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Internet Librarian Topics 1997-2009

As suggested by Kathy Dempsey, author of The Accidental Library Marketer and one of the fine bloggers at The ‘M’ Word – Marketing Libraries blog, here is a collection of Wordles based on the final program for each of the Internet Librarian conferences from 1997 to 2009.

In the course of compiling this information I was struck, once again, by how far we have come. Currently the Internet Librarian and Computers in Libraries conference programs are published using XML and XLST so if we make a change to a session title or description or a speaker’s bio, its pushed out in the XML file and instantly the site s up to date everywhere that information is used. Going back in time for this information was like an archeological dig through the the history of web development all the way back to the days before CSS and to when ITI hand coded the entire program in plain HTML.

When it comes to working with data on the web, there were no “good old days” to look back on with fondness in my opinion.

As requested, here are the source files I used – minus the year seedings:

For a full size animation of the sort below, visit Internet Librarian Through the Years.

Year by Year

More About Internet Librarian 2005

To read other blog coverage and see some great photos, use the "IL05" tag in Technorati and Flickr. Or click through the blogs of more than 20 bloggers who reported on the conference.

To help you review what you learned at the conference, Bill Spence, our CTO, has already posted a few speakers’ presentations on the Internet Librarian web site. Many more will be up shortly.

Nancy Garman
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It’s A Wrap!

Hundreds of Internet librarians returned to offices around the country this week, energized and challenged by what we heard at Internet Librarian 2005.

It’s impossible to capture the conference buzz in a few short notes (you’ll have to read this blog and all the others for that), but here are just a few random stand-out thoughts:
– Google was present and part of the conversation, unlike past events where they were talked about and not there. Adam Smith accepted all the Google-bashing with good humor and shared some thinking from inside the Googleplex.
– Continuous partial attention, mentioned by Liz Lawley in her Tuesday keynote has come repeatedly to mind as I multi-task my way through the work on my desk this week.
– Young, enthusiastic librarians who are proud and excited about what they are doing! The cheers and spontaneous rounds of applause during various sessions were contagious.
– Connected attendees, speakers, and bloggers as evidenced by people perched with open laptops all over the place; often the most prized seats were near the power outlets and having wifi was terrific!
– Keynote speakers, beginning with Lee Rainie and ending with Stephen Abram, were awesome and though-provoking. Those who left early and missed Stephen will know better next time!

That’s it — your Internet Librarian fix for the year. Mark your calendar for October 23-25, 2006, again in Monterey!

Nancy Garman
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Librarians Mob Monterey Airport

The Monterey Airport was the place to be at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday morning following the conclusion of Internet Librarian 2005! As the long lines snaked toward the check-in counters and then security, waiting librarians mused about how much more quickly things might move if people who really know how to organize things were in charge, i.e., librarians! But at least the skies were clear, not foggy as earlier in the week, and the flights departed on time, carrying newly challenged and inspired Internet librarians back to libraries around the country.

What a week! We’ll be posting some wrap-up comments over the next several days.

Nancy Garman
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Libraries Can Fight Back

Visionary and funny man, Stephen Abram first set the scenario with all the things that Google’s announced lately and its MANY initiatives – scary stuff! The company has bought 6 social networking companies. We let them read our e-mail and tell us what we want. Soon, Google will control all the ads, all the wallets, all the broadband,etc… So, in the closing keynote for the event, he provided his Top 10 Strategies for competing with Google. Sage advice in my book.

1. Know your market. He mentioned the Normative Data Project that aids market understanding. Know what’s circulating. Understand geographic use.
2. Know your customers better than Google – or you’ll lose. He mentioned the “Personas” project that helps in understanding needs, preferences, and desires of users. Check out the article in the latest Computers in Libraries. Educate yourself on the characteristics of “millennials” (“They can think rings around us.”) and also other populations, like older folks. Google does “satisficing” where librarians meet Real Needs.
3. Be where your customers are. How much of your usage is in person? What about IM?
4. Searching for the target… Federated search should not look like Google. Build compelling content – in CONTEXT!!!
5. Support your culture. Get your texthead to “nexthead.” Move beyond vinyl recordings. Adapt to video and streaming media. Podcasting. Start learning now!
6. Position libraries where we excel. Google does who, what, where, when, who, how questions really well. Google sucks at how and why questions. Libraries’ core competency is not delivery of information. Libraries improve the quality of the question. The question is what’s important. Libraries are an “exploration space” not a collection space.
7. Be wireless. The next massive wave of innovation will start in 2006/7.
8. Get visual. Explore visualization technologies, like Grokker. (Most librarians are text-based learners and it takes us longer.)
9. Integrate. Build community context first – learning, research, neighborhood, workplace, culture/entertainment.
10. For Pete’s sake, take a risk.

And, his last word – focus.
We, as librarians, have to learn that when we study something to death, Death was not our original goal. Pick something, do it well, and move on.

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