Conference Blogging
Ratliff on Coltrane

Conference Marathon

I see that Clare has put the Conference Call 2007 blog to bed.  As I've said here previously, I consider it to be the very model of what one can do with a conference blog and I think I'm even more impressed with what she did after the meeting than prior to it or during.  For over a month after the close of the meeting, she continued to post regularly, with well thought out summaries, full of links, to many of the sessions and events from the meeting.   Not only was it an excellent way to provide content to those who hadn't been able to attend, it was a great review for those of us who were there and wanted to go back and revisit sessions we'd attended or check sessions we'd missed.   

I wish that there was something similar for the conferences I've been to over the past couple of weeks.  It was a fluke of the calendar that put the annual Southern Chapter meeting in Charleston the week after the Charleston Conference, which was immediately after the AAMC/AAHSL meeting in DC, but the result was that we spent a full two weeks on the road.  Over the years I've learned that the maximum amount of time that I can comfortably be away from home seems to be twelve nights.  This has been remarkably consistent, whether I've been off on one of my long solo driving trips, or taking an extended business/vacation trip overseas.  I love traveling and I do just fine for the first dozen days, but I wake up after that twelfth night and I just want to be home!  This trip was fourteen nights so I was gritting my teeth getting through the last two days.

This was so even though the content of the Southern Chapter meeting was excellent and of course I was hanging out with friends and colleagues that I've known for many years.  And if one must be stranded somewhere for an extended stretch, one can hardly complain about Charleston being the place. 

I had to pace myself a bit differently on this trip than I usually do when going off to a conference, making sure that I got out for regular walks, making sure to pay better attention to how much sleep I was getting, squeezing in some extra time every day to keep up with email so that I didn't have a pile of stuff to plow through when I got home.  I was still pretty exhausted at the end of it, but when I got back into the office on Monday, I didn't feel terribly disconnected and it didn't take me too long to get back into the swing of things.

I did a better job than I usually do of writing up daily notes.    Maybe it was just luck, but I seem to have attended fewer dud sessions at these three conferences than is my norm, and I got quite a few recommendations for books I want to check out or other resources that I want to follow up on.

In general, I sensed a greater degree of optimism overall among my colleagues.  Maybe it was just luck -- as I mentioned to a number of people, the Charleston Conference is so over-scheduled with concurrent sessions that it would be possible for two people to have extremely different experiences depending on what they chose to go to -- but there seemed to me to be less gnashing of teeth and worrying about the imminent disappearance of libraries and more excitement about the potentials for exciting services and programs than I've seen at conferences in the past few years.  It'd be great if there really has been a bit of tide turning and we can start following the dictum on the benchmarking project buttons that were being handed out in Charleston -- "Quit whining!  Just do it!"


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