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IFLA Conference Grantees Reports Available

IFLA 2011 Conference Grantees

IFLA regularly awards travel grants for attendance at its annual conference.  For the 2011 conference in San Juan, PR, 40 grants were awarded to attendees from Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and Oceania, Africa, and developing countries.  Recipients were required to be a member of their national library association and write a report on their experiences at the conference.  Several of the reports are now available here; they give an interesting perspective on the conference from a first-time attendee’s point of view.  More reports will be added as they become available.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

IFLA Wraps Up; Next Year in Helsinki; Singapore in 2013

IFLA 2011 in San Juan, PR has passed into history.  Photos and reports from the final sessions are on the IFLA Express website.  Final attendance was 2,593, making San Juan a successful event.

Next year, the 78th IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) will be in Helsinki, Finland, on August 11-17.  Singapore has been selected as the venue for the 79th WLIC; dates will be announced later.  Sponsors will be the  National Library Board of Singapore and the Library Association of Singapore.

At the closing session in San Juan, Ingrid Parent, University Librarian at the University of British Columbia, Canada, became President of IFLA, succeeding Ellen Tise, Senior Director, Library and Information Services, J.S. Gericke Library, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

Look for a report on the San Juan congress in an upcoming issue of Information Today.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

This is Our Library: The Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Outside the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Photo courtesy of Dina Youssef

I was interested in the report of a presentation by author Dina Youssef on the IFLA Express site, describing the effects of the recent uprisings in Egypt on libraries, and particularly the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.  A security guard was quoted: “This is our library.  It belongs to our children”.  Youssef’s report showed some of the remarkable efforts of citizens in protecting the library and how it was preserved from violence and damage, including these inspiring concluding thoughts:

“Because this valuable resource was spared a violent end, it can now be a cornerstone for rebuilding the new Egypt.  The library will lead the movement to collect, organize, and make public the artifacts and evidences of this revolution.  Those standing arm in arm around this building have come to represent the new Egypt, where the diverse population appreciates that libraries are not just buildings with books.  Libraries are the gateways to knowledge and knowledge is the foundation of empowerment.”

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

New Semantic Web Group to Meet at IFLA 2011

A new Semantic Web Special Interest Group (SWSIG) will meet for the first time at the IFLA 2011 Congress on Wednesday August 17 at 9:30 AM.  According to an e-mail that I received, “the SWSIG intends to be the platform where interested professionals could gather, and undertake whatever tasks are needed to develop, enhance and facilitate the adoption of semantic Web technologies in the library community.”

Interest in semantic technologies continues to grow as data mining, taxonomies, and similar techniques become important in the development of large information data sets, digital libraries, etc.  If you are attending the IFLA Congress, this is a good opportunity to learn more about them.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor


IFLA 2011 Conference Opens in San Juan

IFLA’s 2011  Conference opened yesterday in San Juan, PR.  I’m not attending the conference (physically, at least), but I got a good sense of the events of opening day by looking at IFLA Express, the dedicated website for daily news and updates.  The opening session was well represented with a large collection of photos, including crowd shots.  Take a look–you might see someone you know.  I spotted Jane Dysart and Frank Cervone, long-time attendees at ITI’s Computers in Libraries and Internet Librarian conferences.  (Jane is Program Chair of these two events, and Frank has made many presentations at them.)

IFLA Express also features a daily video with an interview with a selected guest.  Today’s video was on the subject of “Policy, Strategy, and Advocacy, and the guest was Helena Asamoah-Hassan, University Librarian at KNUST Library in Kumasi, Ghana.  And the sidebar provides links to posts by bloggers at the conference.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor


Scenes of San Juan (site of the IFLA 2011 Conference)

If you are going to the IFLA conference starting in a few days, I hope you will have a chance to visit the Old City of San Juan, with its great restaurants, historical sites, and fascinating architecture. You will find that life moves at quite a different pace than in many other cities of the world, as the photos below show. (Full disclosure: the first one was taken about 6 months ago when my wife and I visited San Juan on a cruise.  The second photo is from another island, but there are very similar signs in San Juan.)

Enjoy your visit and the conference.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

Are You Blogging at the IFLA Conference?

In the spirit of cooperation with our IFLA colleagues, I reproduce here a recent e-mail for those blogging at the upcoming conference in San Juan.  (Having sent very similar e-mails for ITI’s Internet Librarian and Computers in Libraries conferences, I can attest that this is a great way to get good publicity for your blog.)

Dear Colleagues

Will you be blogging about this year’s upcoming World Library and Information Congress in San Juan, Puerto Rico? Or are you already?

If so, we would like to add your blog to a list of blogs dedicated to, or with posts about the San Juan Congress on our special ‘Follow the conference as it happens’ (IFLA Express) website:

Become an IFLA blogger by:

1. tagging your posts wlic2011 so we can add them to our Activity Stream
2. and officially registering your blog. Just send a note, with your name and blog’s URL, to:

See you in San Juan!

IFLA Web team

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

August Events: ITI Summer Conferences, IFLA, IASL, ACS-CINF, and More

August is the peak of the summer vacation season in the Northern Hemisphere, but there are still some important conferences on the calendar.

ITI’s Summer Conferences

Information Today’s CRM Evolution 2011 conference (New York, August 8-10) will feature David Gergen, Senior Political Analyst for CNN, and former adviser to four U.S. presidents, and Brent Leary, Partner, CRM Essentials, as keynote speakers.  SpeechTEK 2011, co-located with CRM Evolution, features a panel entitled “Mobility — A Game-Changer for Speech?” and a closing endnote session entitled “Prescription: What’s Needed to Move Speech Forward?”, as well as SpeechTEK University, a series of 3-hour focused talks.


In keeping with its tradition, IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, will hold its 2011 Annual General Conference and Assembly—a major event on the yearly conference calendar.  The 2011 conference theme is “Libraries beyond libraries: Integration, Innovation and Information for all”. This year will be the 77th meeting, and it will be held in San Juan, PR on August 13-18.  The program is now available on the conference website, and a lineup of distinguished plenary speakers has been recruited:

  • Dr. Fernando Picó S.J., a highly-respected Puerto Rican humanist, historian, and professor will be the opening keynote speaker. Picó is an expert on 19th century Puerto Rico and is considered the highest authority in this area and more generally in the field of the island’s history.  He is currently Professor of History at Universidad de Puerto Rico, and he has written the definitive history of Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico: A General History.
  • Mr Trevor C. Clarke, Assistant Director General, Culture and Creative Industries Sector, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will be another plenary speaker.  See an earlier post on this blog for further details.
  • Dr. Mayra Santos-Febres, a Puerto Rican writer of poems, essays, stories and novels and Professor of Literature at the University of Puerto Rico, will speak on Tuesday, August 16.
  • Luis Molina-Casanova, Resident Filmmaker and professor at the Communications Department of the University of the Sacred Heart in San Juan, will be a plenary speaker on Wednesday, August 17.

A full program of presentations and an exhibit hall will round out the conference.  Over 100 papers are already on the website and are available for downloading.  In addition, 15 satellite meetings have been arranged at locations not only in Puerto Rico, but also in other Caribbean venues as well as far away as Atlanta, GA; Miami, FL; and Mexico City.  Most of them have their own websites; links are available on the conference Satellite Meetings page and on the ITI Conference Calendar.  Finally, translations of presentations for French-speaking attendees are available.


The International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) will hold its annual conference as well as an IFLA Satellite Meeting immediately prior to the IFLA conference.  The IASL will meet in Kingston, Jamaica on August 7-11; its conference theme is “School Libraries: Empowering the 21st Century Learner”.  The opening keynote speaker will be Ellen Tise, current President of IFLA and Senior Director, Library and Information Services at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.  Four other keynote presentations are on the program.  The IASL Pre-Conference Meeting is on August 5; the keynote speaker will be Mrs Avril Crawford, CEO e-Learning Jamaica Co. Ltd.


Alexander "Sandy" Lawson

The American Chemical Society’s Division of Chemical Information (ACS-CINF) will hold a series of symposia at the annual ACS meeting (August 28 – September 1, Denver, CO).  The 2011 Herman Skolnik Award, given to recognize “outstanding contributions to and achievements in the theory and practice of chemical information science and related disciplines” will be presented to Professor Dr. Alexander (Sandy) Lawson, a pioneer in the fields of chemical structure handling, database searching, chemical nomenclature, reading machines, and linking text and structural information.  For most of his career, Lawson was involved with the Beilstein Handbook and the Beilstein Database. He is the developer of the “Lawson Number”, which enhances searches of the database.



Here are some other conferences on the program for August.

  • The Society of American Archivists (SAA) holds its 75th Annual Meeting, entitled ARCHIVES 360°, in Chicago on August 22-27.  Several events are planned in celebration of the society’s significant anniversary.


—    The 3rd International Summer School on Semantic Computing will be in Berkeley, CA.  It provides an introduction to this interdisciplinary field via tutorials and plenary addresses.

—    The 5th International Workshop on Modular Ontologies is part of the 23rd European Summer School in Logic, Language and Information (ESSLLI), and will be in Ljubljana, Slovenia.  According to the conference website, “modularity is central not only to reduce the complexity of understanding ontologies, but also to facilitate ontology maintenance and ontology reasoning.”

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor




IFLA Announces 2011 Annual Meeting Plenary Speaker

Trevor C. Clarke

IFLA has announced that Mr Trevor C. Clarke, Assistant Director General, Culture and Creative Industries Sector of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), will present a plenary address at its Annual General Meeting (August 13-18 , San Juan, PR) on Monday, August 15.

Trevor C. Clarke, a native of Barbados, has served with distinction in various areas of telecommunication and investment promotion.  He has held top executive positions at Cable and Wireless (Barbados) and has been a director of several Cable and Wireless companies in the Caribbean region.  In 2003, Mr. Clarke was appointed Permanent Representative and Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, and Special Representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO).  He joined WIPO in 2009, where he leads WIPO’s diverse activities in the complex field of copyright and related rights.

In the year 2000, he was a recipient of the Barbados Centennial Honours (BCH), and in 2003 he received the Gold Crown of Merit (GCM) – Barbados’ second highest national honour. In March 2005 Mr. Clarke was named Barbados’ non-resident Ambassador to Japan – a position he still holds.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

More on the IFLA Keynote Speaker

Fernando Picó

IFLA has released biographical information on Fernando Picó, the keynote speaker at its annual conference in San Juan in August:

The Jesuit priest Fernando Picó was born in Santurce on August 15, 1941. He had his primary education at the Colegio San Ignacio, where his ecclesiastical interests started. He moved to the United States to study for a BA at the University of Springfield and then further to study at Johns Hopkins. His religious propensity led him to join the Jesuits and become a priest. Picó distinguishes himself through his total dedication to the cause of the less fortunate and the study of the history of Puerto Rico.

Picó is an expert on Nineteenth-century Puerto Rico. In fact, he is considered the highest authority in this area of study (XIX century) and in the field of the island’s history.

In 1971, he made his final vows as a priest and, following, completed his doctorate in history. He has studied in Spain, Italy and the United States.

Fernando Picó has also served as Professor of History of Puerto Rico. Picó is considered one of the great intellectuals and historians of the island, and has written and published in several magazines and newspapers, both in Puerto Rico and abroad.

His work “Puerto Rico: General history” is compulsory when studying the history of Puerto Rico. In 1997, the Week of the Library at the University of Puerto Rico, was dedicated to him for being an example as an academic and a scholar. His articles in ‘Claridad’ [a Puerto Rican periodical] and ‘El Nuevo Dia’ usually carry a positive message on how to help improve the quality of life in Puerto Rico. He has also written children’s stories, for example, “The red comb”.

Generally, Fernando Picó is seen as a model for modern historians, for  his dedication, commitment and devotion to his work as an historian.


Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor