Blogging tonight from Washington DC where I'm attending the WebSearch Univerity Conference, a "two-day intensive environment concentrating on how information professionals can most effectively and efficiently apply Internet resources to their individual work situations."
Since so much of what I do revolves around finding sites, sources and content, attending seemed like a good thing to do. The lineup of speakers was first class starting with our own Chris Sherman (who gave a terrific presentation today) and includes my LONG time research idol Tara Calishain .
Today's sessions touched on all things search which included the engines, social search, tagging, RSS, alert services, multi-media outlets, scholarly search engines, Wikis, searching patents, the answer sites, advanced search techniques, CiteSeer and it's sister site SmealSearch, YouTube, Flickr, Myspace..... on and on. And like I said - that was just today.
From what I can see, the majority of people here are librarians and most of those are from Universities; I've seen name tags from Norte Dame, Univeristy of Wisconsin, Brown, and Wake Forest as well as a bunch from the US Patent office. There are also a number of people who run corporate libraries, corporate databases and I sat next to a woman who was the IT coordinator for a public school system here in Virginia. I found everyone to be extremely search savvy and well informed on social search and the tagging sites.
Which (shame on me) surprised me. I've been hearing how tagging and social search wasn't used much outside of SEO/SEM circles and has been slow to mainstream. After listening today I'm here to tell you that just ain't so. The speakers asked for a show of hands on how many were actively using tags, Technorati as well as other Web2.0 applications and most of the room responded.
And not only were they using them, they liked them. There was a consensus that while people still need to use search engines, finding popular opinion and new sources in (almost) real time had equal if not more appeal. It makes sense if they're using the technology, (especially a group of librarians) they're teaching it or telling others as well. The delicious ball is definitely rolling.
Tomorrow is competitive intelligence, news search, scholar search, academic sources, paid search, and an in-depth look at how to use RSS, non commercial directories and more. Link candy!
Slashdot / Del.icio.us / Digg
Monday, September 18, 2006
Posted by Debra Mastaler at 7:58 PM