“All the news that’s fit to print.” Like newspapers, bloggers have to choose what to report. I was at the international reception here at Special Libraries Association (SLA) in Denver, talking to some of my SIIA friends, when someone mentioned that Iâ€™d be blogging about it later. Quite an obligation, this blogging, not only to provide some vaguely sensible commentary on the events I attend, but to turn a hilarious conversation into something that wonâ€™t embarrass me â€“ or anyone else â€“ isnâ€™t necessarily an easy task. This is my first SLA and Iâ€™m here because of Guanxi: The China Letter, which is our first direct foray into business information. I was disheartened by our sad little â€œTable Topâ€ (the budget display option) when I arrived, especially since we had only half a back panel and were in front of the doors to the service (and rubbish) area. But we were next to the University of Michigan China Data Service, which meant a chance to talk about guanxi the concept as well as GuanxiOnline.com, and over the two days I met dozens of great people â€“ information specialists from companies ranging from Johnson & Johnson (proud sponsors of the 2008 Olympic Games, I learned) to Hewlett Packard – who are interested in various types of China content. Lots of enthusiasm for what weâ€™re doing â€“ and plenty of suggestions, too, for future development.
At the Economist Intelligence Unitâ€™s party (where I just drank water, because I read that this is the key to avoiding altitude headaches â€“ Iâ€™m testing it out, because I really want to go to Tibet), a lot of talk about China, in part because plans for an SIIA conference in Beijing next year are taking shape. It was fun to run into Marydee Ojala, editor of ONLINE magazine, who knows Great Barrington from the time when her uncle had a home there. She said I should definitely go to the Buying & Selling e-Content conference next year, and since everyone says itâ€™s great fun to go to Arizona during the winter I suppose I could use this as justification! Later I heard Marydee say something about taxonomies and my ears perked up. â€œBut you know about taxonomies,â€ she said, and reminded me of the article David wrote for her about how anthropology can provide new ways to tag content. But I hope she wasnâ€™t referring to the taxonomy conversation in this blog post on the Monday evening parties:
I had a profound discussion with some folks at the EIU party at the Brown Palace Hotel (what a gorgeous place!), and danced at the Elsevier party at the Pinnacle Club at the Grand Hyatt with its spectacular views of the city. Did other parties as well, but youâ€™ll have to ask me about those privately.
And what did we talk about at the international reception? There was some talk about international law content, because I have a meeting about that tomorrow and a fellow who deals with legal material happened along. But the rest of the time we were exchanging stories about teenage and college escapades, and talking about the music (or, in my case, Chinese lessons) we have on our iPods. First time at a conference is usually lonely, but because some of my favorite people from SIIA â€“ Ed Keating, Charlie Terry, Randy Marcinko, Robin Neidorf – are here, it hasnâ€™t been that way at all. Not to mention that Janice Lachance, the dynamic executive director of SLA, has become a dear friend â€“ we bonded back in January during a conversation about China, at a dinner at the Information Industry Summit. Yesterday she was wearing a jacket in a Chinese festive red: ready for Beijing 2008, I hope!