It’s been two days since I returned from Information Online and I woke up from a dream about writing a blog post so here it is. My takeaways from the conference are:
- Break the rules @thelib – Sarah Houghton encouraged conference participants to be prepared to break some rules in order to deliver the services that clients want. She used the example of implementing social media. They didn’t get permission. They just went ahead. Her terrific presentation is available on her blog.
- Heat maps of eye-tracking and clicks look very impressive. I was encouraged by the number of libraries testing usability of their websites and services. There were a number of papers that had some impressive heat maps. They certainly add a wow factor to presentations.
- Seb Chan told us about some of the incredibly impressive work of the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney and how they are getting people to visit their collections online. These include WordPress plugins, Flickr Commons and the amazing mobile story game – China Heart.
I was also thrilled to participate in the Conference Mentoring Program being piloted at Online by Naomi Doessel the winner of an ALIA study grant. I offered to be a mentor and it was a rewarding experience. I met two amazing young librarians.
For me the main benefits of attending Online were:
- Networking opportunities
- Catching up with some library rock stars
- Meeting some rising library stars
- Spending face-to-face time with my twitter PLN (personal learning network)
- Crafting with fellow librarians at the lunch time Stitch’n'bitch
I have attended quite a few conferences in the last two years and I am beginning to wonder if the current format is sustainable. I for one would like more opportunity to engage, interact and discuss the content/ideas. Maybe we need to consider an unconference stream running along side more traditional streams (as was trailed at ALIAAccess in 2010).
I also presented a paper at Online and I have decided that from now on I will co-present and I am already discussing an abstract for VALA2012 with a colleague.
I would be really interested in hearing about your takeaways, the benefits and whether you think the traditional conference format is sustainable.
Please leave a comment.