Alia Information Online 2011 #aliaioc

Posted February 6th 2011 @ 11:01 am by

Some of the Day 3 Panel: @missophiemac, @michaelmace, @thelib

Some of the Day 3 Panel: @missophiemac, @michaelmace, @thelib

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
@missophiemac, @michaelmace, @thelib

R2D2 and cup cake amigurumi

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.


  1. Kat
    February 6, 2011 at 11:07

    Really informative – great links. Thanks.

  2. Peta
    February 6, 2011 at 12:22

    Thanks for the post, going to check out some of those links now.

  3. Helen
    February 7, 2011 at 13:00

    I didn’t attend Online however followed the Twitter stream and from the interaction there I think having a much greater interactive space has got to be the future because we have so many great minds in libraries that interaction will only improve conferences in the future

  4. Steph
    February 7, 2011 at 17:47

    I attended the conference. I agree with you there needs to be some interaction between the audience and the speakers. Not so much the keynotes I am happy for those guys to provide inspiration, information and thought provoking ideas. The papers need to be less and more an interaction between the speaker and the audience. We are in the paper for a reason and there is never enough time for questions. The interaction online from audience is great but there needs to be some interaction with not necessarily the speaker but someone who work with the audience online. Something formalized not sure what maybe something for the next committee to think about.

  5. SImonH
    February 8, 2011 at 18:05

    I’m interested in hearing more about the reasons for your decision to co-present at your next conference???
    Also interesting to note that many of our academic colleagues do not go to conferences unless they are presenting- this ensures participation – on a level.
    ATLAANZ have successfully changed their conference format based on the ideas outlined in Ravn (2007) The learning conference.

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