Wednesday, October 22, 2008

On the road again

Today, I am off to the ACRL-Oregon fall conference. I've gone to the Washington one the last few years, but this will be my first time going to Oregon. (For the conference, anyway; I've been to the state several times.) I'm going down early because ACRL-WA has a board meeting this afternoon. And before I go, the car needs servicing, so I get to spend my morning in the shop. Thank goodness for mobile technologies, or I'd have to tell you all about that afterward.

Er. Maybe that's not a good example.

Anyway, I'm developing a fondness for local and regional conferences. I'd started to draw back my emphasis from national events even before the latest economic downturn started to make that an eminently sensible move; although I still have a commitment that will likely take me to ALA this year, I wouldn't be going to ACRL if it weren't in Seattle already.

What I'm finding, though, is that a lot of really interesting stuff happens at these smaller-scale conferences. For me, "really interesting" means stuff I can take back to my job and almost immediately apply. I don't get the occasional derogatory comment about "how we done it good" kinds of presentations; personally, those are the ones I find most useful. Maybe I'll feel differently after a few more years in this profession.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to going for a run at Menucha. It looks beautiful.

I've been a little "eh" about the conference theme--the once and future catalog? Really?--but I think I get what they're getting at. The way we almost inevitably end up designing library websites constitutes, to me, an inherent failure of the OPAC. Maybe it's because I used to work for and have seen how this can be done well--there, the website and the catalog are so thoroughly integrated that nobody thinks of them as separate entities. And yet libraries almost have to do this, because catalogs handle so much so poorly.

I'm going to a users-group meeting on Voyager next month, and hoping afterward to brush up my somewhat rusty XML skills and really do some cool things with my library's website.

It's also been awhile since my last road trip. I've laid in a good supply of music, and downloaded the free portion of this audiobook. If I like the story (I expect I will, I like Jay Lake's work), I'll be buying the rest.

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