Web 2.You 2011: A success for the 4th year in a row

I attended the 4th annual Web 2.You conference yesterday, and it did not disappoint. As you may know, I was co-organizer of Web 2.You 2009 and last year I was a presenter, but this time I was perfectly happy to sit and simply enjoy the day. The only small role I played was ambushing Web 2.You co-founder Amy Buckland at the opening by presenting her with the SLA Eastern Canada Chapter 2010 Member of the Year award. After that, there were no more surprises, just the high quality presentations we’ve come to expect each year.

Joanne Mayhew kicked things off with a presentation about Industry Canada‘s corporate wiki. The project has really taken off, and if they had only started a year earlier, I might have been able to have been involved with it when I worked there in the summer of 2008. At any rate, it was an interesting look at a successful wiki launch, and I have no doubt it will be useful for anyone in the audience who might work on a similar project in the future.

Next up, Rajiv Johal and Michelle Lake talked about LinkedIn, which is one of those social sites on which many people create profiles but fail to maintain them after the first month or two. I have the feeling that when the audience went home last night, we all either signed up for the site or updated our profiles. It was especially interesting for me because I gave a presentation on LinkedIn for MBA students last semester, and Rajiv and Michelle covered some angles I hadn’t considered before. I had looked at the site mainly in terms of networking and job hunting, but Rajiv pointed out that it can be a powerful tool for business librarians doing research on small companies. I definitely picked up some tips that I will be able to use in the future.

After lunch, we heard from a panel made up of Ulla de Stricker, Robin Canuel, and Carolyn Hank. For a group of people who had never met in person before, they did a remarkable job of feeding off of each other’s enthusiasm while maintaining a smooth flow of conversation. Topics included the ownership of tweets, data loss through reliance on USB sticks, and the belief of some students that all important old research has already been digitized. If the audience didn’t already have enough ideas to occupy our thoughts, we certainly had plenty to ponder after watching the panel discussion.

Jason Puckett wrapped things up with a fascinating look at “open formats, open source, open access, and open publishing.” He demonstrated the importance of openness to libraries, pointing to examples of where closed formats limit our users; for example, DRM on music and DVDs may actually encourage piracy because the pirated version is more useful. After pointing out the flaws in our current electronic environment, Jason gave examples of content creators, like Cory Doctorow, who are finding creative new business models that allow for openness and profits to coexist. He concluded on an optimistic note, suggesting that librarians are in a position to influence vendors and demand that they provide their information in open formats.

As usual, the event was followed by a 5 à 7, where the audience was able to interact with speakers (and perhaps to ask the questions we hadn’t been brave enough to ask in front of the whole group). All in all, it was a terrific day – congratulations to the organizers, MLIS students Adrienne Smith and Bruno Therrien!


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