So yesterday was the big day. A keynote talk, a Q&A session, and two blog/wiki workshops at the Information Literacy Network Conference in Dubai, UAE. I’ve been feeling, before this trip, that I was going someplace really different compared to places I’ve been before. I’ve never travelled out of the country on my own before (except to Canada) and I’ve never been to the Middle East before. I have a friend, Step, who lives out here, so its been a great chance to see a place through the eyes of someone who lives here, not just out a hotel window. My pictures are on Flickr though since Flickr is sort of blocked here it’s been a bit of a challenge getting them all uploaded.
The absolute weirdest thing about this trip so far is the number of people here who I wasn’t expecting to know, or who knew me. The director of the Zayed University library and I served on an ALA committee together. Two people at the conference had seen me speak before — one in California and one in Perth Australia. Another two people had attended the same conferences that I had been to. One woman grew up in a small Australian town I had driven though in March. One woman owns a house literally five miles from my own house in Bethel. Another participant had grown up in Vermont. Keep in mind that this is a tiny conference with just over 100 registrants.
So, I gave a talk on Library 2.0 technologies which is an interesting thing to do when some of my favorite technologies — Flickr, Twitter — are actually blocked at a country level and so are completely unavailable to these librarians and educators. During my workshop we actually got to mess around with a locally installed version of WordPress and a locally installed version of Mediawiki. It was tough to do a bit blog/wiki workshop in just under an hour but one of the neat parts was that for a workshop of 40 or so people, we had 20 wired laptops available so that people could actually use the software, not just hear about it.
So, the two notes pages from my talks are here
If you’ve seen my other 2.0 talks, this is a slightly different version with a little more background and links to more handouts. Thanks so much to the nice people who brought me out here. I’ll be heading back to the conference today just to sit in and maybe take a few photos.