Friday, June 1st, 2007
Each day at NASIG starts with a Vision Session. A speaker is invited to come and talk to all of us on a topic that is relevant to librarianship, technology, and/or life in general. Our first speaker was Bob Stein, from the USC Annenberg Center. He talked about issues of authority and how to determine an authoritative version of a work from the beginning of printing to the digital age. It was interesting to think about how marginalia in a book can create a new version of a work. And how marginalia exists in the digital world and how that network impacts what it means to be human. One thought I really liked was the idea that before you can design the answer to a problem/question/issue, you have to understand the purpose of what you do.
After the group Vision Session, we had a series of Strategy Sessions and Tactics Sessions, with lunch and breaks mixed in. There are many simultaneous sessions, and fortunately most of them are repeated during the conference. A few, however, are not repeated. One such session was on leadership and how technical services has taught people to be leaders. Being a technical services librarian (which includes all the behind the scenes aspects like cataloging), I thought the session would be interesting. And it was. I now have a reading list of books and articles the three speakers recommended that sound really interesting. Nothing like a little light summer reading, no?
I also attended a session on a new vision for applying FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) to continuing resources. This is an issue that has been debated for years. Serials do not fit neatly into the FRBR model. They just don’t. This project involves the creation of a superworkspression record that would function as an authority record for that particular serial title. I’m not completely happy with this idea. One, it involves re-cataloging things. I don’t have time to catalog everything now, much less re-catalog things I’ve already dealt with. Besides, I don’t see why we have to re-do things. Personally, I think we should be able to make our systems manipulate the data we already have. I recognize that this presentation was for an idea that is currently being worked on, it’s in process, so there are obviously things to be worked out. It will be interesting to see where they go with this new application of the FRBR model to serials.
The nice thing about this conference, is that you aren’t required to attend everything, so if there’s a block of time that doesn’t have anything that you’re interested in or that relates to your job, you have some down time to visit with more people or just take a nap. There is a such thing as “conference fatigue” where your brain just can’t handle anything else, and the lack of sleep combined with the intensity catches up with you. So down time when you can get it is immensely valuable for warding off “conference fatigue.” Basically, I’m offering an excuse for the fact that I took some time to myself before the evening’s activities kicked off.
Breakfast and lunch are provided at the conference, but dinners you are on your own. Locals attending the conference offer to take people on “dine arounds” to various restaurants walking distance from the hotel. A group of us usually have some sort of “anti” dine around where we go off and find another restaurant, usually something ethnic or generally weird. B and I picked out an African restaurant, even looked at the menu online, and we all headed out. There was a group of 10 of us, wandering down the street. On the way, we spotted not one, not two, but THREE wig shops!! NASIG is not complete without seeing a wig shop. We have seen one on each and every NASIG I’ve attended, and always within 10 blocks of the hotel. Fabulous!
So after our wig shop sighting for this NASIG, we continued on our way to the restaurant. Alas, the fates were not smiling, and it was closed! Bummer. Fortunately, a member of our group, PM, had a map, which he promptly pulled out. Now that’s using your resources and being prepared. Impressive. Just down the street was the Bluegrass Brewing Co. So that’s where we went. It was good. The beer was good, the company was good, the food was good, and our waitress, Kim, was excellent.
After dinner, we headed back to the 4th Street Live area for martinis. There had been many a discussion about the merits of a gin martini versus a vodka martini, so we decided we must have a martini night to compare. We landed at the Red Star Tavern. JS is a gin person, and I’m a vodka person. We each ordered our favorites, and then exchanged. Then we exchanged back. Not that the other option was bad, but I think we each preferred our favorite martini style. After doing more sitting and chatting, we all started to get restless.
A few people headed back to the hotel because they were tired, but the majority of us headed out for some dancing. When we walked into the street, we discovered that they were holding a fashion show in the middle of the street! Crazy. It meant that there was not only loud music inside the bars, but outside, and there were people everywhere. Talk about a party in the street. We headed to a place called the Tengo Sed Cantina (yes, I’m laughing quite hard about the name) for some dancing and craziness. And we all had fun. My mentee, EL, told me she had a blast and is already looking forward to next year. Awesome! But it was a very late night. Ah, the joys of conferences.