Attending Annual 2007 SLA Convention in Denver

Attending Annual 2007 SLA Convention in Denver

By Jay Greenstone
Reference Librarian
McCarter & English

I attended my second SLA annual conference in Denver just recently and once again the experience was extremely educational, enriching and rewarding. SLA has given me the opportunity to learn about the latest developments in our profession while networking with fellow colleagues.

Al Gore kicked off the Conference in delivering a riveting opening keynote address speech that was poignant and well received.  He highlighted the important and vital role librarians play in today’s information explosion cyber age and mentioned his strong opposition to plans calling for the closing of the EPA Library.  In fact, Gore stated that digitization is in no way a reason to replace librarians, but, instead, shows the need we have for information professionals more so than ever.

He further discussed  the theme of his new book, The Assault on Reason, in which he stressed the important role information plays on the decision making process from issues, such as, climate change, the Iraq war, government, and the freedom of information. He spoke of global warming as being “the most dangerous challenge in the history of civilization” and that the information provided by the world’s leading scientists to act immediately, in Gore’s words “is overwhelmingly clear to any reasonable person.”

Throughout the SLA Conference, I learned a great deal by visiting the vendor exhibits and attending seminar programs. Among some of the events I found interesting include:

  • British Library “Turn the Pages” project to digitize its rare book collection so old archival manuscripts will become accessible on the internet for researchers to examine from throughout the world.
  • Strategies for adopting organizational success. Emphasis on need to better adapt to rapid changes via innovation and better ways to communicate value to not just immediate patrons but those in top level management.
  • Representatives from Google spoke about latest updates and research tips.
  • Global legal research seminar presented by several members of the Library of Congress.
  • Two separate informative programs on Web 2.0 developments and trends: one offered by Mary Ellen Bates (President Bates Information Services) and the other by Gary Price (Director of Online Information Resources, Ask.com).
  • Upcoming Thomson Scientific Patent Innovation Tool allowing for single interface searching for patent, literature, news and business information.
  • Seminar on importance of Knowledge Management and Competitive Intelligence.
  • New Products: GSI (Precision Authority) Westlaw (IP Monitor & Medical Litigator) Lexis/Nexis (Science Direct & enhanced case law analysis)

I should emphasize that the trip was not all business. I really enjoyed spending time in the City of Denver. From the convention center, one experienced a panoramic bird’s eye view of beautiful snow-capped mountains. The weather was perfect with no humidity. There was a diverse choice of nice restaurants all situated within walking distance from the hotel and convention center. I delighted in going to the Lexis/Nexis sponsored party at the memorable Denver Art Museum and further got a chance to visit the Colorado History Museum.

Among the NJLLA members attending the convention were Ed Dabkowski, my colleague from McCarter & English, Gayle-Lynn Nelson from Lexis/ Nexis and Beth Greenfield from Latham & Watkins.   

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