Today has been a long one, full of travel, a symposium, a happy hour and a lovely dinner. It’s time for ALA Midwinter once again. This time it’s being held in Denver, one of my favorite cities to visit. The day started with an early flight, designed to get me here in time to attend a symposium in the afternoon. It didn’t get off to a good start when I checked in my baggage (a $15 charge now), only to find out it was ONE LB. overweight. I either could pay a $50 surcharge OR remove a pound of stuff from the bag. So I removed one running shoe and had to carry it in my backpack all day. Is this what travel has come to?… Then the flight was delayed due to a fog delay in Atlanta, so I had to rush to catch my connection to Denver. But the flights were smooth, and even with the delay, I arrived at my downtown hotel by noon. By coincidence, I am in the same hotel that I stayed in at LITA 2007. It’s not the “conference hotel” but it’s convenient to the convention center and some sessions are being held here.
While I’m talking about coincidences…..When I arrived at PTI this morning, I discovered that Lauren C. was traveling on the same flights as I was. Lauren was kind enough to include me (and Sarah J.) in a dinner this evening with our Elsevier reps. As we headed out at the end of dinner, we discovered we are staying at the same hotel (keep in mind there are 14 different hotels you could be assigned to). As we arrived at the hotel, we discovered we are both on the 4th floor (there are 17 or 18 floors). As we got off the elevator, we discovered that we are two doors away from each other…….Small ALA world!
My main event for this first day was the OCLC Symposium that was held this afternoon. It was titled “From Linking to Thinking: How we’ll Live When Information Surrounds Us.” There were two dynamic speakers: David Weinberger (author of Everything is Miscellaneous) and Nova Spivack, CEO and founder of Radar Networks (which runs Twine.com) and Semantic Web pioneer. Themes included the evolution of the web to one of inconnections that result in an abundance of digitized data, the nature of metadata, the democratization of the Web, the move toward “good enough” data, the future (Web 3.0 (Semantic Web) and 4.0 (Intelligent Web)). It was a fascinating discussion which garnered spirited discussion between the speakers and the audience on the value of libraries and librarians in light of both Weinberger’s and Spivack’s vision that their preferred future will be one where everything will be digitized, freely available and will be easily accessible to everyone through technologies that will remove today’s search barriers through automated solutions. It was one of the most engaging sessions I’ve attended at ALA and was timely as they also discussed many of the technologies cited in the just released 2009 Horizon Report.
Following the symposium, I put on my social face and attended the LITA Happy Hour, followed by the dinner I mentioned earlier.
Tomorrow will start early with a meeting of my new committee assignment (to LLAMA’s BES Interiors, Furnishings and Equipment Committee. I can’t wait as yet I have no idea about what this committee’s charge is as it relates to any deliverables.