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IATUL 1999 Conference Report

21 August 1999
TO: IFLA Science & Technology Section
FROM: Julia Gelfand, University of California, Irvine, USA
RE: IATUL 1999 Report

The 1999 meeting of the International Association of Technological University Libraries (IATUL) took place in Chania, Crete, May 17-21, hosted by the Technical University of Crete (TUC), under the leadership of Anthi Katsirikou, Director of Libraries and her staff. This beautiful Greek island was a wonderful place to attend a conference. TUC is a new technical university opened less than 15 years, with an expanding library on the new campus. The history, natural beauty, options for distractions made for a very special trip. Crete is very near the Balkans and the immediacy and concerns for the war being fought so nearby was very evident. That week also was the anniversary of when the Germans bombed the island as part of WW II. Registration included abut 120 librarians and information professionals from throughout Eastern & Western Europe, Australia, South Africa and a few from North America.

The theme of this year's conference was "The Future of Libraries in Human Communication," and many sessions reflected ideas related to issues in library service and management. Several keynote papers were delivered on topics ranging from:

  • "The changing role of the library: missions and ethics," which described changes in the new British Library by the Director-General, David Russon;
  • Ann Wolpert, University Librarian at MIT addressed "Commercial brand management;"
  • Alan Bundy from the University of South Australia delivered a most enlightening paper on "Challenging technolust: the educational responsibility of librarians."

About 30 papers were delivered. Specific papers of interest included:

  • "Sharing metadata: enabling online information provision," which was about preparing bibliographic records for opacs;
  • the new concept of the "International library, information and analysis center (ILIAC)," a new project at the Russian National Public Library for Science & Technology, which was described as a worldwide venture to gain investment in resources for that library and to share and encourage cooperation between Russia, the CIS, USA and other countries;
  • and several others on different new services, partnerships and activities introduced by creative librarians and information providers from around the globe. For a listing of all the papers and fulltext coverage, an electronic proceedings is available at http://educate.lib.chalmers.se/IATUL/proceedcontents/cvol19.html. Proceedings of earlier conferences are found on the IATUL homepage at: http://educate.lib.chalmers.se/IATUL/index.html where one can learn about the organization, membership categories, other publications, future conference announcements and find links to other science library organizations and associations, including IFLANET.

Field trips during the conference in Crete included visits to the archaeological sites at Knossos where visits were made to the famous Minoan Palace and also a brief stop to the Heraklion Museum to see the relics from the restoration at that site; academic libraries at the University of Crete; monasteries of Preveli and Gonia and for some attendees, a trip to the Samaria Gorge. The hospitality and setting on the beautiful venetian waterfront of Chania was a beautiful backdrop for the conference and contributed to wonderful memories.

At the business meeting, the IATUL Board:

  • shared and explored ways to grow IATUL -
    • to achieve more visibility through some of its projects, such as EDUCATE, DEDICATE and other research and service programs that librarians at many IATUL member institutions participate in;
    • to increase membership, that is institutionally-based;
    • to encourage more participation from North America;
    • to promote sponsorship from different sources;
    • conference planning could be better distributed.
  • update on Board composition:
    • Michael Breaks will assume the four year term of President of IATUL following the close of the 2000 conference and Nancy Fjallbrant will become past-president;
    • The North American representative from the US will be Lee Jones from the Linda Hall Library, Kansas City.
  • and heard attendees share their continued enthusiasm for:
    • the relevancy of content in the programs to their primary responsibilities;
    • the sense of "community" and the "all-inclusiveness" of conference package;
    • the ability to leisurely share information and network;
    • how the develop new friends and colleagues, usually more difficult to achieve at larger conferences;
    • the appreciation to local organizing committees;
    • how much they look forward to renew acquaintances and see friends that they only see at IATUL conferences.

IATUL 2000 will next meet July 3-7, 2000 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, when Queensland University of Technology and the University of Queensland will host a conference with the theme, "Virtual Libraries, Virtual communities" hoping to draw papers on subthemes of:

  • The Information Economy
  • Virtual Campus
  • Networked Learning Environments
  • Innovative Client Services (including Information Literacy and Personalized Learning)

Several prominent keynoters have already been invited from Australia and the United States to participate in this first IATUL conference of the millennium. One can consult http://educate.lib.chalmers.se/IATUL/confe.html for ongoing announcements and details about that conference, deadlines for submissions and registrations and a reference to the host institutions at: http://www.qut.edu.au/

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