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Internet Librarian @ 20 — Looking Forward Retrospectively: The Tuesday Evening Session


Tom Hogan Sr. and Jane Dysart

Tom Hogan Sr. and Jane Dysart

20 years ago, Tom Hogan, Sr., President of Information Today, Inc. (ITI)  had a vision about a new conference. He took us back to 1995 when ITI ran the National Online Meeting (it existed from 1980 to 2003). The Internet killed the NOM. Roger Bilboul ran the International Online Information Meeting, and Alan Meckler ran Computers in Libraries. In 1995, Mecckler was on the verge of starting a conference called Internet World. He approached ITI and offered to sell them CIL, which started in 1996. Tom asked Jane Dysart to be the Program Chair and she agreed. After ITI took over CIL and focused it on libraries, attendance went from 500-600 in 1995 to 1,800 in 1996. Jane sent an email to Tom asking if there would be room for a west coast version of CIL.

After about 6 months, Kathy Hogan (Tom’s daughter) and Tom came to California to look for a venue for a west coast CIL and wound up in Monterey. They visited the Portola Plaza Hotel, looked at the town, and decided to have a conference. Alan Meckler suggested that it be called “Internet Librarian” (IL). At the first IL, there were 1,100 attendees. After the first year, there were no dates available for the conference, so it was held in Pasadena, Palm Springs, and San Diego, but it eventually returned to Monterey.

Jane said that at that time, everybody was trying to find out more about the internet.  This thirst for knowledge gave the conference a big boost. Some things like digitization are still important. Monterey is a special place, with its Aquarium, Fishermen’s Wharf, etc. The programs have always been around tips, tools, and knowledge sharing. Most people say they always learn something at IL.

Richard Hulser moderated the rest of the program and showed some word clouds from past IL programs, and it is interesting to see the changes over the years.

Clcik to enlarge the individual word clouds below:


Erik Boeksteijn sent a video of the 2007 Shanachie Tour . It was about making and telling stories. When they got to Monterey and started their session, there was an earthquake. In a succeeding year, they “defrosted” Steve Abram.

Erik Boekesteijn

Erik Boekesteijn

Bill Spence sent a presentation about 12 steps showing how technology has changed. (He noted that this was the first IL that he has missed–he is in London at  Internet Librarian International.) Some of the 12 items are:

  • Internet access
  • Dialup for emergencies
  • 3.5 inch drives
  • A Dropbox account for speakers to upload their presentations into
  • Better PCs
  • More reliable Wi-Fi

All of these improvements have led to better internet librarians.

Marshall Breeding reviewed technology trends over the last 20 years. There are now about 200,000 links to libraries in his guide. The promise of the internet has been fulfilled; libraries have learned to inhabit the Web. Then we learned from the business world how to monetize and become better libraries.

He showed graphs of how topics were mentioned over the years. Here is one for Google, for example.

But it is the people of IL that are important to build a professional network, make a personal collection, and expanding information and experience.

Darlene Fichter, Frank Cervone, Steve Abram, Marshall Breeding, Rebecca Jones and, Roy Tennant presented their thoughts about the past 20 years ,what was the biggest change they have seen, and what they think will happen next.

  • Rebecca: we continue to talk about evolving roles and services and our basic premises about linking people with what they need.
  • Roy: The biggest thing libraries do is empowerment. In the past that happened through books and journals; now we are finding other ways like maker spaces to empower communities. A few things from the  programs through 2006 were eXcite, Dublin Core, metadata issues, XML, turning text into data, e-books, digitization of LC, weblogs, Google, federated searching, digital repositories, web 2.0.
  • Darlene: Some of us have been friends for a long time. We go home and try new things. IL is a chance to share. The big issue at first was access, then content, services, and the library community becoming more permeable. Now people come and start companies. There is a willingness to be open and innovate.
  • Frank: The shift from purely technological to more of the strategic and creative thinking about how we can integrate ourselves in many different information situations.  There are many people devoted to understanding how to move things forward and improve their professional practice.
  • Marshall: Things are changing faster than they ever have before. Never expect things to be static because change makes for a more interesting world.
  • Steve: This is a thoughtful conference. We are not all librarians talking to librarians. Jane has ensured we have a balance and has evolved beyond technology into emotion, collaboration, how we behave towards each other.

David Lee King created a video of the entire session which is available here. Thanks, David!

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