Thursday, 15 September 2011

Speaking up, writing down

I have been there, done it all, participated - passively and actively - observing and presenting, helping in organising conferences. And publishing, a lot. All in my past academic career.
No one doubts the importance of conferences, meeting people who we have only heard about, read their publications, spoke on a phone, or followed online. Conference is like the icing on a cake - the finale of year's (or longer) work in science or any other subject. It is an opportunity to learn and to teach. It's an experience that cannot be replaced by any other method of communicating news, results and thoughts. Personal contact, even by listening to what others have to say or through discussing matters of common interest, cannot be substituted by reading reports, articles and proceedings. I used to go to conferences, national and international, both as a presenter of my own scientific work and as a passive participant. In fact, through meeting people at conferences I was invited to England some (long!) time ago and this is why I am here now.

Unfortunately participating in conferences is not easily available for all. Mostly because of the cost of this participation (often including long and expensive travel and accommodation). That is why taking part in the annual conferences libraries@cambridge for all of us who work here is such a great opportunity to keep up to date with all that is important in a library world. TeachMeat sessions are also very valuable "micro" conferences. Training sessions, occasional talks and presentation, visiting other libraries (thank you Cambridge College libraries who organised tours this summer)- all are very much appreciated and valuable possibilities to learn new things and meet new people.

It would be good to go to London sometimes or to other places where CILIP organises its conferences. For example there is one this week on reclassification, something which in my library has been a long term project and in which I have taken rather a substantial part. It would be good to hear what others have experienced in this subject and what their thoughts are. However I cannot afford it. There is an e-forum on this subject which will follow the conference. I might register for this, but it will not be the same.

Publishing it is also something I did a lot in the past. Blogging is the only form of publication I "produce" now. And it is not easy, oh no! It is good however to write down one's thoughts on various subjects even if they are not going anywhere beyond the www.blogger ...

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