My talks at the ILN Conference in Dubai

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.

hi – 27nov07

Hi. I used to start quite a large number of these posts this way, but I haven’t lately. This is just a little heads up about a few things that you might be interested in.

  • I’m adding a little holiday sidebar with a few links to things you can get your favorite librarian. I’ve seen a few things where I’ve been like “Oh, isn’t that clever/appropriate?” so I figured I’d add them. The woodblock link is to a MetaFilter buddy who makes and sells amazingly lovely woodblock prints and has a little “help me advertise” program that I figured I’d help with. If you have other links, to your own stuff or great stuff from others, add it to the comments and I’ll put it up. I’ll take the sidebar down after the holidays. Please don’t get me anything, I have all that I need.
  • I may not have mentioned it here, but I took the Vermont Library Association website and ported it over to a bloggish format using WordPress and a few choice plugins that do things like put the jobs on their own page withough putting them on the front page, and allow people to add posts that are also events on the sidebar. I’d love to say that it went off without a hitch but the process was a little bumpy, mostly because of difficulty figuring out who had passwords to which pieces of the site. Folks, make sure you get this stuff in your binders! The switch from having one webmaster to making groups more responsible for their own content is a challenge as well. I’m lucky to be supported strongly by the VLA president as well as Judah Hamer from my former library who does the diplomacy stuff while I do the coding stuff.
  • I’ll be speaking at a conference in Dubai at the end of next week which I am very excited about. My friend Step who you may know from her various blogs is working at Zayed University and I am speaking at their conference and then Step and I are leading a blogging/wiki workshop. It will be the first time I’ve been out of the country to a non-English speaking locale (I know many people speak English, but not compared to Australia or Canada) in years. I am making an assumption that there are not many readers in Dubai, but if anyone is, please look me up.