April 16, 2007

Computers in Libraries: first impressions

Frankly, it feels a bit weird to be in Virginia today, and I'm not really in the mood for an extensive report on day one. Probably tomorrow. Luckily my hotel has free internet access in the rooms. I've never been one for liveblogging myself, so I'll just be doing daily summary posts.

My first impression is that this is a really good conference, with a lot of great sessions. All the programming is on one level of the conference hotel, which is great. However, given that there are over 2000 attendees, it's just plain too crowded. When a session ends and everyone is switching rooms, there is literally human gridlock in the hallways. The exhibition hall was also quite crowded this evening at the opening reception, but that was probably just do to the fact that there was free food and drink available. It'll probably be a lot better later on. I've already touched base with the fine folk at the IEEE (Hi Mike! Nice to see you again.) and Safari, two of my favourite products.

I must say that I also appreciate the 45 minute sessions. I often think that 75 or 90 minute sessions are too long, both for the presenter and attendees, and that there's always a bit of down time for both in the middle. Forty-five seems like a good balance--enough time to really get an idea across but not so much to be taxing. It also means that you can fit 5 or 6 good sessions (plus a keynote) into each day. Given how hard it is to retain a lot of detail on a bunch of sessions squeezed into a few short days, getting a somewhat shallower view of more interesting ideas is probably a better idea.

Finally, I'd like to note that it's really cool to here the tap tap tap of so many laptops at the back of the room during the session, not to mention the funny little windows startup song. Bloggers are here in force, as can be expected, and I'm looking forward to catching up on the sessions I couldn't attend, (Hi Christina!) Cellphones ringing? Not so cool, although there have been very few so far.

Check out the rest of the coverage here.

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