tirsdag 9. oktober 2012

Emtacl 2012

Fell asleep on the plane from Trondheim to Tromsø, exhausted! In other words: it was a good conference. For the second time in history, the library at NTNU (+ friends) invited the world to EMTACL the first days of October. Emerging Technologies in Academic Libraries, in case you wondered.

The best thing about Emtacl, compared to some other library conferences, is that even though I'm basically a technical illiterate, I feel I am among like-minded people here. I've met so many brilliant and nice people, all seemingly interested in making libraries a wonderful place to work and study not just today, but in the foreseeable future.

A couple of talks, I must admit, was a bit too technical for me. Not that I mind. One can't always remain in the safety of what one knows. (Legendary library saying, invented just now!)

There were also talks where the presentation technique could be slightly improved. (Which I minded a bit, but which you can't avoid in a conference like this.)

I liked the futurology-inspired talks by Eirik Newth and Brian Kelly. They didn't really talk about the same things, but sparked similar ideas in me. Visionary without loosing touch with reality. The past and the present as ingredients in the stew that will become the future. A pleasure to listen to, besides.

Karen Coyle also needs a mention. It's actually the first time I've heard someone question the Alphabet in a library-related talk! And why not? That's what thinking differently means.

My own library has (finally) started to think about the way our own organization is structured and managed. Rudolf Mumenthaler's talk on innovation managment was therefore a natural stop on my way through the conference programme. I think he gave us many good points on how to bring innvoation into the library, and how necessary an innovation culture is within the organization.

Then I need to emphasize Andrew Whitworth, also known as the 'information obesity-man". (Check out his book from 2009.) If pressed, I'd have to say that this was my favourite talk of the conference. Not just because he talked about one of my own speicalities, information literacy, but because his presentation was really well done. (His prezi is available on the conference website, as are most of the others.)

Rune Martin Andersen also did a good job with presenting his project Bartebuss, a bus service app for Trondheim. The same must be said for Jens Vigen, the head librarian at Cern, whose enthusiasm was contagious. A very good keynote-choice.

Half the fun with Emtacl is of course mingling with the other delegates. The conference programme gave us generous breaks with plenty of time to discuss relevant (or less relevant) topics. And the food! So many lovely cakes and fruit smoothies. And the dip that was served in the break was quite obviously spiked with some sort of drug that made you want more and more ... After the conference dinner (which included brilliant entertainment from Skrømt) there was also a prominent delegation who refused to go to bed and continued all the important discussions in the bar. (There was some talk about Viggo Mortensen and John Simm. Wonder if they are library users?)