John Lamborn, Systems & Access Services Librarian
I appreciate the opportunity provided to me by the
Library to attend this year's Educause Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Educause is a national association which seeks to "advance higher
education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology."
The conference attracted some 6000 attendees from around the world.
Eight concurrent tracks gave focus to information technology issues and
innovations relating to libraries, support and training, IT management,
teaching and learning, information systems and e-business, emerging technologies,
and infrastructure/networking/security. The amount of information was
over-whelming. The speakers were insightful and articulate. The
overall experience was exhilarating. Even though the breadth and depth
of the challenges addressed was daunting, the reaffirmation that collaboration
and consultation are a "best practice" when dealing with such
challenges was reassuring.
On Sunday I attended two half-day seminars. The first
Digital Library: A Design Process for the Next Decade, for which I
served as the "convener" and was rewarded with a free breakfast
(not to mention "one on one" time with the speakers). The planning
process demonstrated in this session seemed especially applicable to the
library/IT environments. I am anxious to try them out. The afternoon
session was Crafting
an Electronic Constitution: a Framework for IT Policy Development..
The complexities and challenges of policy development in general were
discussed, then the complications of policy application in the IT environment
was honestly addressed. Bottom-line: policy development is hard
work, takes a long time, will continually have to be assessed and changed,
but it is an essential component of a successful planning process.
I attended a variety of sessions dealing with portal technologies,
image libraries, IT/Library cooperation, and change management.
I also spent several hours during the course of the conference in the
exhibit hall. A few highlights that may be of interest are given
Howard Strauss, Princeton University, seminar on web
portal gave a good overview of definitions, structures, components
A good strategy for dealing with requests to the library
for assistance in providing access to digital/image
collections built and maintained by other departments was presented
by Caroline Beebe of NCSU.
Management of digital
library technology applications from a broader perspective was
presented by Don Gourley of the Washington Research Library Consortium.
Two interesting featured speakers were Neil
Gershenfeld, whose "Universities That Think" was quite
visionary, and Carl
Jacobson who spoke on the myriad roles of the web for higher
education and the opportunities that arise from analysis and application
of e-business practices.
Of course, Sally Ride's photo presentation highlighting
her Challenger days were entertaining. She said it wasn't
true that astronauts spend all their time at the shuttle windows
taking pictures when crossing earth's day side, then turn their
attention to their work when crossing earth's night side; they spend
all their time at the windows taking pictures period.
Indianapolis was a pleasant surprise. It has much
in common with Salt Lake City, though it's downtown areaseems more compact
has recently been successfully revitalized: lots of shopping, entertainment
and dining choices. It also has more steak houses in a six block
area than I would have thought possible or advisable, but all seem successful!
The Indiana statehouse, the RCA dome (where the Colts play) and Conseco
Fieldhouse (where the Pacers play) were all within easy walking distance
of my hotel. The Indiana War Memorial
is located just north of downtown district. The latter encompasses
a four block "mall" of parks, museums, and what can only
be described as a shrines to patriotism. A bit unnerving (I had
a bad experience with the American Legion as a youth. . .), but impressive