It’s been an incredible couple of days since I posted last. Thursday was “The Big Presentation” that I’ve been worrying about and preparing for for the last several weeks. (All that for 15 minutes of fame…) People tell me it went well, but I honestly can’t remember very much about it. I remember wondering how I was supposed to move away from behind the podium when the microphone was firmly attached there and wires (most of which were taped down) surrounded me. I remember wondering if it’d make me look even smaller if I stood closer to that HUGE screen. I don’t remember my legs shaking, but they were pretty sore that night, so they must have been doing their own thing (I’m just glad I didn’t fall over). I remember shuffling my papers (though thankfully not ever reading from them) way more often than was actually necessary. I also remember trying desperately not to offend the people from Innovative as I suggested that the ILS is too integrated and too monolithic to serve libraries.
I think I managed not to alienate anyone, but I know that my message got through to the audience because people came up to me afterward to discuss the pros and cons of getting bits of functionality from different places. If anyone wants to see my PowerPoint presentation, it’s here. I’ve added some fleshed out speaking notes to it because there really aren’t any words on the slides. (I prefer to make slides composed mostly of “pretty pictures,” many of which move.)
I presented right after Dinah Sanders, who talked about the Library As Community, and who mentioned all sorts of cool things that are coming in Millennium Encore (2007). Here Comes Tagging!!!!! (Not to mention reviews, ratings, relevance ranking, faceting, and a whole lot more.) I’m sure she remembers what she actually said while up there on that stage…
After that day, I went home and sat on the porch for a few hours doing absolutely nothing. Then I watched stupid TV till my eyes bugged out before crawling into bed. Friday and Saturday were the first real days off I’ve had in a long, long time. And it was great to spend them with my parents. (The dog and the cat even called a truce for the first time in their lives!) And today I’m back at work for the last Sunday reference shift at the end of the school year.
I’m still laboring over my silly little 15-20 minute presentation. I’m VERY pleased that last week I collected detailed screen shots of everything I wanted to show because now one of the catalogs I was going to use as an example is off line! (I was originally inspired to go the full screen shot route rather than live demo because of a couple of spectacular failures I saw recently at another conference.)
Luckily, after Thursday morning I won’t have to slog away at this any more. It’s all a head game, I know. If I hadn’t been surprised to see my name listed as one of the two-person KEYNOTE panel at the conference (when I’d thought it was just any old panel discussion) I’d have finished the stupid thing by now. What I’d give for a brain transplant some days. All I want is to be brilliant, confident, and witty, and I suppose charming wouldn’t be a bad idea either… Is that too much to ask?
What a way to enter into the conference presentation arena… I’ve never presented at an event before.
On a happier note, my mom and dad and wonderful, huge, 100-pound dog are going to be arriving any second now, and they’re staying until Sunday. I just hope the dog and the cat can make peace by then, though that’s doubtful. I can see it all now: after two days of them going after each other my neighbors will collectively petition to have me evicted.
After several hundred hours viewing the source code of a few thousand web pages, and then another several hundred hours writing up the data (not to mention the literature review) I’m finally rewarded. Information Processing & Management decided to publish the article I wrote with Professor Jin Zhang of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. As the body of the text is just about as scintillating as the title, “A Study of the Metadata Creation Behavior of Different User Groups on the Internet,” I only know of two people who’ve actually read it… my parents.
Here’s the abstract:
Metadata is designed to improve information organization and information retrieval effectiveness and efficiency on the Internet. The way web publishers respond to metadata and the way they use it when publishing their web pages, however, is still a mystery. The authors of this paper aim to solve this mystery by defining different professional publisher groups, examining the behaviors of these user groups, and identifying the characteristics of their metadata use. This study will enhance the current understanding of metadata application behavior and provide evidence useful to researchers, web publishers, and search engine designers.
Our second paper (about patterns in metadata elements that show up together in the source code of these web pages) has been accepted by Online Information Review, though there’s no word yet on when the article will actually be published. And little by little I’m still collecting data for one (or two) more papers.