The ILI (Internet Librarian International) conference is celebrating its 20th anniversary next week. In a recent post entitled The ILI Conference – Looking at the History I announced the availability of a search interface to all 20 ILI conference web sites which might be of interest to those with an interest in the growth and development of use of the Internet in libraries (including public and academic libraries) as revealed by sessions given at this high-profile international conference.
As a long-standing speaker at – and supporter of – the ILI conference I felt next week’s celebrations provides an opportunity for me to reflect on my involvement at the event.
It seems that I’ve given 35 talks at ILI conference and details of the talks, with links to the session abstracts and slides, given in the following table.
The first ILI conference, jointly badged with the LibTech conference, was held on 29-31 March 1999 at Olympia. London (with pre-conference workshop taking place on the Sunday, before the conference started). My talk at this conference was on “New Standards on the Web” and described emerging new standards being developed by W3C (the World Wide Web Consortium), including XLink, XPointer and HTTP/NG.
I revisited my interest in standards at ILI 2003 with a talk on “HTML Is Dead! A Web Standards Update” which suggested that HTML may be replaced by a new family of XML-based data formats such as SMIL, SVG and MathML with XHTML providing a migration to this new environment.
I suspect that many readers will not be familiar with standards such as SMIL, SVG and HTTP/NG – and these failed to have any impact at the time. A recognition for a more pragmatic approach to use of open standards in digital library development programmes was described at ILI 2005 in a talk on “Facing The Challenges Of A Standards-Based Approach To Web Development” which stated that “open standards may be difficult or expensive to deploy. Indeed open standards may even fail to gain widespread market acceptance.”
My final talk on standards was given at ILI 2009. A talk on “Standards Are Like Sausages: Exploiting the Potential of Open Standards” provided examples of failed open standards, explored some of the reasons for such failures, described approaches which can help organisations to identify successful open standards and provided a framework to support the selection of solutions which may not make use of open standards (and back then proprietary applications such as Skype were frowned on by some when open standards such as VOIP and SIP were available).
The early ILI conferences provided an opportunity to share UKOLN’s experience in providing the Ariadne e-jounal. A talk on “Electronic Magazines: Issues In Implementation” was given at ILI 2000 and at ILI 2001 I co-facilitated a half-day workshop on Publishing Web Magazines, e-Journals & Webzines with Bernadette Dally, the Ariadne editor at the time.
At ILI 2002 I gave talk on New Devices And The Web. Interestingly. although the talk mentioned mobile phones and PDAs (remember devices such as the Palm?) the main focus on the talk was the mobile eBook reader.
My main research area of interest has been in web accessibility. At ILI 2003 I gave a talk which asked “Web Site Accessibility: Too Difficult To Implement?“. At ILI 2005 I facilitated a half-day workshop with Lawrie Phipps on “Web Design: Usability, Accessibility and Interoperability“.
Web 2.0 and the Social Web
The ILI 2004 conference saw my first talk about the Social Web – and talks on this topic were given every subsequent year until 2010, with the exception of ILI 2008 when I was the event coincided with a conference I was speaking at at the National Library of Singapore.
At ILI 2005 in a talk on Beyond E-mail! Wikis, Blogs and Social Networking Software I introduced some of the key applications of the social web and at ILI 2004 in a talk on Email Must Die! I argued that tools such as blogs and instant messaging services could provide advantages over email lists. The same year I highlighted some limitations of social web services in a talk which described Folksonomies – The Sceptic’s View.
At ILI 2006 I provided Reflections On Personal Experiences In Using Wikis. The following year at ILI 2007 I gave a talk on The Blogging Librarian: Avoiding Institutional Inertia and co-facilitated a half-day masterclass on Using Blogs Effectively Within Your Library with Kara Jones.
After missing ILI 2008 in 2009 I co-facilitated a workshop on Using Blogs Effectively Within Your Library with Marieke Guy. Finally at ILI 2010 I co-facilitated a workshop on Effective Use of the Social Web in Organisations with Ann Chapman.
By ILI 2011 my interests had moved on to evidence gathering and impact assessment and at that event I gave a talk on “Monitoring and Maximising Organisational Impact“. At ILI 2012 I gave a talk on “Monitoring and Maximising Organisational Impact”
My most recent area of interest was in predicting trends. At ILI 2009 I took part in the final panel session at the event which review some of the “Top Technology Trends for Libraries and Information Professionals“. At ILI 2011 I gave a talk on “What’s on the Technology Horizon?“; at ILI 2012 a talk on “Making Sense of the Future” and at ILI 2015 a talk which asked “What are the Major Technology Trends that will Impact Library Services and their Users?“.
These talks were based on work of the Jisc-funded Jisc Observatory project which was provided by UKOLN and Cetis. A methodology for predicting trends was developed which was described in a paper on “What Next for Libraries? Making Sense of the Future“. The methodology was used at a number of workshops which were delivered at ILI conferences. At ILI 2013 I co-facilitated a full-day workshop on “Future Technologies and Their Applications” with Tony Hirst and at ILI 2015 , again with Tony, we ran a half-day workshop on “Preparing for the Future: Technological Challenges and Beyond”
The ILI conferences provided a valuable forum for disseminating the Jisc-funded work I was involved with during my 17 years worked at UKOLN for my core activities of standards-related work, web accessibility and use of emerging web technologies together with additional project activities. It is interesting to look back at a significant part of one’s professional activities over an extended period of time. And I must admit that I am looking forward to hearing Phil Bradley’s talk on “20 years in 20 minutes” which will conclude this year’s ILI conference.