June 22, 2011

SLA Round-Up

I started my Philadelphia adventure with a trip to the Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania, and I'm now enjoying a book about Masonic Washington, DC. The next day was the best part of the conference: GTRIC (the Government Transportation Research Information Committee), an all-day Sunday meeting of the Transportation Division. It was great to put faces with names I have seen on the list-serve for years, and to hear what is going on at many transportation libraries. We heard an excellent presentation about Minnesota DOT's Kindle program. We were also very fortunate to hear a presentation about Gift Management for Transportation Libraries, which is also an SLA award-winning paper by Northwestern University's Roberto Sarmiento. I was so impressed with the entire day's programming that I did not mind being in a windowless room for eight hours.

On Monday morning I attended Intentional Misinformation on the Internet. This helped me clarify some long-held ideas I have had about the internet writ large. I've long "threatened" to create a post entitled "The internet is paper" to drive home the notion that it is silly to ascribe to the internet any kind of innate qualities or moral deficiencies (it's really just people talking after all, and should not be thought of as authoritative in any sense). I still intend to write that post, but Anne Mintz challenged this idea in part by asserting, and providing persuasive evidence that, "Misinformation is not exclusively on the internet, but the internet makes it worse." I look forward to using her book Web of Deception for a presentation later this summer on cautions about online information sharing.

Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania

Meeting with the Associations Caucus was a great opportunity to follow up with some contacts I had made last winter at one of our regional brown bag lunch gatherings, and to have a candid and focused discussion about the ethical dimensions of conference behavior when your employer is paying your way. Success Stories of Solos was a chance to share some of what I have learned in the last three and a half years, and to meet other solos, including the librarian at the World's Largest Carillon! Her description of her office 'over the river, through the woods, beyond the moat, at the top of the tower' intrigued us all.

I attended a session on how health care reform will change the nature of medical information and online marketing. It was a little out of my comfort zone, but it's tangentially related to some issues I need to be aware of, and I learned some new terms and buzzwords in the debate to keep in mind while searching.

The Solo Division luncheon and Transportation Division Reception were great events with real and enjoyable networking taking place (including ghost stories late into the night at the transportation reception). And as expected, the Decemberists concert Wednesday night at the Philadelphia Academy of Music, steps from my hotel, did not disappoint (and neither did walking past Colin Meloy on Locust Street Wednesday morning).

Rox in the Box, June 15, 2011

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