Friday 27 July 2012

ALIA Biennial- the value of discovery

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks. I recently attended the ALIA Biennial conference and I had a great time. It was a conference of firsts for me- I was on the social media committee, presented my first paper and I took part in the mentoring programme as a mentor for the first time. I also spoke at the First Timers’ Breakfast.
There was a great breadth of papers presented and some really wonderful keynote speakers. Some of the highlights were hearing Justice Kirby’s keynote address, as well as hearing the ideas put forward by Dr Tom Ruthven on data mining and Professor Mitchell Whitehall on the design of beautiful interfaces that encourage exploration and discovery.
Besides all of the ideas that I took away from listening to the keynotes and presentations, I also took away a lot of other valuable experiences with me, such as all of the new people I met and talked to, all of the people I started following on Twitter, participating and monitoring the social media streams (did you know that the #ALIA2012 tag actually trended in Australia at one stage?) and of course, experiencing presenting for the first time. In fact, I would have to say that the informal and incidental learning experiences and discoveries that came about from talking to people during breaks, meal times, at the informal Tweet up and after my presentation, were probably the most valuable to me personally. I made some wonderful new friends and acquaintances, who have expanded my professional learning network considerably, whom I hope to remain in contact with long after the heady rush of attending the conference itself fades away. 
Judging from the tweet traffic on Twitter, everyone seemed to enjoy joining in the conversation. And judging from the traffic still being tagged with the #ALIA2012 hash tag, as everyone is preparing to report back their discoveries to their colleagues, people are still abuzz with conference chatter, even three weeks after the conference. This really demonstrates the impact that the conference-going experience has had on the LIS community. And it's a great community to be a part of. From my experience, we're a generous and passionate bunch of people and it’s a pleasure to be a part of it. 
Did you attend the ALIA Binenial? What was the most valuable thing you took away from it? Even if you didn’t attend the conference, you can search for the Twitter hash tag #ALIA2012 and check out some of the archives of Tweets that were captured on the ALIA Biennial blog.  
- Crystal
Crystal is the convenor of the ALIA Sydney group and tweets @crystalibrary.

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