scio11: wrap-up and intro

Jan 17 2011 Published by under Conferences

Well, typically I have a post in which I announce that I will be going to a conference. Once I’m at the conference and live blogging, I’ll note at the top of each post that I’m taking stream-of-consciousness notes. This time I just jumped in and never once mentioned any of that.

So I went to Science Online ‘11. This is my fifth one of these and I had been considering sitting this one out. I’m soooo glad I didn’t because this one was probably the best one ever. They’ve always been well run, and had interesting people talking about interesting things, but this was even more so.  Some of my favorite bloggers were missing, but I also met many new people. Also – the swag – typically some interesting things. This time 3 amazing books (including Greg’s on Mathematical Methods for Optical Physics and Engineering, which is perfect for MPOW and is going to become one of the very few print books we have on our shelves).

I took those notes – I’ll probably look them over to make sure there aren’t any things that desperately need cleaning up. The Drupal post does need fixing – apparently my computer went offline in the middle of posting and Live Writer has now overwritten my notes with the current post. Boo.

Some other thoughts:

  • the ebook session was really quite different than I expected. John did a phenomenal job and I couldn’t agree more with his points. Turns out that the writers and consumers of books in the audience really didn’t know much if anything about the ebook world as it is seen from the library world. All the DRM and the licensing and the different formats and the preservation issues as well as our frustration with these were all new. Also didn’t seem like the audience got that most ebooks are just another format – as if publishing would really be that different. I guess some are – like apps – but most are like audiobooks are to the print.
  • the network session was a bit disappointing. A rapid fire exchange among the panelists would have been fabulous. Everyone was so darn polite. After there was a decent intro, there was only time for like 2-3 questions. My question – about diversity – was completely ignored. I guess I understand why, but still disappointing. If anything, I thought the session would be rowdy.
  • taping the sessions and having participants skype in was probably a mistake. the point of a conference – and not a webinar or video conference – is to get the most out of the spark between the people in the same room. Rapid fire discussion, with great ideas and questions coming from anywhere in the room. I’ve had the benefit of watching conferences from my desk and I really appreciate the opportunity. It’s definitely a good thing to broadcast sessions. Some how, we need to find a way to do that such that the people in the room in an unconference aren’t stifled.
  • a famous blogger tried (unsuccessfully) to pick a fight – seems that person doesn’t like British people, because that’s the only thing in common with the last fight I saw this blogger pick. It does take two to get into a big fight as well as people cheering from the sidelines  - so that didn’t happen
  • on the British note – lots more representation from that country and it was great!
  • I also very much enjoyed having folks trained in social studies of science and information science/bibliometrics and who knew the lit much better than I. I learned stuff!
  • Sciseeker has a lot of promise – I think it will develop into something really useful.
  • the opening keynote by Krulwich was amazing. I love RadioLab – I catch it whenever I can. I guess it was new to many in the audience – that’s surprising.
  • Finally, but most importantly, Heather gave me a big pep talk about my dissertation and I see from this conference that there is still more to learn about scientists and social computing technologies. So I’m going to get back to work. And then she’s going to buy me a beer :)
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