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Notes from ALA 2007

By Cory Lampert on June 28, 2007 7:35 AM | Permalink
The American Library Association Annual Conference took place this past weekend in Washington, DC. I attended a variety of sessions, presentations, discussions, and social events which I'll sum up in this list of 10 Notable ALA 2007 Moments: 1. I got to meet Nancy Pearl during a quiet moment at the Exhibits. She signed my copy of More Book Lust and chatted with me for a while. Love her! 2. The LITA Building the Next Generation Public Library Web Site with Drupal Session was packed to the gills and worth the squeeze. I have never actually been inspired by a web site before! Great contagious enthusiasm from the Ann Arbor District Library. 3. Delicious, amazing food, mojitos, and desserts at Zengo DC. (I know Asian-Mexican fusion sounds weird...but trust me it worked!) 4. My first meeting with the Collaborative Digitization Discussion Group. Important people working on all sorts of really amazing collaborative projects and discussing the next level of issues that I will have to tackle if we are to succeed in building larger collaborations. Here is my plug for overcoming shyness to meet a new group. I am very glad I fit in this one extra meeting. 5. The BIGWIG Social Software Showcase that was actually an unconference/wiki with a F2F event at ALA. I saw the wiki ahead of time so at ALA I physically attended LITA The Ultimate Debate: Do Libraries Innovate? while receiving Twitter updates from BIGWIG. Came away with lots to think about, great job everyone! 6. Ethiopian food at Zed's in Georgetown. Yum. 7. CONTENTdm Preconference Training, Success Stories, and User Group Meeting sessions provided a nice forum to interact with other digital library folks. The preconference offered a few quality hours examining the guts of the software; the success stories sesssion showcased two successful collections (University of Louisville and Gulf Coast Community College), and the user group was a nice chance to mingle while learning about upcoming enhancements. Thanks to the organizers/presenters for offering our first-ever poster sessions- they were great! There are some really welcome features coming down the pike for version 4.3, so stay tuned for more about PDF functionality, ability to import via Connexion, and additional search engine functionality through Worldcat. Very exciting. 8. Visting the Library of Congress was another highlight. I was like a kid in a candy store when I toured the Prints and Photographs Reading Room and actually got to meet the digital librarian there. What fun to see some samples from the amazing collections and talk to the creators of the LC Thesaurus of Graphic Materials (my best metadata friend). I also toured the copyright office and got to wander the endless card catalogs of copyright registrations. Very cool! 9. Murky Coffee was just a short Metro ride into Virginia and I had a perfect cappuccino at the outdoor cafe. Probably the only escape from the herds of librarians all weekend! Love that public transportation! 10. Socializing at the parties, the hotel lobbies, and in random places like the Super Shuttle. Amidst the camp-like atmosphere of hotel rooms and roommates with mad texting and cell phone calls to meet up with friends, the conference was really most valuable to me for the connections made with people. I got to know my co-workers better, I met a fellow panelist for my next conference presentation, and I put faces to names I only have the pleasure to see online. ALA may not be perfect, but it is one place where you have to be a complete hermit not to connect with at least one interesting or inspiring librarian. To me, that is worth the trip to the conference.

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