JHW’s Notes: What a week!
Yes, what a week! This conference, which celebrated our 100th anniversary as an organization drew 5,856 conference attendees, up 16% from last year and the most in six years. Conference attendees came from 30 countries. It was wonderful to hear a broad range of languages in the hallways and exhibit hall. Our location was also multicultural, which seemed quite fitting. The Convention Center is a few blocks away from D.C.'s Chinatown. Washington, D.C. itself has residents from around the world and their influence can been seen all around.
Our speakers came from a variety of backgrounds and locations. Retired General Colin Powell was a surprising opening keynote speaker. While most of us had likely seem him comment on foreign policy on some news broadcast, who knew that he would be such an inspirational, funny and down-to-earth speaker?! I was also very pleased to hear Neil deGrasse Tyson, who was part of the final keynote (panel). And I'm very pleased to see that his online profile state that he "was born and raised in New York City where he was educated in the public schools clear through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science." Yes, public education can and does produce people who have a positive impact on our view of the world. (We tend to forget that.)
For those who ventured away from the conference to see parts of D.C., they saw the impact that information has had on our world. For example, data that was turned into information, which was turned into knowledge was at the heart of our missions to the moon in the 1960s as was a tremendous drive to make it so. As Tyson noted, those inspiring dreams create a drive in each of us to contribute which causes us to learn and to participate in careers that we might not consider otherwise. What dreams do we need to inspire our young people with now?
We also had fun. What would be a conference without open houses, networking events, and group activities that provided opportunities for us to know each other better? Activities included a road trip for some to the Mets vs. Orioles baseball game in Baltimore, MD. It seemed fitting that when SLA was in Baltimore that we journeyed to D.C. for game and this year (due to the game schedule) we had to journey to Baltimore!
As has become the custom with our conferences, there is a lot of content out on the Internet about what happened. There are nearly 900 photos in Flickr that have been tagged SLA2009. Technorati currently shows nearly 90 blog posts that use the tag "sla2009", but I would think the number of blog posts should be higher than that (perhaps there are more blog posts on their way?). And there are some videos in YouTube, but they have not been consistently tagged, so it's hard to find them all at once. This year, our Twitter stream carried a ton of information — much more than last year! Twitter is searchable, so you can find older tweets from the conference.
(Note to bloggers, etc., please tag your stuff from the conference with sla2009. BY using that tag, you conference related content becomes more findable. Thanks!)
With SLA 2009 now history, preparations are underway for the Leadership Summit in St. Louis (January 27-30, 2010) and the next annual conference in New Orleans (June 13 – 16, 2010). With the economy still fluctuating, don't wait until the last minute to talk to your management about the benefits of attending the conference. If you attended to conference this year, write a 1-2 page report for your management about what you learned and how that knowledge will help your organization. If you were unable to attend, talk to your management about what you have gleaned from the blogs, etc., and why attending in person allows you to learn more. When budget estimates are requested for 2010, be sure to include in your estimate funds for professional development. In other words, make sure that your management understands that this is important to you and to them.
Finally, below is a video that shows some of the exhibit hall. The exhibit hall (INFO-EXPO) was packed this year with companies that had exhibited before as well as some new ones to the conference.
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