The ILI Tenth Anniversary

The Internet Librarian International Conference Is Ten

This year sees the 10th anniversary of the Internet Librarian International (ILI) conference. This year’s event, ILI 2008, will be held at Novotel London West, London, UK on 16-17th October 2008. And, unfortunately, it will be the first ILI conference I won’t be able to attend. I have spoken at all of the ILI conferences and have also been a member of the programme committee and chaired sessions for a number of years.

My Involvement In ILI Conferences

Details of all of my talks at ILI are available on the UKOLN Web site. In light of the forthcoming anniversary I thought it would be interesting to produce a timeline of my involvement with the conference. I used the Dipity software to produce the timeline of my involvement in the ILI conference series, as illustrated below (and I should add that an embedded version of this is available on the UKOLN Web site, which also provides access to a locally managed copy of the data, so that potentially the service can be recreated if the Dipity service is not sustainable).

ILI Timeline

The conference has been of particular relevance to UKOLN, as it has provided an opportunity to actively engage with the communities served by both of our core funders: the academic libraries and the JISC development community together with those working in public libraries. Producing this timeline has provided a useful opportunity to observe and reflect the topics which have been of interest to these communities over this time.

Talks On Web Standards

My first talk was entitled “New Standards on the Web” and I described emerging new Web standards, including a range of XML standards (XLink and XPointer) and RDF. Looking back at the presentation (and the references to related work such as Eric Miller slide’s on support for RDF in Netscape) I can see how naive I as in my expectation that the emerging new W3C standards would be quickly deployed in a mainstream service environment. I gave another talk on standards at ILI 2003 entitled “HTML Is Dead! A Web Standards Update” in which I avoided the complexities of Semantic Web standards and focussed on data formats including SVG and SMIL. Again I was soon able to appreciate that the market place had little interest in these standards, although my comments on the importance of and XML and CSS, for example, were appropriate and timely. The final talk I gave related to Web standards was given at ILI 2005 and was entitled “Facing The Challenges Of A Standards-Based Approach To Web Development“. Here I reflected on the failure of various Web standards to gain acceptance in the marketplace and described the ‘contextual approach to use of open standards’ which I had been involved in developed for the JISC to help avoid repeating the costly mistakes made in the past when open standards (e.g. Coloured Book software) had continued to be advocated even after their failures had been widely acknowledged.

Web Accessibility

A talk on “Benchmarking Of Library Web Sites” given at ILI 2002 included a description of use of automated Web accessibility testing tools. The following year, at ILI 2003, I took part in a Web accessibility panel session entitled “Web Site Accessibility: Too Difficult To Implement?” and this time I gave one of my first presentations in which I argued that the traditional approaches to providing accessible Web resources, based on implementation of WCAG guidelines, was flawed. Two years later the joint UKOLN/Techdis holistic approach to Web accessibility had been developed and at ILI 2005 I was able to run a half day workshop with Lawrie Phipps on “A Holistic Approach To Web Usability, Accessibility And Interoperability“.

Best Practices For Publishing E-Journals

ILI conferences have provided a dissemination opportunity for various projects I have been involved in. I gave a talk on “Electronic Magazines: Issues in Implementation” at ILI 2000 which described the EU-funded Exploit Interactive e-journal. The following year, at ILI 2001, Marieke Guy and myself ran a half-day workshop session on “Publishing Web Magazines, e-Journals & Webzines“, the first of four workshop sessions I have facilitated at ILI conferences.

Other Areas

Other topics which I’ve covered at ILI conferences have included advertising on Web sites (at ILI 2001), new devices on the Web (ILI 2002) and quality assurance for Web sites (a half day workshop at ILI 2004).

Web 2.0

Since ILI 2004 the main focus of my involvement at ILI has been related to Web 2.0. The first talk was entitled “Beyond E-mail! Wikis, Blogs and Social Networking Software“, with a talk on “The Sceptics View Of New Technologies” being given in a panel session at the ILI 2004 event.

A talk on “Email Must Die!” at ILI 2005 described the benefits of various Web-based collaborative and communications tools, and, at the same event I continued to argue the need to adopt a critical approach to the new technologies with a talk on “Folksonomies – The Sceptics View“.

I was invited to chair a session on Wikis at ILI 2006 and, due to the late unavailability of one of the invited speakers, also gave a brief talk on “Reflections On Personal Experiences In Using Wikis“. My main talk that year was on “Web 2.0 and Library 2.0: Addressing Institutional Barriers“.

Finally at ILI 2007 Kara Jones and myself ran a masterclass on “Using Blogs Effectively Within Your Library” and I gave a talk on “The Blogging Librarian: Avoiding Institutional Inertia“.

Returning To ILI 2008

I had intended to participate at the ILI 2008 conference, but as I have been invited to present a paper at the Bridging Worlds 2008 conference, I will unfortunately not be able to attend. I will be there in spirit, though with my colleagues Marieke Guy and Ann Chapman this year facilitating the half-day blogging workshop.

I would like to take this opportunity to give my thanks to everyone who has helped to make the ILI conference series such a great success, especially the conference organisers (including Marydee Ojala, Jane Dysart, Nancy Garman, David Raitt, Bill Spence, Jean Mulligan) and the people I’ve met at ILI (too numerous to mention, but I should include Michael Stephens, Mary Peterson, Frank Cervone, Karen Blakeman, Phil Bradley, Darlene Fichter and Peter Scott). All my best wish to everyone at ILI 2008 – and all the best for the next 10 years.


  1. Brian: Sorry to hear that you will not be at ILI this year, but thanks so much for documenting your involvement in past programmes. As I look at your chart, I see a history of where we’ve been, and how far we’ve come.

    I hope others will join you in posting their ILI histories or commenting here about their experiences at ILI.

    I, for one, will never forget the fire drill during a Steve Arnold keynote, the very moving presentation by Saad Eskander about “The Cemetary of Books” and the recovery of world artifacts following the bombing in Iraq in 2003, and of course the day I arrived to find the “Dutch librarians” filing the sessions, without permission!, from the back of the room (they not only turned out to be okay, but as “The Schanachies,” they will appear officially on this year’s programme.)

    Dick Kaser
    VP, Content
    Information Today, Inc.
    (Organizer of Internet Librarian International)

  2. Your presence will definitely be missed — your presentations were always one of the highlights of ILI during the years that I was fortunate enough to attend this conference. But I can understand the allure of a far away land :-).




  1. Joeyanne Libraryanne » Internet Librarian International 2008 - [...] really pleased that I’m able to go this year. It’s the 10th Anniversary too, as recently blogged about by …

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