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With Appreciation

At this time, I would like to thank everyone who participated in the blog, including Searcher Magazine’s new international columnist Susanne Bjorner for her excellent coverage of the meeting’s international forums. Watch for her new column, Both Sides Now, which will appear in Searcher, starting with the January 2005 issue.

To all the ITI staff bloggers–Marydee Ojala, Paula Hane, Nancy Garman, Michelle Manafy, Kinley Levack, and Don Hawkins–pat on the back goes here (and don’t expect anything more in your pay).

And last but not least, thanks to the founder of the feast, EBSCO Information Services, for their kind sponsorship of this endeavor.

Dick Kaser
ITI VP, Content

The 19th Century Meets the 21st Century

I couldn’t agree more with Dick about stands I should have visited and people I missed seeing at stands I did visit. I stopped at the Thomson Gale booth for birthday cake — it’s their 50th — and learned about the latest digitization project, the 19th Century Collections Online. This follows their 18th Century digitization effort and presents researchers with a full text, fully searchable archive of 150,000 works and editions printed in England during the 19th century. The collection is sourced from Gale’s materials, the British Library, and some other libraries Gale didn’t name. A terrific resource for historical research.

Unfortunately I missed seeing Gale’s CEO, Gordon Macomber. Sorry, Gordon!

Marydee Ojala

Editor, ONLINE: The Leading Magazine for Information Professionals

And for All the Things Left Undone

After Day 1 of the exhibition, I told Martin White, the planner of this meeting’s conference program, that I had managed to visit about 4 stands an hour; and at that rate, I might be done by New Years.

Unfortunately the trade show lasts only 3 days and there are only so many hours in a day.

So, by way of apology to the many fine exhibitors I missed on this go-around, I can only say, I’ll try to make it up to you sometime.

To our readers, I can only say, please visit our Web site to keep up with industry developments, which we cover on an ongoing basis. Also, please do subscribe to our publications, including the Information Today newspaper, ONLINE magazine, Searcher, EContent, KMWorld, Computers in Libraries . . .

To cover such a large and diverse industry requires more than a couple of days. But in the course of every year, we try to cover all the news that’s fit to share, and in that way we try to do the industry justice.

Dick Kaser

ITI VP, Content

What Goes Up . . .

After blogging my reports last night, I ended my day with a visit back to the trade show floor.

Though it was only but a few hours since the Online Information & Content Management Europe trade show for 2004 had closed, the stands were already mostly “broken down” and put away into their massive shipping cases.

Gone too was the rattle, hum, and buzz of an industry that, true to its annual tradition, had assembled here in London for a short but frenetic time.

Dick Kaser

ITI VP, Content

Loyd Not Lloyd

Correction time. I spelled the first name of the banquet presenter wrong. It’s Loyd not Lloyd. And did I find this out by Googling, Yahooing, or Ask Jeeving his name? I did not. I was browsing the shelves in the local Tesco and found food jars bearing his eponymous tradename. Picking up one of them, I saw a photograph of his face, confirming that indeed it was the same person. Ah, the many resources available to an information specialist!

Marydee Ojala

Editor, ONLINE: The Leading Magazine for Information Specialists

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I’m leaving on a jet plane…I know when I’ll be back again…but…I hate to go…

The end of a conference always leaves me with long undone to-do list of people, products, and ideas that I hoped to explore and missed. My beat for this blog was the conference sessions — a great excuse to listen and soak up what the speakers had to say, but it meant I barely got around the exhibit hall, so I’ll have to read our blog like the rest of you to find out what’s new!

At the same time, what a high! It was wonderful to connect with old friends, meet new people, learn new things, see colleagues like Carol Tenopir and Mary Peterson receive high honors, and leave recharged and confident that the industry and our profession is moving forward.

Blog on! It was especially fun to be part of the ITI blog team and help make the case for blogs as a viable communication medium.

Now, I’m headin’ for that jet plane…

Nancy Garman
Information Today, Inc.

Blogs in Libraries and Business Settings

The session was titled Adding Value to An Intranet, but it was all about blogs and RSS — and the room was full. I missed Timo Hannay from the Nature Publishing Group speak on RSS (was still next door listening to Allan Scott talk about enterprise search), but I caught most of Anne Clyde’s very good review of her survey of the use of blogs in libraries. The verdict — things are happening, but frequently library blog projects are ad hoc and the results remain unquantified. “Anyone looking for a thesis topic?” Anne asked?

The next speaker was billed in the conference programme as a case study on the use of blogs in business, and Adriana Cronin-Lukas from The Big Blog Company made a good case for blogs in an enterprise environment and briefly described four case studies of internal blogs (Disney, Google, InfoWorld, and LINX, an association).

Peter Scott, the session moderator, encouraged the delegates to continue the discussion at the roundtable discussion over lunch, and it was clear from the questions at the session and the lunchtime roundtable that many librarians are exploring the potential of blogs — but cautiously.

Nancy Garman

Information Today, Inc.

So Much to Hear, So Little Time

By this morning I succumbed to the temptation of dashing in and out of sessions to hear parts of several tracks and sessions. It’s always tough to pick just one track to attend and putting the Enterprise Search track opposite the one on Intranets, Blogs, and Portals made my choices especially difficult today. The room monitors quickly grew tired of scanning my badge every time I went in and out of the rooms since I definitely was skewing their counts!

Here’s a smattering of what I heard and saw in the Enterprise Search track, admittedly a partial review (but read on, dear reader, to find out where I was when I missed some of these sessions);
– John Lervik in the Enterprise Search keynote with a good overview on trends
– Mikael Thorson talking about his consulting firm’s model for selecting the right enterprise search engine (dry but worthwhile)
– Steve Whittaker’s review of his research at University of Sheffield on future trends in search

All three provided valuable insights, but delegates who were looking for answers to their own internal search dilemmas probably headed for lunch wanting more specifics.

Fortunately, Martin Belam and Ben Anderson in one afternoon session in this track got down to the realities of implementing search and how to make things findable for users. Ben admitted they hadn’t pushed the power of Verity’s K2 software, and said he’d picked his battles in the implementation process and that there was way more work still to be done. It was very good to hear this young IT-oriented professional put his work in the context of his library background and what librarians’ organizational skills bring to such projects.

Nancy Garman
Information Today, Inc.

The best giveaway?

I’m always on the lookout for the most interesting or creative or useful giveaway from the exhibit hall stands…

At the conclusion of the show I was handed a round white disk, about 1 1/2 inches thick, from the Publications Office of the European Union.

The directions:

Sortir le tee-shirt de l’emballage,

le passer sous l’eau,

le repasser: le tee-shirt

reprenda sa forme originale.

It’s a good thing there were good graphics, showing that disk+water=tee-shirt.

With my French, I never would have understood how to produce a teeshirt by immersing it in water!

Susanne Bjorner

Searcher magazine, “Both Sides Now” columnist