June 2, 2007

Blogging WILU (and a note on CiL too)

Finally, I'm done recording all my session notes on the WILU blog. It was a hard slog at the end to get it done. I've had quite a run of conferences in 2007 and doing the session notes got tough at the end. In any case, I did notes for 9 sessions in all, including one set for a session I also convened. That's the Patrick Labelle session I blogged last. Karina Douglas also presented at that session but she blogged her own session, so I don't feel the need to add anything to what she's done.

In terms of overall impressions, I though WILU was a great conference, very well organized. And I'm not just saying that because all the organizers are my York University colleagues; they did a truly wonderful job making the conference a smoothly enjoyed, intellectually engaging couple of days.

And for the intellectually engaging part, I thought it was a really interesting experiment going to both WILU and Computers in Libraries within the same few weeks of each other (Mita Williams also did it, and maybe a couple of other that I don't know about, and I'd be interested in hearing their reactions as well). Now I'm about to engage is some massively unjustified generalizations, but I think there is some lesson to learn from oversimplifying in this case. Several times in sessions at WILU I was struck that the general theme of the conference is bending students to the will of the library. Getting them to understand how the library works, how scholarship works, how our systems work. At CiL I was struck several times in sessions how the whole focus of the conference is to bend the will of the library to the needs, habits and whims of students and the latest technofads. Now, I don't think either extreme is a good way to go. We definitely do have a role to play in making students more aware of good information seeking behavior. On the other hand, we also need to come to grips with the fact that it ain't 1991 anymore and the Google cat is out of the bag. There were a couple of times when I thought that my head would explode from the internal contradictions, sort of like Nomad in that old Star Trek episode (yes, I am that old). In any case, it's a real tension we face, one that's important to understand and try to reconcile, one that I think is going to be at the core of the profession going forward.

So, go on and check out the WILU blog and see all the good stuff there. The session materials have also been posted. As I repost my session summaries here over the next week or so, I'll update them with links to the available session materials.

Oh yes, one "small world" note. As I said, I convened the session where Patrick Labelle of presented. Now Patrick is at Concordia, where I studied computer science way back when. So, we got to talking about Concordia, about Montreal, you know, that kind of stuff. Anyways, it seems that Patrick used to live in the same building in Montreal where my Mother lives (and has lived for about 10 years). Patrick obviously couldn't remember meeting my Mother, but it's strange to imagine them passing each other in the hall!

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