The Conference Circuit–Major February Conferences

Although February is not one of the busiest conference months, it does feature some very noteworthy ones.

Information Online 2011

The major online conference for Australasia and the surrounding area occurs in Sydney on February 1-3.  Organized by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), Information Online occurs every two years and enjoys a large attendance and notable speakers.   The 2011 opening keynote speaker will be Jim McKierlie, CEO of Bullseye Digital, an Australian digital services agency.  Other keynoters include Michael Mace, Principal of Rubicon Consulting, speaking on “E-Books and the Future of Publishing”; Iarla Flynn, Head of Public Policy for Google’s Australia and New Zealand office, speaking on “Information in the Internet Age”; and Sarah Houghton-Jan, Digital Futures Manager at the San Jose Public Library and author of the well-known blog, Librarian in Black speaking on “Digital Libraries: the Phoenix Rising From the Ashes”.  [Watch for a full report on Information Online 2011 in a future issue of Information Today.]

O’Reilly Tools of Change (TOC) For Publishing

The 5th O’Reilly TOC Conference will be in New York on February 14-16.  With well over 1,000 attendees each year, TOC has become a major “must attend” event on the conference calendar and has been a sellout for its entire existence.  This year’s conference, “Publishing Without Boundaries”, begins with a day of workshops, followed by the main conference on February 15-16.  A stellar lineup of keynote speakers has been recruited, and sessions on cutting-edge topics have been organized.  New this year is a “Publishing Startup Showcase”, in which approximately 20 startups will conduct demonstrations.  A panel of judges will choose the best ones, and attendees will also have an opportunity to vote for their favorite.   The winners will then present their products in detail to the audience.  [Watch for live blog coverage here.]

NFAIS Annual Conference

The NFAIS Annual Conference (Philadelphia, PA, February 27 – March 1 ) has a most appropriate theme for the current hot topic in the information world:  “Taming The Information Tsunami: The New World of Discovery”.  The opening keynote speaker will be Dan Gillmor, author of We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People (O’Reilly Media, 2004) and Director, Knight School of Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University.  His topic will be “Challenges to Information Discovery in a World of Abundance”.  Susan Feldman, Research Vice President, Search and Discovery Technologies, IDC, and several other speakers will follow with further looks at information abundance and overload.  The Miles Conrad Lecture will be presented by Dr. Ben Shneiderman, Founding Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, and member of the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies at the University of Maryland.  The final keynote (speaker to be determined) will examine the future of information discovery.  The NFAIS conference is always highly relevant and stimulating, and this year’s event promises to continue that tradition.

Personal Digital Archiving

Libraries and corporations are not the only entities engaged in creating digital archives of their data.  With the widespread proliferation of digital cameras, scanners, and cell phone cameras, individuals are also creating vast digital archives of personal data.  And photos are not the only records they are digitizing; personal records such as financial and medical data are also included.  The Personal Digital Archiving 2011 conference (PDA 2011, February 24-25, San Francisco) will examine this growing phenomenon, including technical, social, and economic issues.  The conference website notes,

“…the early work of the Nobel Prize winners of the 2030s is likely to be digital today, and therefore at risk in ways that previous scientific and literary creations were not. And it isn’t just Nobel winners that matter: the lives of all of us will be preserved in ways not previously possible.”

The conference will be hosted by The Internet Archive, and one would be hard put to imagine a more appropriate organization to do so.

iConference 2011

The iConference is “an annual gathering of researchers and professionals from around the world who share the common goal of making a difference through the study of people, information, and technology.”  The 6th annual conference (Seattle, WA, February 8-11) will feature Colin Burke and Susan Dumais as keynoters, over 85 peer-reviewed presentations, poster sessions, and workshops.  Burke is a historian of information science from the University of Maryland, and Dumais is Principal Researcher and manager of the Context, Learning and User Experience for Search (CLUES) Group at Microsoft Research and has published widely on human-computer interaction and information retrieval.


The 2011 BOBCATSS conference (the name is an acronym of the first letters of the nine cities of the universities that organized the initial conference in 1993) will be January 31 – February 2 in Szombathely, Hungary and is entitled “Finding New Ways”.  The conference is organized by library and information science students from universities in Hungary, Norway, and Austria.  It focuses on the new ways people use libraries and the new ways that librarians work.

Society Meetings

Here are some society meetings scheduled for February:

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

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