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Conference Presentations Posted

Many of the presentations given at CIL are already posted on the web (CIL 2006 Presentations), thanks to VP of Technology and AV magician Bill Spence. More will go up as he receives them from speakers.

Nancy Garman
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A New Conference Dynamic?

Lorcan Dempsey’s post-conference post, Extending the Audience, contained some thoughtful comments about library bloggers, the topics they were discussing, and their relationship to the program itself.

He also reflected that his own presentation made him think about the audience – and realize that speakers are beginning to not only address the local audience at an event, but an extended audience mediated by the bloggers. Dempsey posits that this sets up a “new dynamic” worth watching as “face to face meetings continue to co-evolve with the network conversation.”

As conference organizers, we at ITI are working to extend the conference dynamic across many types of media. We hope our conference audiences and blog readers will join us in co-evolving the network conversation. Thanks for saying it so eloquently, Lorcan.

Nancy Garman
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It’s Back to Work We Go

Over 2000 librarians went back to work this week, energized and inspired by what they heard at Computers in Libraries 2006. Thousands more “virtual attendees” read blog posts here and on the blogs of over 40 bloggers who were at the conference.

The CIL 2006 tag aggregated posts on Technorati, Flickr,and elsewhere, offering those who could not attend a snapshot what was happening around the conference. Like last fall during Internet Librarian, the CIL tag was one of Flickr’s “Hot Tags” last week!

Nancy Garman
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21 Years Ago, Who Would Have Thought!

The 21st CIL conference is now concluded. When I think back 21 years to 1985, I’m amazed at all the changes that have occurred, not only in the information business but in the world at large. Back then, computers were just getting established in libraries and were used for fairly routine tasks. One of the main uses of computers then was for online searching, and it was primarily done by trained intermediaries. The database producers and aggregators were trying to figure out how to reach end users, but success eluded them except for some isolated instances. Now, of course, computers are found in a multiplicity of uses in libraries, so today we are concerned not only with the hardware, but also with applications and services. This is well exemplified in the subjects of the three keynote addresses at CIL 2006. They discussed searching and search engines, the mobile future, and the role of the Internet on the up and coming Millennial generation.

Searching is now part of the mainstream and is largely taken for granted. The conference organizers recognized this by devoting the first keynote to a report on advances in search engines by noted authority Chris Sherman. He told us that he had just returned from a search engine conference in China, where there are some unique search problems and issues. Although search engines are commonplace, they continue to change, develop, and add features. Indeed, some of them have added so much to basic searching that one wonders what business they really are in. For example, Sherman suggested that Google could be regarded as an advertising company, ISP, eBay clone, TV network, banker, mapping company, or perhaps a healthcare provider. Google has even branched out of this world and now provides maps of the moon and Mars!

Megan Fox told us that the mobile society is here, and it is critical to recognize that developing services for it is a necessity. She reviewed the devices and some services that we can expect to see coming in the near future. Libraries are beginning to cater to the mobile generation, and they must continue this trend.

Finally, Lee Rainie provided eight characteristics of the Millennial generation, which is the largest and most diverse generation in US history. So they will have a huge influence on libraries and the services they offer. Concepts of “smart mobs”, “continuous partial attention”, “soft surveillance”, and “information support” are entering the lexicon as a result of the lifestyles of this generation. Rainie’s keynote address was a clear call to action for librarians who must address the information habits and needs of Millennials.

If you were to ask me to nominate the presentation that made the biggest impression on me, I would have to vote for Mark Peterbaugh’s description of the use of gaming technology to develop a virtual interface to an academic library. The interface is innovative and forward-looking and is a fascinating use of a technology that is pervasive in today’s society. I expect to hear more about these virtual interfaces to libraries in the future.

So CIL is really no longer just about Computers in libraries—it has morphed into a technology conference on new applications in today’s Internet-dominated world. We were told at the outset that CIL 2006 had a record-breaking attendance of over 2,300 – and the final count was over 2,600. That fact alone shows that CIL is well tuned to the library arena and bodes well for its continuance and future success,

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today

Ready to Meet the Challenges

Conferences to me are all about networking, learning, asking questions and answering others, sharing, and really stretching our minds to embrace new ideas and new ways of doing things. It’s a chance to prepare for the challenges ahead. This year’s CIL certainly provided the opportunity for all these things. And, indeed, there are challenges, which can and should be seen as exciting possibilities. A number of sessions highlighted what libraries and librarians face: Web 2.0, digitization, new technologies, search engines, Google, and more.

I like how Gary Price put it in the Friday session titled SEs and Libraries: The role of libraries on the Internet. “Is there a role for libraries and librarians on the Internet? YES – and we need to speak up louder! It’s time to shine. We have huge roles as educators. Information literacy is more important than ever.” He noted that marketing and branding continue to be issues of concern for libraries. He advised attendees to learn from Google about the power of viral, word-of-mouth marketing.

Another speaker in that session, Chip Nilges of OCLC is responsible for the Open WorldCat program, a shared platform that adds a syndication model to WorldCat. It’s an exciting time to be working on behalf of libraries, he said. But the recent report on users’ perceptions of libraries noted that 84 percent of users start their research with a search engine. His advice: “The name of the game is meeting the user at the point of need.” To do this, Open WorldCat partners with Google, Yahoo Search, MSN, and Ask. For users it provides a “find in a library” function for book results. Recent enhancements include enhanced data feeds, inbound linking via ISBN, ISSN, OCLC number, and permalinks. All of this has more than doubled the traffic on WorldCat. It has also increased a library’s impact.

Challenges for the information professional? You bet. Bring it on.

Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief, Information Today, Inc.

KD’s Quote of the Day, #3

Everything has a price; it’s just not coming out of your pocket for this one.

K. Matthew Dames, publisher of Search & Text Mining Report, explaining part of the reason why everyone can search Google for free. In exchange for letting people search for “free,” Google gathers tons of information about users that the company can leverage in other ways.

Time to take all my new knowledge home!

Kathy Dempsey, CIL magazine, Editor-in-Chief

Cervone’s Good Geeky Utilities

Frank Cervone, the software geek at Northwestern University (otherwise known as assistant university librarian for information technology), gave a very useful talk about free and inexpensive products that can provide protection against all manor of unsavory and dangerous items in our IT environments. He covered 5 categories of products: antivirus, firewalls, spyware detection and removal, Anti-trojans and rootkit removers, and generally useful utilities.

While I was familiar with some of the products he discussed, many of them were new to me. And, I’d never even heard of a rootkit (rootkits compromise computer systems without detection). I particularly appreciated his assessments on strengths and weaknesses of each. For example, he recommended using a virus detection product like
Bitdefender 8, even if you use one from Norton. While ZoneAlarm is a firewall product I use, he noted that Outpost Free Firewall offers a bit more than ZoneAlarm in the free version and does real time connection monitoring (processes and ports).

Frank said that much of his work lately has been directed at spyware detection and removal. One that stood out was Spybot Search and Destroy. He said he uses this in the library as the first line of defense. Recent changes to program make it even better for system start-up checking and it allows you to fix registry inconsistencies. The product provides flexibility that some others don’t.

He covered a long list of products and provided a lot of URLs. He said the presentation would be available on the CIL site. I highly recommend taking a look at this when it is posted. Our computers are just too important not to protect properly and he’s had a wealth of experience testing these products. He did mention a “favorite”—CCleaner, a registry and file cleaner that works very well.

Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief, Information Today, Inc.

Reflections & Connections @ CIL 2006

Managing Digital: Innovations, Initiatives & Insights has been a great theme for the Computers in Libraries conference this year. So many speakers have built upon the talks of other speakers and conversations they have had with colleagues. It’s wonderful to see things come together after months of planning.
Several speakers told me today that after converstaions and hearing other presentations, they changed their still-to-be-presented talks. Brian Pomeroy, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, changed the title of his talk from The Exploding Future of Social Communication to The Exploding Future & the Value of Foresight. Not to worry — updated presentations will be online at the CIL web site in a few weeks. Watch for them.
Jane Dysart, Program Chair, CIL2006

Gadgets, Gadgets, and More Gadgets

For me, the gadget session presented by Hope Tillman of Babson College is always a “don’t miss”. Gadgets are fun, and there are so many new ones out there! Hope’s session usually points me to the next “toy” that I will buy. This year’s session did not disappoint.

Hope suggested that we can get a revealing look at our world by consulting the Beloit College Mindset List, which lists all the things that students in each incoming class have always had in their lives. For example, the class of 2008 has always been able to have photographs processed in an hour or less, Alan Greenspan has always been setting the nation’s financial direction, and computers have always suffered from viruses.

So what is a gadget? According to the dictionary, gadgets are more unusual or more cleverly designed than normal technology. But are they productivity enhancers or distractions? Are they useful or just time-consuming toys? They blur work and personal time, which is not necessarily a good thing! Gadgets represent what consumers are willing to buy, reflect customization and personalization trends, and continue to change.

Library applications of gadgets include marketing (podcasts, blogs, etc.), operations, communication and collaboration (IM, Wikis, Video conferencing, and learning or entertainment.

For librarians, Hope recommends Peter Morville’s book Ambient Findability as a “must read”. Below are a few screenshots of the gadgets that Hope described; her presentation will shortly be available on her Web site.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today


The Internet: Enhancing Work and Play

The final day of CIL 2006 was kicked off by Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Internet and American Life project, (shown in the photo speaking with Marydee Ojala, Editor of ONLINE magazine) who gave us a fascinating look at how the Internet is enhancing work and play. He focused on the Millennial generation and gave us eight realities of the lives of this large generation. The main point of his talk was that it’s important for librarians to address the needs of this generation. Here are the eight realities:

1. Millennials are a distinct age group, according to many measures of generational behavior and attitude. They are the biggest and most diverse generation in US history—now comprising 36% of total population. This age group will be bigger than the Boomers. They are more diverse—31% are minorities. They are special, sheltered, confident, team-oriented, achieving, pressured, conventional, tech-embracing (but not necessarily tech-savvy—they are digital natives in a land of digital immigrants and have never known a day without a computer. Rainie recommended that everyone read the book Millenials Rising by Howe and Strauss, published in 2000.

2. Millennials are immersed in a world of technology and gadgets. Nearly half of them have broadband access at home. They expect to be able to gather and share information using multiple devices. Their information needs are contextual and contingent on whatever device they happen to be using.

3. Millennials’ technology is mobile. They share information in ways that allow them to act quickly. Rainie called this activity “smart mobs” in which spontaneous text messaging or cell phone calls leads immediately to unplanned action by a large number of people.

4. The Internet plays a special role in their world. 33% of online teens share their own creations (artwork, photos, stories, videos) online. 57% of them have contributed a creation to the online world. 32% have created or worked on blogs or web pages for others, 22% keep their own personal webpage, 19% have created their own journal or blog, and19% say they remix online content into their own artistic creations.

5. They are multi-taskers and approach research as a self-directed process. Libraries can serve them by positioning themselves as “info support” organizations (like tech support). They do 8½ hours of activity in 6-1/3 hours by “continuous partial attention”—simultaneously scanning several incoming alerts for the one activity most interesting to them.

6. Millennials are often unaware of and indifferent to the consequences of their use of technology, i.e. copyright, privacy. They are constantly doing “soft surveillance” (checking out what their friends are doing) using the Net. They need to be educated about copyright principles and media literacy.

7. Their (our) technology world will change radically in the next decade. The Internet will change from a network of people to a network of things (using RFID devices, etc.). More mobility will be built into the environment. Search will get better. The long tail will get more important.

8. The way that Millennials approach learning and research tasks will be shaped by their new techno-world. Learning and research will be more self-directed, more reliant on feedback and response, more tied to group knowledge, and oriented to people being their own modes of production.

Rainie’s best advice to librarians in dealing with the Millennial generation is to just be brilliant at what you do!

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today