the search track with a session on "Heterogeneous search" where Austin Mclean from ProQuest talked about what they’re doing with multimedia embedded in dissertations (something that’s becoming more common, but presents some intellectual property issues).He also noted how, as time goes on, there could be problems with obsolete formats having no hardware to play/show them. I followed Austin to talk about what it happening with multimedia search on web search engines. I said there was a difference between looking for information in multimedia formats and viewing search results as visual objects. I also discussed the increasing trend towards embedding mulimedia information.
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