Summer Without ALA

ALA is gearing up for its annual conference to be held this year in New Orleans from June 21-28. And again, I along with many other librarians will not attend. It’s not that I have something against ALA or its annual meeting. When I look at the cost of travel, registration, room and board, and perhaps a little extra to have fun, I simply wait for ALA annual or midwinter to come to a town near me. Now many of the presentations will be posted after the conference at their wiki. There’s also the slideshare page for ALA. With this thought, I went to the program for this summer to see what I’ll be missing.

A quick and dirty keyword search on metadata yielded a few results. There was (…yet again…) presentations on RDA. Other topics including using Digital Common (from bePress) as an institutional repository, LC’s genre/form terms, library data and the linked web, audio media, preservation metadata, and cataloging zine collections. In addition to the presentations, there are of course the meetings of the various groups on metadata, cataloging, and classification.

After this search, I realized that I wasn’t too distraught about missing ALA Annual this year. LC’s genre/form was discussed and announced on several listservs and blogs. Indeed, when controlling genre and form headings in Connexion, one can already seen this change. There has been extensive discussions on RDA. We are still waiting for the final announcement from the national libraries as to whether RDA will be implemented. Will this announcement take place at ALA Annual? If it does, more than likely it will also be announced on professional listservs and blogs. As for the other topics, there are articles, archived listserv and blog posts that talk about them.

Of course, ALA Annual is not just about learning new things that can or cannot be learned in other ways. If it was, I would think twice about going to an ALA meeting when it came near me. Much more than the presentations and meetings, ALA Annual is about networking. Much more than the presentations, I will miss meeting up with my colleagues and meeting new ones.