Archive | December, 2011

Happy Holidays!

The conference scene is well into its annual holiday shutdown, and The Conference Circuit is following suit.  This posting (the 180th of the year) will be the last until 2012.

It is my pleasure to wish everyone a Happy Holiday and a healthy and successful New Year!

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

Slides from International UDC Conference Now Available

Slides and audio files from all 21 presentations at the International UDC Seminar 2011 “Classification and Ontology: Formal Approaches and Access to Knowledge” are now available on the conference website. In addition, complete proceedings can be purchased.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

IFLA Camp–A New “Unconference”

IFLACamp is the first ever “unconference” to be held in conjunction with an IFLA conference.  The 2012 IFLACamp will be structured as a satellite meeting just prior to the main conference in Helsinki, Finland on August 11-17.  It will meet in Hämeenlinna (about 100 km north of Helsinki) on August 9-10 and is being organized by IFLA’s New Professionals Special Interest Group (NPSIG).  The theme will be “New Professionals Now”.  Proposals for topics are being solicited in video format and are due by the end of 2011.  Submissions will be available on NPSIG’s blog and comments and votes may be freely made.  Prospective attendees will welcome the news that there will be no registration fee.

I look forward to following this fascinating development and bringing you periodic updates.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

 

 

IFLA 2012 Conference Preliminaries Heat Up

Preliminary activities related to the 2012 IFLA conference (Helsinki Finland, August 11-17) are heating up.  A total of 17 satellite meetings have been approved; calls for papers from the various sections are regularly arriving in my e-mail inbox; and online registration is available.  An intriguing new feature, IFLA Camp, the first ever “unconference” to be held at an IFLA conference, is soliciting proposals for discussion topics.  (A subsequent post appearing shortly here will go into more detail on IFLA Camp.)

So if you’re interested in IFLA and its annual conference, check out one of the websites with links above.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

 

2011 Conference Statistics

I listed 684 conferences held in 2011 (up from 653 in 2010) on the ITI Conference Calendar, and mentioned 241 of them in my 11 monthly columns.  As shown in the figure below, 2011 followed the usual pattern, with the busiest periods of the year in the spring and fall. The spring period, April through June, had 192 conferences, and the fall period, September through November, had 240.  Each of these periods accounts for approximately 1/3 of the yearly total.  And also as usual, dips were observed in the year-end months and in July.

Conferences were held in 209 different cities in 21 countries.  Here are the cities in which 5 or more conferences were held.

London, UK

53

Washington, DC

31

New York, NY

23

Philadelphia, PA

18

Chicago, IL

13

San Francisco, CA

11

Berlin, Germany

11

Beijing, China

9

San Juan, PR

8

London heads the list, as it usually does, followed by Washington and New York.  The reason San Juan, PR appears is that it was the location of the IFLA annual conference and its associated meetings.

On a country basis, the US had the most conferences, with 313.  Countries hosting 6 or more conferences are shown below.  Eight conferences were virtual—held online only.

USA

313

UK

71

Germany

35

China

27

Canada

23

France

17

Netherlands

15

Italy

12

India

12

Spain

11

Australia

11

South Africa

10

Greece

9

Austria

9

Switzerland

8

Czech Republic

7

Singapore

7

Denmark

6

Japan

6

The states where 7 or more conferences were held are shown below.

CA

35

DC

31

NY

26

PA

22

IL

14

WA

12

ON

10

FL

10

PR

8

NC

8

TX

8

AZ

8

VA

7

OH

7

Here are the organizers of 5 or more conferences in 2011.

Information Today, Inc.

26

IFLA

22

Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP)

16

IEEE

15

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

14

WAN (World Association of Newspapers)-IFRA

12

Third Door Media

11

International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers (STM)

8

Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA)

7

Incisive Interactive Marketing LLC

6

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Information and Library Science (SILS)

6

National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS)

6

Database and Expert Systems (DEXA) Society

6

American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T)

6

Library Journal

5

O’Reilly Media

5

Academic Conferences Ltd

5

Specialized Information Publishers Association (SIPA)

5

These data are similar to those of 2010, showing that the information industry conference scene has remained healthy, despite the difficult economic conditions.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

Farewell 2011, Greetings 2012

The conference scene is in its annual hiatus for the holidays, but it will resume immediately after they are over with a number of interesting meetings.  January is typically a month of fewer conferences than others, so I will include my usual statistical report on 2011’s conferences as an adjunct to this column.

HICSS

The Hawaii International Conference for System Sciences (HICSS) typically leads off the yearly conference parade.  This year marks the 45th conference in the series, and it will be held at Wailea, Maui, HI on January 4-7.  Some of the tracks will be of much interest to information professionals.  For example, the track on Digital Media: Content and Communication appears for the 18th year and includes such topics as digital libraries, information access and usability, and visual analysis of massive data.  The track on Knowledge Systems includes economics of knowledge management and transfer, knowledge management and social media, and strategic knowledge management for innovation.

Academic Publishing in Europe (APE)

The announcement of the 7th APE Conference (Berlin, Germany, January 24-25) has just appeared.  According to the website, the goal of the conference is “better understanding of scholarly communication and the role of information in science, education and society.”  Keynote speakers are Derk Haank, CEO of Springer Science+Business Media speaking on “The Past, the Present and the Future of STM Publishing”; and Prof. Dr. Jean-Claude Burgelman, Head of Unit DC.2: ERIAB, European Commission, speaking on “Research and Innovation. From Web 2.0 to Science 2.0? The Potential of ICT to change the Modus of Science and Research.”  An interesting discussion “The End of the Semantic Web? The Internet of Things and Services” will lead off the second day of the conference.  An education and training day featuring presentations on several useful and relevant subjects takes place immediately before the main conference.

DigCCurr

The University of North Carolina continues its DigCCurr Professional Institute which began in May 2011 with a followup session on January 4-5 at its Chapel Hill, NC campus.  The theme of the Institute is “Curation Practices for the Digital Object Lifecycle”.  An interactive event, “CurateGear: Enabling the Curation of Digital Collections” follows the Institute on January 6 and will include demonstrations and applications of digital curation tools and methods by a large number of presenters.

Digital Book World

The 2012 Digital Book World Conference and Expo (New York, January 23-25) will have over 40 sessions, many led by top executives of book publishers, plus an exhibit hall.  The sessions focus on issues of special interest to trade publishers; a separate workshop entitled “Children’s Publishing Goes Digital” takes place on the morning of January 23.

D: Dive Into Media

An interesting new conference, D: Dive Into Media (Laguna Nigel, CA, January 30-31) will address the “evolutionary changes in media and what those changes mean for the industry’s future”.  The preliminary list of speakers is an impressive collection of CEOs from a wide range of media companies, including Warner Music Corp., YouTube, News Corporation, and others.  The format of the conferences is “no PowerPoints, no panels and definitely no pontificating, only … unrehearsed, unscripted and unexpected interviews.”

Scholarly Communication

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is sponsoring a one-day workshop on January 20 at the mid-winter ALA meeting in Dallas, TX entitled “Scholarly Communication: From Understanding to Engagement”.  The workshop focuses on scholarly publishing, author rights, and open access.

Digital Preservation

Another in the series of Digital Preservation Management Workshops will take place in Coral Gables, FL on January 8-13.  The Workshop is a 5-day course on “practical and responsible stewardship of digital assets in an age of technological uncertainty” and includes lectures on such subjects as the “organizational infrastructure, technological infrastructure, and requisite resources”, as well as a number of case studies.

Society Meetings

Here are some of the society meetings of interest in January:

Conference

Dates

Location

2012 ALISE Annual Conference: Extending Our Reach, Expanding Horizons, Creating Opportunity January 17-20 Dallas, TX
8th Annual ARL Leadership Symposium January 20-21 Dallas, TX
ALA Midwinter Meeting January 20-24 Dallas, TX
2012 SIIA Information Industry Summit January 24-25 New York, NY
ALCTS Virtual Midwinter Symposium: Launching Your Star Potential: Leadership for Today’s Libraries January 9-13 Online only
SLA Leadership Summit 2012: Future Now, Operation Agility January 25-28 Atlanta, GA

Best wishes for the holidays, and I’ll be back in 2012 with more conference updates.  As always, the ITI Conference Calendar contains listings for other January conferences as well as those later in the year.

II-SDV Conference Program Now Available

The program for the annual International Information Conference on Search, Data Mining and Visualization (II-SDV) is now available on the conference website, which give a rationale for attending this meeting:

Search engines, data and text mining, visualization and text analysis are subjects for many academic research meetings. Often they are also included in other information conferences. But the II-SDV meeting is the only event that focuses on these tools for those in the professional information community. Similarly, there are many meetings that examine the collection of intelligence. But the II-SDV meeting is the only event that focuses on tools for intelligence.

A fascinating interactive visualization of the program (see screenshot below) is also available.  One can click on a subject and see all the speakers addressing it, or click on a speaker’s name and see the abstract of their presentation.  It’s definitely worth a look!

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

 

 

 

BOBCATSSS Sells Out!

The upcoming BOBCATSSS conference (Amsterdam, January 23-25) has reached its capacity of 400 attendees and is now sold out.  That a conference of this nature would sell out 6 weeks before it occurs is surely a good sign in these economically difficult times.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

 

Big Changes Coming Next Year

Online Information 2012 will be at a completely new venue, the ICC ExCel Centre.

ICC Aerial View

The International Convention Centre (ICC) is a new venue in East London and is Europe’s largest convention center.  It will provide comfortable meeting space and much better connection between the conference and the exhibit hall than was possible at the Olympia.  The ICC is conveniently located only 1 mile from the London City Airport, which serves nearby areas in the UK and other parts of Europe.

Besides a new venue, the organizers of Online Information have promised other new features and an updated program.

I hope to see you there.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

Search Engine Update

This session featured 3 search experts reviewing current trends and developments.  Marydee Ojala, Editor, ONLINE Magazine and long-time online searcher, led off with a presentation entitled “So Many Search Engines, So Little Time”.  Of course, the most popular search engine is still Google, but its relevancy is declining, there is no commitment to advanced search options, and it seems to be pulling back from features admired by information professionals.  Alternatives to Google are:

  • General web search engines.  Bing by Microsoft is the most familiar.  It features field searching and, search refinement (i.e. advanced search).   Yahoo’s search is powered by Bing except in Japan and South Korea, and it remains a takeover target.
  • Specialty search engines concentrate on format (images, video, social media), or subject (news, science, business).  A variety of country search engines are available, such as Baidu (China), Yandex (Russia), and Naver (South Korea).  The Search Engine Colossus is an international directory of search engines.  Blekko has no spam and filters out results from content farms.  DuckDuckGo is known for its privacy because it does not save searches.  Exalead is a cloud-based site for enterprise search and has some advanced features such as soundslike and spellslike.  Topsy is now the only search engine for archival Tweets.

Many search engines feature databases of a variety of information types; for example, one can find databases of images, books, news, and maps on Google; images and finance on Yahoo; and travel, news, inages, and video on Bing.  Flickr and Picasa are well-known image databases, which can be searched by image criteria such as color.  YouTube, of course, is the leading video search engine, but one can also find instructional videos from various universities as well as those from the Journal of Visual Experiments (JOVE).

  • Paid search engines are mainly the traditional ones such as Dialog, Factiva, LexisNexis, EBSCO, and ProQuest.  Some subject-oriented paid search engines are also available such as those from STN International, whose flagship database is  Chemical Abstracts.  In contrast to Google and some other web search engines, no SEO manipulation is done by these vendors, so results are very consistent.

Innovations in search continue, but it is happening at the margins and inside the enterprise.  Search algorithms are changed frequently.  (See the closing keynote session for a discussion of the future of search.)  Information professionals must constantly keep up with changes in search engines and be ready to switch search tools quickly.  This is time consuming, but it is necessary if we are to remain relevant.

Marydee closed by urging attendees to read The Filter Bubble.

Arthur Weiss, Managing Director, AWARE, continued Marydee’s theme and reviewed some specialist search engines for people, numeric data, and news.  He noted that although search engines may claim to search the deep web, they may be only using a web crawler to find material on the visible web.  True deep web search tools typically look for information not searchable by crawlers.

Weiss showed how a Google news search returns different results depending on whether one is logged in to a Google account or not. When you are logged in to your account, Google knows who you are, your location, and any preferences you have set.  Several news search engines cater to business users, including Northern Light, Congoo, and NewsnowSilobreaker and Evri aggregate news and return results on a topic.  Silobreaker has a number of innovative features, such as a summary, headlines, and trend charts showing item frequencies.  Evri has more images than Silobreaker.

People search engines are either directories of names or searches for names in the context of articles.  Some of the second type include Pipl, 123People, and Yasni.  Pipl has a US bias; the other two are based in Europe.  Yatedo allows phonetic searches, searches based on links to other people, and other advanced options.  Jigsaw is a database of online business cards and actively solitics contributions of them.  Yoname searches people who are users of any of 27 social media sites.

Numeric searches can be difficult because much numeric is presented in graphical format.  Data from official statistical sources is available in the Offstats database, and the Open Data Directory provides links to over 400,000 databases of numeric data on a wide range of subjects.  For scientific data, Wolfram Alpha is a good source; it presents data in tabular or graphical format. Lexxe searches data by using a “semantic key” approach and also reports results in a chart.

Karen Blakeman, Trainer and Consultant, RBA Information Systems, looked at what search engines know about us, and “a lot” is known, so users must be well aware of this when as they do their searches.  In particular, Google knows us very well and personalizes search results based on the user’s location browser, search history, blocked sites, “liked” sites, etc.  Searches based on the user’s location attempt to return rresults relevant to the country, but they may return erroneous results because a company’s switchboard may be located in a different country, for example, which has implications because access to some sites is blocked outside their local region.

Panopticlick will test your browser configuration and report how unique it appears to be.  (The more unique it is, the easier it is to track unique information about the user.)

Search personalization and localization may not be all bad for users; for example, it is useful if you need to quickly find a local restaurant or are researching comapnies in a particular country.  To explicitly search local listings, country versions of search engines are useful.  Several browsers have an anonymous searching feature that turns off saving of searches, personalization, etc.  You can also set your ad preferences in Google (www.google.com/ads/preferences).

Facebook is notorious for making it difficult to delete material, and it even keeps it even when you think you have deleted it.  Europe v. Facebook is a collection of complaints against Facebook and instructions for residents of Europe to request their data from Facebook under EU privacy laws.

In the news area, Google can seriously damage search results.  Mary Ellen Bates recently did an experiment where she asked several searchers to enter the term “Israel” and send her the results.  The results were startling:  More than 25% of the stories were retrieved by only one searcher, and only 12% of the searchers saw the same 3 stories in the same order in their results.  Google’s recently introduced “Standout” feature to tag content will make the situation worse.

So what should a searcher do?  You can reject cookies, but then many searches will not run.  Active management of cookies is possible, but it is time consuming.  Scroogle.org provides an anonymized interface to Google, but it is for web search only.  Duck Duck Go and Blekko do not keep web history of personalize search results.

Here are Karen’s recommendations in this uncertain and sometimes scary search world.

  • You have some control over personalization, so damage limitation is sometimes possible.
  • Sometimes a web search history is a convenience and personalization is a good thing.  You must make this decision.
  • If you have a Google or Bing account, be sure to log out of it when not using it.
  • Regularly check your dashboard privacy settings, and ad preferences.
  • Clear histories if you do not need them.
  • Remember that if you delete all cookies, you will lose your opt-out preferences.
This was an information-packed session and one that all information professionals should look at.  You are certain to find something of interest!

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor