SLA 2011: A first-timer reacts
Friday 17 June 2011 7 Comments
This week I was a first-timer at the SLA 2011 Annual Conference in Philadelphia. I’ve been back on English soil for a few hours and here are my immediate reactions and highlights.
Firstly, I have to admit that I’m properly exhausted. In all senses of the word, the conference was conducted on a massive scale – a sprawling convention centre and a packed catalogue of sessions. Most days were 8am-midnight, with breakfast meetings (sausages and financial forecasts), back-to-back afternoon sessions and evening networking drinks.
The conference combined a good balance of big ideas sessions, which offered glimpses of inspiration, coupled with practical sessions filled with tangible content and tips to take to work on Monday morning. I left some sessions – see Abram and Salo below – giddy with energy for the profession and a little bit in awe.
A quick list of my highlights:
- Creative Commons Vice-President Mike Linksvayer discussing copyright and open access as a ‘social responsibility’
- Meeting information professionals – particularly SLA Europe members, SLA Fellows and other ECCA winners, @ChingfordHall, @shw34 and @theREALwikiman
- Developing an elevator speech with Mary Ellen Bates – succinctly explaining what you do in the context of users’ needs
- Dorothea Salo’s spotlight session on Scholarly Communication and Open Access in the 21st Century
- Eating a pancake bigger than my head – here
- New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s keynote speech – the world is getting flatter and more connected
- Stephen Abram’s spotlight session: Getting Out in Front of the Curve – the ‘article-level universe’ and contemplating ‘scary’ geniuses Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs
- A sneaky trip to Macy’s to buy the best handbag I have ever owned
- 60 sites in 60 minutes with Gayle Lynn-Nelson and John DiGilio from the SLA Legal Division – including the awesome What’s That Bug? and collaborative search engines
- Realising that being an information professional isn’t just about going to work every day but engaging, contributing and advocating
Thanks again to SLA Europe and the Business & Finance Division for trusting me with a plane ticket and a conference lanyard.
I’ll be blogging about specific sessions in more detail this week and for the SLA Europe blog soon.
I’m off to bed.