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Impressions of an IFLA Congress – 2

It’s Friday, August 15, and the 2008 IFLA Congress is officially finished, but I have one more meeting, the Governing Board, tomorrow.  On Wednesday, I attended the meeting hosted by Jay Jordan, President of OCLC, concerning OCLC’s new initiatives, and especially how it operates internationally.  It’s clear that the organization will be making some changes in governance to allow for more participation by OCLC members outside the U.S. as those numbers are growing fast.  OCLC’s Karen Calhoun spoke about metadata and how library catalogs need to be put in a larger context if they will continue to be relevant to information searchers.  I had to leave the session early, but not before she quoted from both David Weinberger and David Lankes, both authors looking into the future of information and both speakers coming to the Smithsonian Libraries this fall.

Earlier that day, the Acquisitions and Collection Development Section held a program about mass digitization, at which Robert Miller of the Internet Archive, and Jonathan Bengston of the University of Toronto talked about the large-scale digitizing going on there.  Robert showed a clip of the scanning center there, which has 28 workstations operating 14 hours a day to scan university collections.  They were followed by Klaus Ceynowa of the Bavarian State Library in Munich, which has signed a non-exclusive contract with Google for digitizing its collections.  He defended this by laying out the enormous cost of doing it themselves, but also pointed out that the Library is getting a copy of the files that it can make available in any way it wants.

Yesterday was the IFLA Council Meeting, the Council being the voting body of IFLA, followed by the Closing Ceremony.  At the Ceremony, the Italian National Committee  welcomed delegates to the next IFLA Congress in 2009, which will be held in Milan.  They introduced two young musicians who played a lovely classical oboe-piano duet, followed by a film showing the many charming features of the city and Lombardy region.  Claudia Lux, IFLA’s President, then announced that the 2011 Congress will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which stimulated a moving, tearful speech from the head of the Puerto Rican National Committee and another film clip than definitely encouraged the audience to plan to attend.  I had the pleasure of announcing the winners of the best section newsletter and best poster competitions, which seemed to please the crowd.

All in all, it was a smooth running event with many excellent papers that will find their way into the IFLA Journal and many memories of Quebec to take home.

Nancy Gwinn

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