I attended my first ALA midwinter conference over the weekend. Since it was held in Boston, MIT Libraries generously sponsored one day passes for those interested in going. I chose to go on Saturday. One thing I knew about midwinter going in is that it is much more meeting focused than session focused, but I tried to do a little bit of everything including a corporate demo, an Ignite session, a featured speaker, a roundtable meeting, and of course the exhibit hall.
First thing Saturday morning was a demo of HARI discovery, a conceptual discovery approach, or a very visual way to browse resources by concepts. I love any idea that makes browsing collections easier and more visual. It sort of looks like this…
It is still being developed, but beta testing is starting this spring and then roll out later in the year. One of the things that is neat about it is that when possible it works with full text, not just the metadata. It also scalable to millions and millions of items. The hope is that it will make wading through too much information manageable. It was also said that any text could be incorporated including archival description, special collections, and image/video metadata.
After the demo I went over to the exhibits hall and starting picking up posters, bookmarks, flyers, catalogs, advanced copies of books, tote bags, pens, coasters, pins, and any other kind of swag that looked intriguing. The free stuff at ALA is legendary and it’s def. a fun time in the exhibits hall. There were also a number of pop up kind of speaker events and book signings happening all over the place.