This is a travel log documenting my experiences at the SouthAtlantic Regional Conference of the Special Librarians Association (SLA) entitled Networking 2000 in the Lightsey Conference Center, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, March 11 - 12, 1999. The text is interspersed with images I saw along the way.
Thursday, March 11
Health Information Outreach Programs And The National Network Of Libraries Of Medicine
Nancy Bryant Bryant described an urban outreach program focusing on medicine. The outreach included hardware, software, and expertise in and around the Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Her project was/is to make a dent in the health care information services of the area. Services included:
- internet information through GratefulMed
- training the trainer
- document delivery
Barbara Carlson She described an outreach project that started in 1996 in Charleston. She works at the Medical University of South Carolina and got help from the Enterprize Community Project. They:
- installed 6 computers around charleston: a church, a library, a rest home, a community center
- tied them to PPP server at the University
- tapped young people to run the project, school students were trained how had to do a project and as well as train others
She described the experience as "real" since it documents and illustrates the "groundedness" of people's lives. Carlson recommends, "Remember the C word -- collaboration." She was a very enthusiastic speaker.
Friday, March 12
Judy Field As the past president of SLA, she provided a "what is knowledge management" presentation. She explained that is more than:
- just classification of resources
- just providing indexes
- just document management
- just a software package
"Software in an enabling device, but needs to be tweaked by experts who know what people need.... Knowledge management is a strategic process visible to appropriate people.... It is a leveraging of intellectual assets.... It permits transfer and enhancement of knowledge... Make sure you monitor the information in the organization as well as the R&D meetings to make sure information is flowing.... The system needs to reflect the current needs of the system.... Create 'knowledge audits' that you can bring to high level personell."
Corilee Christou Information technology is not the solution to knowledge management. Knowledge management is a top-down as well as bottom-up activity in an organization. She cautioned the audience to not get used to anything, since things change and corporations are creating knowledge environments. An example knowledge management might include capturing the due diligence of an attorney. She recommended recording your information consistently; use a consistent taxonomy. Use submission forms to record work products.
Data Mining/Data Warehouseing
James Callan He began with, "Dawn is the best time to harness information." He said people pay for news, instant answers, and ideas; people want information quickly. We must learn to leverage our information and examples of leveraging information include studying customer buying power, moving to new territories, optimizing inventory, and anticipating competitor actions. He suggested we apply the principles of retailing to information services. "Make sure your goods are on hand, stage the goods, standard orders reduce processing... 'You can have any color as long as its black.'" He described data warehouses as information packages. "Data warehousing is process much like selling retail products." He described the data warehousing as a process that sounded a lot like librarianship except the content was numerical and could consequently be visualized graphically. He said data mining approaches:
- series regression
- time-series analysis
- sequence analysis
- associative reasoning
Robert S. Lundquist and Steven B. Anderson The success of data mining is achieved by benefiting all stakeholder groups through sustained customer satisfaction. "Moving information around causes problems... It starts with the CEO... Social and political forces are in play turning information into knowledge... Data flow needs to go between the columns of an organization, not just up and down.... Capture information about your products, your services, and the processes you use to create these products and services."
Year 2000 and Beyond
Paul Gilster He began by asking the audience if they knew how many books he had carried to the podium. The total was 69. Two printed books and sixty-three electronic books on his "aging" 486 computer. There were a couple on his Palm Pilot and a few more on his new "ebook". The demonstration was sort of funny because he kept pulling books out of his pockets. He speculated electronic books will be used by young people in huge numbers since they will be accustomed to using them. He kept asking the question, "Where are the standards?" and pushed for a standards process exemplified by the use of open source software and consensus as opposed to commercial de facto standards imposed by proprietory software. He also emphasizes that the question is not about electronic versus printed books, but rather which medium is appropriate for what purpose. "It is a not an either/or situation. Each format has different advantages and disadvantages; they compliment each other." The real problem, he said, was the interfaces to information. He did not necessarily advocate artificial intelligence systems but systems that work quickly and as expected applying both statistics as well integration. He did not see the need for bigger, faster computers but the need for a network of integrated, specialized pieces of hardware performing specific tasks like monitoring your home or managing your appointments.
Networking Government Information Nationally
Barbara Post From National Transportation Library (NTL) , she described the beginnings of the organization and dissemination of the NTL's library/information centers. A relatively new government agency, it began its life in 1992. An early project was call the SMART CDROM, a way of sharing the information of the agency on CD's. The work that had been going on was not working so well and after getting some input from librarians a true library was created in 1998. NTL has given themselves a number of mandates:
- Digital NTL - a full text public domain documents from research centers including 5000 documents
- National Transportation Data Archives - a collection of statistical databases
- DOTBOT - a search engine of US DOT
- TRIS Online - an indexing and abstracting services begun in 1970's
- union catalog - a list of all transportation library holdings
Ironically, even though the library has been mandated by law, there is little or no funding for th creation of the library. Apparently, this is not an uncommon occurance in the federal government.
Andrew Poulis Poulis advocates cooperation and collaboration above everything else. A challenge he has, as a librarian for the United States Air Force, is providing services to people all over the world. The government is shrinking in numbers and refocusing research as a business. He describes how he is building a virtual library. He works with the other national airforce libraries. Understandably but unfortunately, one of his biggest problems is Internet access since security is the commander's primary, number one issue at the research center.
Adding Value to the Internet
Eric Lease Morgan In a sentence, adding value to information on the Internet is a process for people not technology. See Adding Value to Internet Resources .
Bob Skinder Skinder described a number if Internet projects he as worked on since 1994. Many of the projects were the collection of URLs and organizing them into a system of information.
This being the first conference of the SouthAtlantic SLA Chapter, Networking 2000 was well attended with approximately 250 participants plus vendors. The facilities were upscale and well equiped. My attendance gave me the opportunity to visit a number of people I had worked with when I was as a medical librarian at the Catawba-Wateree AHEC Library in Lancaster, SC. Paul Gilster's speech was articulate, well researched, well documented, entertaining, and thought provoking. I felt good about the first three quarters of my presentation, but the demonstration of MyLibrary@NCState could have been improved. Because of this conference I learned a bit about data mining and knowledge management. I can't say I am impressed with these ideas; they sound like new descriptions of old services. I believe it is time for the profession and peole who fund libraries to become less enamored with computer technology and refocus their attention on the human aspects of the work. Computers do data and information. People do knowledge and wisdom.
Creator: Eric Lease Morgan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Source: This text was never formally published.
Date created: 1999-03-14
Date updated: 2004-11-19
Subject(s): travel log; SLA (Special Library Association); Charleston, SC;