by Donald T. Hawkins (Freelance Editor and Conference Blogger)
Column Editor’s Note: Because of space limitations, the full text of my conference notes will now be available online in the issues of Against the Grain on Charleston Hub at https://www.charleston-hub.com, and only brief summaries, with links to the full reports, will appear in Against the Grain print issues. — DTH
The Art and Science of Marketing Communications for Libraries: A Webinar
This webinar was presented by Kathy Dempsey, who has had a long career in library marketing and is owner of her own marketing consultancy, Libraries Are Essential, and author of “The Accidental Library Marketer” (Information Today, 2009). She noted that marketing is more influential if one considers the art of language and its intersection with the science of psychology, which is where people can be influenced. She also presented a “Cycle of True Marketing” showing the steps in developing a marketing plan. Other considerations in marketing include placement of signs, personalizing the message, focusing on the benefits, and email marketing.
SSP and the Charleston Conference
at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Attending the Frankfurt Book Fair (Frankfurter Buchmesse), the publishing industry’s largest trade show, is an experience that every information professional should have at least once. One of its features is a concurrent conference featuring a wide variety of topics, and this year the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) and the Charleston Library Conference participated.
SSP presented a panel of four “chefs” from the Scholarly Kitchen discussing “Food For Thought: Building Back to More Than the Core.” The panel examined the way forward from the COVID-19 pandemic: what will remain the same and what will have to change. We do not want to return to “normal”; we want to go back better. What have we learned about access and what can we make better? Promising initiatives include single sign on, controlled digital lending, data sharing improvements, and special journal issues to accommodate a large number of articles on COVID. eBook delivery systems and pricing models need to be improved.
Charleston Library Conference
Seven information professionals gave presentations on topics of current interest:
• State of the academic library today and importance of digital content,
• Features and the future of monographs,
• Changes in traditional approaches to collection development, and libraries moving from information acquirers to disseminators,
• Developing marketing plans for libraries and changes in their value proposition,
• Complex issues of copyright and educating students and researchers about them,
• A review of artificial intelligence (AI), its capabilities and limitations in publishing, and its human aspects, and
• Approaches to text and data mining, and tests for Fair Use.
Responding to Challenges, Activating
Opportunities, and Rethinking the Status Quo:
A Charleston Pre-Conference
Roger Schonfeld from Ithaka S+R reviewed the state of higher education in times of uncertainty and instability. Immediate challenges are caused by large uncertainties and variations in market segments. Issues that must be solved are:
• Library budgets are tapped out. Academic libraries will have budget cuts as book prices increase.
• Trust and review must be improved; peer review is not rigorous and too slow.
• The value of libraries and their traditional roles must be reassessed.
• In spite of the exposure of bad culture and practices, how will our organizations be reviewed?
• We must adapt to global shifts, especially the US-China split.
A discussion by several panelists followed on topics such as the increase in articles on COVID, effects of people working from home, lack of personal interactions, role of preprints, managing workflows to be ready for any upcoming crises, and the form of conferences in the future.
The Computers in Libraries/Internet Librarian
(CIL/IL) Connect 2020 Virtual Conference
Information Today’s first virtual conference was a week-long event that attracted over 1,000 attendees. It had many of the features of previous traditional conferences, including an exhibit hall, help desk, chat function that allowed session attendees to ask questions of the presenters, and networking events.
The COVID-19 crisis had a major impact on this conference, and most speakers made some reference to it or its effects such as shutdowns, effects on library services and operations, and libraries’ places in their communities. Other major issues addressed were working at home, fake news, the role of technology, and what the “new normal” will look like.
The opening keynote was by Lee Rainie from the Pew Research Center, who noted that we are a nation in the midst of convulsions, with many job losses and little trust in the Federal government or large corporations. The way out of these difficulties will be more face-to-face conversations and libraries functioning as important resource centers.
Other features of CIL/IL included a series of discussions about interesting libraries around the world, presentations of digital library branches, library competitors, futurizing facts, AI, library systems, digital asset management, learning with laughter, literacy and innovation in libraries (a discussion by top executives of organizations), open access, eBook issues, safety of library users, web archiving, institutional repositories, and the future of libraries.
The closing keynote was a panel of four library executives discussing current and future challenges for libraries.
Donald T. Hawkins is an information industry freelance writer based in Pennsylvania. In addition to blogging and writing about conferences for Against the Grain, he blogs the Computers in Libraries and Internet Librarian conferences for Information Today, Inc. (ITI) and maintains the Conference Calendar on the ITI Website (http://www.infotoday.com/calendar.asp). He is the Editor of Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage, (Information Today, 2013) and Co-Editor of Public Knowledge: Access and Benefits (Information Today, 2016). He holds a Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Berkeley and has worked in the online information industry for over 45 years.