February Conferences: Personal Information Management, Publishing, Search Engines, and More

Personal Information Management

Personal information management is a topic of growing interest, particularly in the current information environment, as the amount of information available in digital form continues to increase and the time to assimilate it is shrinking.  Two conferences on this subject will occur in February.

The Internet Archive has organized a second Personal Digital Archiving conference (PDA 2012) to be held at its headquarters in San Francisco on February 23-24.  The program features traditional presentations and panels as well as an ad hoc series of “lightning talks” to be arranged during the conference.  Last year’s conference was very successful (see the postings about it on this blog), and this year’s event promises more of the same.

A workshop on Personal Information Management (PIM) has been part of various industry meetings since 2005.  This year’s workshop will be the 5th PIM Workshop; the theme is “PIM in a Socially Networked World”.  It will be held in Seattle, WA on February 11-12 in conjunction with the CSCW Conference (see below) and will focus on current research in a number of related fields, such as human-computer interaction, database management, information retrieval, and artificial intelligence.


The 2012 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW, Seattle, WA, February 11-15) is the 15th in the series, and its program is larger than any previous conference.  It encompasses a wide range of subjects, such as social media, community efforts, human knowledge, privacy, software development, etc.  The opening keynote speaker will be Yochai Benkler, Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard, and faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.  According to the conference website, over 500 attendees have already registered.


The iConference 2012 (Toronto, ON, February 7-10) will focus on critical information issues in contemporary society, such as social media, ethics, digital humanities, crowdsourcing, and digital culture.  In addition to 2 keynote addresses, there will be 53 presentations, 96 posters, workshops, and other events.  A series of “alternative events” is also scheduled, one of which will revisit the perennial question, “What is Information?”


O’Reilly’s annual Tools of Change (TOC) for Publishing conference, again predicted to be a major sellout event, will be in New York on February 13-15 (pre-conference workshops are on the 13th).  A detailed program is available on the conference website.  The keynote addresses and some of the sessions will be live streamed, allowing virtual attendance.

The Publishing Expo (billed by its organizers as “the UK’s Only Multi-Platform Show”) will be in London on February 28-29.  From its description it seems to be similar to TOC:

“In 2012 Publishing Expo will shape the future of publishing with over 100 leading industry suppliers and ground breaking education from publishing’s best, covering any content and any channel, in digital, print or mobile.”

An extensive program of seminars (which drew over 3,300 attendees last year) is offered concurrently with the main Expo, addressing such topics as “What sense do the old publishing job roles make any more?” and “What shape and size are likely to comprise the optimum for a publishing company in the next generation?”

Searching and Search Engines

The periodic Search Engine Strategies (SES) and Search Marketing Expo (SMX) events are both occurring this month.  SES London will be on February 20-24.  According to the SES website:

“The SES series operates under a variety of formats around the world, from large-scale multi-tracked conferences and exhibitions to more intimate forum style events and in-depth training courses drilling into the detail on specific topics…”

SES London is a large-scale conference with search engine optimization (SEO) a major topic.  For most of the program, there will be 3 simultaneous tracks from which to choose, many of which are at an introductory or basic level.  SES is also presenting a 1-day “Search & Social Media Accelerator Day” in San Diego, CA on February 9 at the Online Marketing Summit.  It has 3 tracks and appears to be a miniature version of one of the larger SES conferences.

 SMX is holding its SMX West event in San Jose, CA on February 28 – March 1.  It will feature a keynote discussion with Susan Wojciki, Sr. Vice President of Advertising at Google, and search experts Danny Sullivan and Chris Sherman from Search Engine Land.Wojciki is prominent in the search advertising field and manages Google’s advertising and measurement platforms including AdWords, AdSense and Google Analytics.  She has been with Google since 1999 and was one of its earliest employees.  (In fact, her house was Google’s first official “headquarters” after it moved from the campus of Stanford University.)  She was 16th on Forbes Magazine’s 2011 list of the world’s 100 most powerful women.

Although many of the subjects covered at SMX are similar to those at SES, SMX takes a more focused and cutting edge view of search marketing and allied subjects like SEO, primarily because the program is personally organized by Sullivan and Sherman, who make a special effort to recruit leading experts as speakers.  As is well known to readers of this blog, currency and technological advances are especially important in a highly competitive business such as search marketing.  SMX has events in major cities of the world throughout the year.

The 5th ACM Web Search and Data Mining (WSDM 2012) Conference will take place in Seattle, WA on February 8-12.  WSDM features presentations on research in search and data mining, as well as practical models and applications, algorithm design, economic analysis, and similar topics.  The opening keynote speaker is Hal Varian, Emeritus Professor in the School of Information Management & Systems at the University of California, Berkeley and Chief Economist at Google.  His topic is “Nowcasting the Macroeconomy with Search Engine Data”.  The endnote address will be by Hillary Mason, Chief Scientist at bit.ly, who will speak on “The Secret Life of Social Links”.

Society Meetings

Here are some of the major society meetings scheduled in February:


SSP 2012 Librarian Focus Group Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) January 31 Washington, DC
AAP/PSP 2012 Annual Conference: Prospering With Digital: Making Investments Pay Association of American Publishers (AAP) Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division (PSP) February 1-3 Washington, DC
2012 ACP Mid-Winter Meeting Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) February 3-4 Toronto, ON
ICSTI Annual Members’ Meeting and Workshop 2012 International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI) February 3-5 Paris, France
VALA 2012 Conference VALA – Libraries, Technology and the Future Inc. February 6-9 Melbourne, Australia
ALPSP Seminar: Digital Strategy Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) February 9 London, UK
54th NFAIS Annual Conference: Born of Disruption: An Emerging New Normal for the Information Landscape National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS) February 26-28 Philadelphia, PA
ASA Annual Conference 2012: “The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Invent It” Association of Subscription Agents (ASA) February 27-28 London, UK

Other February conferences are listed on the ITI Conference Calendar.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

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