WebWise 2014 Conference: “Anchoring Communities”

Forgive me for the delay. Although the conference was held February 10, 2014, the demands of graduate school has kept me so occupied I forgot to share the experience!

The WebWize2014 Conference in Baltimore, MD was developed to introduce the growing influence of digital media in the library and information science field. This three-day event showed the overall benefits of new digital tools that not only expanded to more patrons locally, nationally, and internationally but also different ways to inform them of an institution’s information.  The WebWize conference is an annual event that occurs in different parts of the country and includes an abundance of workshops and sessions. These meetings are intended to both show some new tools that have been created in certain libraries, museums, and archives and to encourage the attendees to participate in discussions on how to better current tools or possible new digital mechanisms. More than one session or workshop occurred at the same time in different rooms, so it was up to the attendees to join whichever workshop and/or session that intrigued them the most.

As previously mentioned, I only attended the first conference meeting on Monday, February 10th from 8:00am to 4:00pm, which was considered the “introduction” day. The conference officially began with Nick Poole, Chief Executive Officer of Collection Trust, as the keynote presenter. His presentation, titled “Make it Personal: Developing Services That People Love”, was a reminder to all practitioners in the information science field to never forgot their patrons and to keep them in mind when developing and distributing any sort of information.  The presentation was a great introduction to the conference entirely, because it is imperative to remind organizations of their relationship with their patrons. If an organization does not provide the right service that connects with their users then they will suffer, regardless of how established it may be. It was a clever method to keep the attendees open minded and considerate of others, because most of the sessions and workshops available at the conference were geared mostly on how to make their organization more efficient within their own space. Such as, the session that I attended on how to properly index oral histories using University of Kentucky Libraries’ prototype OHMS (Oral History Metadata Sychronizer) by Doug Boyd, or the other one that I attended on how to fund a digital library by Tom Scheinfeldt (which was recommended through grants, community service, and sponsorship).

The conference was a revelation on how thriving and vast the library and information science field actually is. Listening to all the speakers that participated in the conference and seeing all of the digital tools and projects that have been created remind me of how imperative it is to share information to others, and how limitless the digital realm can be for practitioners in information science. Each institution that participated in the conference was different in every aspect, from the materials that are collected to where the institution was located such as the Smithsonian, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Chicago Public Library. The conference was a reminder that information is everywhere and the people who handle the abundance of information can come from anywhere. Everyone’s ideas were different, unique, and enticing from one another but all shared the same common ground of educating and informing any user interested.



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