My ALA Midwinter 2011 Schedule

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The end-of-year holidays are behind us and (in the northern parts of the northern hemisphere) the cold days of winter in front of us. What better time to bag it all and head to the warm(er) temperatures of San Diego, California for the ALA Midwinter meeting. I mean -- come'on -- do you really want to dive into all of that work that piled up over the past week or so? (You say that even more work will pile up if you attend the meeting? Bah, humbug!) If you are going, I wholeheartedly endorse the new ALA Connect-based meeting planner. It is at times frustratingly slow, but chock full of ways to slice-and-dice meeting events that were not possible in the earlier version. (I'm going to put in a suggested enhancement that the iCal file export includes URLs to the meeting listing online; that would be immensely helpful.)

Here is my schedule of events, with links into meeting descriptions on ALA Connect where appropriate. Also don't forget to check out the What's Happening (229KB, PDF) document for the inside scoop from the ALA staff to the ALA Council members. If you are interested in getting together with me, let me know and we'll find a time.

Friday, January 7th

I'm flying Continental through Houston, arriving in San Diego at about quarter after four local time. It has been years since I've flown Continental, and I'm kinda looking forward to it. I have many fond memories of Continental Airlines from my days of a commuting suitor and engagement to my now-wife, so I'm hoping to experience their fine service one more time before the merger with United Airlines takes hold. (Who knows what service will be like after that?)

I'm arriving late, but normally I would try to get to the RMG Integrated Library System vendor panel. If the past year is any guide, I think it is going to be another wild year for ILS vendors. I do expect to pop into the LITA Happy Hour at the Uber Lounge of the Se San Diego Hotel.

Saturday, January 8th

I'm starting the day with a private meeting, then I expect to head to the Hilton San Diego Bayfront for a presentation by OCLC from 10:30am to noon: The Power of Data, Technology and Community: The OCLC Platform Strategy. OCLC's Webscale Management — like it or not — is going to rock the world of library automation. I generally like what I see, and I want to hear the first-hand experiences of those that have tried it to know if that opinion is on target. (OCLC asks that you register for its sessions, but I don't think it is required.)

After time for lunch, some exhibits and a private meeting I'll have a choice to make. On the one hand is the regular SPARC/ACRL forum on the topic of Open Access and the changing state of scholarly publishing. The lineup is great: Caroline Sutton, President of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA);
Wim van der Stelt, Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy for Springer; and Catriona McCallum, Senior Editor for PLoS Biology and Consulting Editor for PLoS ONE. That sounds like a lively discussion.

On the other hand is the ad hoc Google Books Task Force meeting. The topic is certainly of interest, and news of any movement by the court on the settlement has been too quiet. But I don't see an agenda for the meeting and I don't know what will be covered. Fortunately, these two meetings are near each other in the convention center. Maybe I'll start here and move to the SPARC/ACRL Forum.

Sunday, January 9th

Sunday starts early with the OCLC Update Breakfast from 7am to 8am in the Sapphire Ballroom of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. From there I'd like to head to the LITA Top Technology Trends discussion from 8am to 10am, but the room will probably be packed. I doubt I'll get out of the OCLC Update Breakfast on time and the room is always jammed, so I might have to attend vicariously through the tweets and posts of others. In any case I'll head back to the exhibits on Sunday morning and then go to the OCLC Developer Network Luncheon. Always good stuff to learn at this lunch about the OCLC APIs and what people are doing with them.

Then I have another tough choice. I could go to the LITA Emerging Technologies Interest Group meeting. There will be a follow-up discussion to the panel from ALA Annual (which unfortunately I missed due to a family illness). Or I could go to the LITA Cloud Computing / Virtualization Interest Group meeting. I can't find an agenda for this meeting either, but the topic is of interest at work.

Rounding out the day will be the public launch of an experimental service "providing a low cost and easy-to-use Web site service for small and rural public libraries" by the OCLC Innovation Lab.

Monday, January 10th

Monday morning will be NISO time, with back-to-back meetings of the Topic Committees as a whole and the Discovery to Delivery topic committee. Monday afternoon is open at this point, but probably will be filled either with other private meetings or some time writing up notes and summaries from all the weekend events.

Tuesday, January 11th

Flying out early, early Tuesday morning back through Houston (with fingers crossed that the choice of going through Houston will mean no weather delays).