Internet Librarian 2012, Day 1

For the next couple of days, I’m attending Internet Librarian 2012. Great conference – why aren’t you here?

Day one is over – I don’t have extensive notes from each session, but I will share some highlights.

David Weinberger started us off today with a keynote presentation on his Library as a Platform idea. He explained what he meant by platform and how knowledge is changing because of platforms, and then talked a little about the library as a platform. It was a good, thought-provoking talk.

Next up … well, that was me. I’ll post my slides in another post.

Michelle Boule talked crowdsourcing, and mentioned how to give your crowd the means to survive:

  • give them a goal
  • let the crowd choose their weapons – let them choose the technology they want to use to meet that goal
  • celebrate their successes and failures alike

M. Ryan Hess talked about Google Analytics, and then showed CrazyEgg. I’d forgotten about this really cool tool. It makes a heatmap of clicks on your website – great tool for usability, tracking clicks, etc. I need to check this one out again!

I was able to sign some books – always fun and a bit humbling, too.

And … I saw Jason Griffey’s LibraryBox in action. Very cool project, Jason!

So – good first day. Two more days to come!


  • Jeff

    I was there. For the second year in a row. I would ask the question, why was anyone there. I think this conference was a great disappointment. The organization of it leaves much to be desired. Most of the breakout sessions are too short to allow for much in-depth discussion on the topics, and the conference organizers through presenters together to make one session, leaving each presenter very little time to do more than scratch the surface. And many of the presentations are so poorly described (you’d think people who started out by cataloging could do a better job of describing what is going to happen) in the program that you find yourself wasting time in sessions that aren’t at all what they were advertised to be.
    I’m not going again, and my library won’t be sending anyone again, at least for a long time.

  • davidleeking

    Hey Jeff – thanks for sharing!

    I was there too, and have a completely opposite view of the conference. I’ll respond to your main points:

    Why was anyone there – I go to network with colleagues and to learn about new tech-oriented stuff. Achieved both this year.

    breakout sessions are too short – that’s what the pre and post-conference sessions are created for – to have more in-depth learning.

    Throwing presenters together – yes, that does happen sometimes. But 10-20 minutes should be adequate to at least share some main points about a new idea, and all speakers in a session usually have related or complimentary topics, so taken as a whole, the 45-1 hour session is usually pretty on-topic.

    poorly described presentations – I didn’t run into any of that. Every session I attended was described accurately.

    So again – I think Information Today puts on some extremely useful conferences that are well-organized and provide some great, on-target learning experiences, and I highly recommend them.

  • Jeff

    You will always have the last word David, but I have just a few points to share on your comments.
    If one is paying $500 to sign up for a conference, you shouldn’t have to got to (extra cost) pre- and post-conference sessions to get in-depth information.
    I thought I saw you at the “Rebranding the Library’s Virtual Presence” presentation on Day 2. Perhaps you missed that one. Our library is about to go through a rebranding, so the four of us were looking forward to this session. What we found was a 45-minute advertisement for a Bibliocommons product that two libraries had purchased. The description talked about how they used Drupal CMS to make their changes but did not indicate that the CMS is really a Bibliocommons proprietary product. I think that qualifies as an inaccurate description.
    Our webmaster attended “Kick Starting IT Collaborations” and found that the presenters themselves had not bothered to collaborate and coordinate their presentations with each other.
    Perhaps you have other reasons for loving the conference, but in my book, Internet Librarian falls very short of what it should be..
    My library sent four people to Internet Librarian for a cost of $2,000 plus $600 per person for the hotel rooms plus travel. The four of us all agreed with the points I shared, as did many people we talked to from other libraries at the conference.

  • davidleeking

    Just one more comment for now. The session you mentioned that was about Bibliocommons … here’s the session description:

    “Using Drupal as the new CMS enables the construction of more content-driven and dynamic webpages. And since the CMS and core catalog are integrated, users have a seamless user experience, and it’s easy for staff to cross- merchandise content across the platforms. *Speakers from two different countries partnered with BiblioCommons* to redesign their respective websites from basic HTML to include more Web 2.0 technologies, display their rich content, and enable a smarter and more efficient workflow. They share results of extensive user studies, resulting changes and directions, implantation experiences, lessons learned, and more.”

    It sounds exactly like you described to me, even the focus on Bibliocommons. But – that could just be me!

  • Jeff

    The session title is “Rebranding Your Library’s Virtual Presence,” and there was nothing about “rebranding” as a marketing person would understand that word addressed in the entire presentation.
    The mention of the Drupal CMS, which also attracted our attention, is a misnomer. The Bibliocommons product may be based on Drupal CMS, but there’s nothing open source or non-proprietary about what they did.
    And finally, the information from the “extensive user studies” (we were told of four online use patterns that library site users return often, most use the catalog, most don’t distinguish between catalog and website and that library web users are either looking to read for leisure or to address a specific task) was simplistic and obvious to anyone who’s been dealing with a library web site.
    One last point. … the phrase “partnered with Bibliocommons” does not suggest a buyer-vendor relationship. The correct phrasing would have been: “Speakers from two different libraries who purchased a product from Bibliocommons to convert their websites from HTML to include Web 2.0 technology.”