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Beyond the Fat Wire

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Conference wrap-up

This was a good conference. Gilbane seems to have CM events twice a year: April in San Francisco and November in Boston.

Like the IA Summit, this conference was a place where it was cool to be a librarian. Also like the IA Summit, you get the corporate and non-profit folks, though the IA Summit has more folks from academia. And, like the IA Summit, most of the corporate folks are capable of talking in terms other than Business/IT buzz words.

I think it's important for us in the higher ed sector to get out among colleagues from the corporate and nonprofit sectors. While we aren't selling anything in the way that a corporation is, I would argue that we have many of the same issues -- and, maybe, we *could* say that we *do* have something to sell. The question is what are our products, and I would say we have 2: services (e.g., reference/instruction/access services) and information access. If we want our customers (students, faculty, staff) to *want* to buy (read: "use") our products, we have to be able to communicate to our customers effectively -- using language that will attract and hold them, using mediums of communication that they expect and want to receive, and offering that communication in places and times that will maximize customers' attention and our message's impact.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find out what the Gilbane Content Technology Works program is. I was skeptical for some time, figuring, there must be some consultancy selling their services buried underneath there somewhere. But, I don't think that's it.

It seems to be a program, created by the Gilbane Report folks and underwritten by CM vendors, that is really meant to further CM projects. What they do is write case studies and hold webinars, all at no charge, where the purpose is to highlight best practices and successes in CM implementations. It helps the CM workers, furthers the profession, helps make new projects reach success, and, when those things happen, vendors also benefit.

There are conference sessions in the morning (the post-conference workshops are in the afternoon) in the Digital Asset Management and Knowledge Management tracks, but I'm not sure I'll be able to get to any of them before I go to the airport.

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