v30#6 2018 Charleston Library Conference: Oh, Wind, if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

by | Feb 18, 2019 | 0 comments

by The Charleston Conference Team:  Leah Hinds  (Executive Director of the Charleston Conference, Charleston Information Group, LLC) , Tom Gilson  (Associate Editor ATG) , and Katina Strauch (Editor, ATG

The 2018 Charleston Library Conference — our 38th annual conference — was held from Monday, November 5, through Friday, November 9 in beautiful Charleston, SC, like always.  Preconferences and Seminars as in years past were held prior to the conference on Monday and Tuesday, November 5 and 6.  The Charleston Seminars part of the Preconferences are in-depth workshops that are offered either before or after the main Charleston Conference.  This year’s seminars were Acquisitions Bootcamp, presented in partnership with UNC School of Information and Library  Science, and Marketing to Libraries.  A total of 8 preconferences were presented over the two days on many other topics including the user experience, data curation, vendor-library relationships, OERs, and more.

Our attendance (approx. 2,000 total) contained roughly 50% librarians, 23% vendors, 18% publishers, and 9% consultants, students, and others.  These statistics were taken from the self-reported “Attendee Type” category on the conference registration form.

The main conference consisted of 7 plenary presentations, 162 concurrent sessions and lively lunches, 18 Neapolitan sessions, and 47 poster and virtual poster sessions.  Major themes of the meeting included data visualization, analysis and assessment of collections and library users, demand-driven acquisition, the future of print collections, and open access publishing.  This short overview will give you a birds eye view of some of the content which was extensive and far-ranging.

The 2018 Charleston Conference was opened by a keynote presentation from the vivacious Annette Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Scientific & Academic Research, Clarivate Analytics, titled “The Future of Research Information: Open, Connected, Seamless,” in which she discussed the opportunities, challenges, and pitfalls of this golden age of research, and about embracing the original principles that made the web itself such a powerful force.  The audience was heartened to hear that in the future the Web of Science will be used to identify the product that we all know and love.

A brief plenary presentation on Wednesday was a short talk from the amazing T. Scott Plutchak about the Open Scholarship Initiative.  “The world of scholarly publishing has always been fraught with issues of access, authority, politics, and funding.  Who has access to academic journals? How are studies and articles selected for publication? What are the politics behind these choices?  How do institutions fund their studies and, conversely, how do journals, etc. pay staff and publication costs?

“The Open Scholarship Initiative (http://osiglobal.org/overview/) proposes to address some of these issues and to bring the work of researchers and scholars of all disciplines within reach of the international community.”

Wednesday morning also included an incisive panel discussion on mining data for effective decision-making featuring Ann Michael of DeltaThink, Ivy Anderson of CDL, and Gwen Evans of OhioLink.

Thursday morning was opened by keynote plenary speaker Ruth Okediji, from Harvard Law School, whose profoundly energetic and riveting presentation was titled “Navigating Access to Knowledge: Copyright, Fake News, Fair Use, and Libraries.”  Ruth presented a rousing call to libraries, with reflections like information is not news, news is not knowledge, and that librarians are critical to the architecture of civic education.

Thursday morning also featured the innovative Charleston Fast Pitch competition, which was held as one of our Neapolitan sessions this year.  Fast Pitch encourages proposals for ideas on improving or transforming the work environment at a library, or any information-related enterprise or organization in educational technology.  Fast Pitch was conceived by Ann Okerson of the Center for Research Libraries and is made possible by the generous donation of the Goodall Family Foundation.  Innovators Rob O’Connell of Smith College, Molly Rainard of Auraria Library, Devin Savage of Illinois Institute of Technology, and Michael Young of University of Connecticut were selected as finalists to present their inventive ideas to the Charleston audience and compete for a chance at two $2,500 prizes (one selected by the Judges and the other by the audience) sponsored by the Goodall Family Foundation.  We would like to congratulate Rob O’Connell of Smith College for winning the audience choice award, and Devin Savage of Illinois Institute of Technology for winning the judges’ choice award.  “With so many recent developments in information technology, the opportunities for innovation in information management across academic libraries are endless,” says Steve Goodall, Founder and President of the Goodall Family Foundation.  “The Goodall Family Foundation is honored to be part of the Charleston Fast Pitch Competition.”

To encourage international participation, there was also a third award of an international travel stipend to attend the 2018 conference and present a winning idea to the audience.  This award was sponsored by Business Expert Press and Momentum Press.  Congratulations to Tony Xu, Co-Founder, Rabbit Hole of Knowledge/STEM Fellowship for winning the international travel award.  “Contributing financially means supporting people from other countries who share progressive ideas in education, new critical resources for our libraries, and solutions to revitalizing academic foundations,” said Sung Tinnie, COO of BEP and Momentum Press.

Thursday afternoon featured the Charleston Premiers: Five Minute Previews of the New and Noteworthy. This session features short lightning round style presentations of new companies and products of interest to the Charleston community. Audience voting at the end determined the following winners:

“PageMajik is a workflow solution which uses machine learning to automate repetitive, time-consuming, expensive aspects of the publishing process,” says Jon White Global VP, Sales & Marketing.  “The Charleston Premiers gave us a chance to really showcase The HistoryMakers Digital Archive in front of a large audience.  The chance to receive instant feedback on the tool, and on our presentation of its features, through the Audience Choice awards really drove home for us the value of both the premiers and the Charleston Conference as a whole.  We will definitely be coming back and participating in the premiers to introduce new features and tools in the future,” added Dionti Davis, Special Assistant to the President.

On Friday morning, the stimulating Long Arm of the Law session was back again for another musical number, including Ann Okerson of CRL, Bill Hannay of Schiff Hardin LLP, and Kenneth Crews of Gipson Hoffman & Pancione, discussing current legal issues affecting libraries and the information industry.

The week was capped off by a Closing Session and “Poll-A-Palooza” on Friday afternoon featuring a poll session hosted by Erin Gallagher of Reed College, a closing summary from Stephen Rhind-Tutt of Fairfax House Group, and a preview of things to come in 2019 from Barbara Meyers Ford of Meyers Consulting Services and Anthony Watkinson of CIBER Research.

For more detailed reports on the plenaries and other conference sessions, see the Charleston Conference Blog, written by Donald Hawkins, at http://www.against-the-grain.com/category/chsconfblog/.  The full schedule with session titles and descriptions, speaker listing, and sponsor listing is available at https://2018charlestonconference.sched.com/.   Videos of all plenary sessions and Neapolitan sessions, along with select concurrent and lively discussions, are being uploaded to the conferences YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/CharlestonConference.  Subscribe for updates and notifications as new content is made available.

This issue contains a series of articles from presenters and staff from the 2018 Charleston Conference.  The aim is to give a flavor of the materials, topics, ideas, and thoughts that were presented there.  Although there is too much to cover in one issue (remember the conference theme “Too Much is Not Enough?”), we hope that these articles cover some of the most salient and important themes.

And don’t forget — the 2019 Conference will be held November 4-8.  We hope to see you there!  

Overheard at the Conference

“Data belongs to the person who created it.”

“Just because we can do something with technology, should we do it?”

“Who owns usage data?”

“Affordability is not the strategy of choice anymore.”

“What’s wrong with being commercial?”

“Copyright law should be an instrument of education.”

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