Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Blog the Conference!

It's lunchtime on day 1 of WLA 2005 in sunny La Crosse. I'm hiding out in a corner with our laptop and wireless connection. Conferences seem to be mainly about meetings and programs -- but they're really about catching up with your colleagues.

I made the point in my program (first thing this morning) that the convergence of events in 1876 (the founding of ALA, the founding of Library Journal, the publication of the 1876 Report, Public Libraries in the United States...) meant that, for really the first time, library workers actually had colleagues they could communicate with and ask questions of and get information from. Now we take that kind of communication for granted, but then it was a new thing.

So I'm going to programs, but also doing the "schmooze-o-rama" in the hallways and Exhibit Hall.

I attended a program this morning called "Where Have All the Journals Gone? UW-Madison’s Response to High Priced Subscriptions," ably presented Jean Gilbertson, Jeanne Witte, and Rachel Watters.

The program description:
This program will present data from a UW-Madison Libraries pilot project: subscriptions to selected Wiley and Elsevier journal titles were cancelled, but access to those journals was still available to UW-Madison patrons, due to the library purchasing articles from the publisher’s web site. As subscription prices soar and library budgets shrink, this project is an experiment to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing articles as needed from the publisher rather than through journal subscriptions.

You gotta be a librarian to love this kind of stuff, but they're doing some very interesting things at UW-Madison that will help us all figure out how to deal with the serials crisis. As Jean noted at the end of the talk, we have to be willing to "think different" about the future of our libraries. How will we provide access to scholarly stuff that we only need once a year or that costs as much a car for a year's subscription?

Gotta go check out the exhibits...

1 comment:

nichole said...

Woo! Good to see a conference post. Here's to more!