Reflections for Online Information Conference 2010

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It was a great privilege to be asked to become the next Chairman of the Online Information Organising Committee, and at the risk of appearing envious, I wish Adrian Dale a pleasant and stress-free retirement. He has been an excellent chairman over the past three years and will be a difficult act to follow. I should probably explain here that despite the surname there is no blood relationship, though I did briefly ponder whether one of the main criteria was a ‘Dale’ lineage!Looking back at this year’s (2009) conference, I felt it struck an ideal balance between the three pillars of ‘people’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘information’. The opening keynote from Dame Wendy Hall and Prof Nigel Shadbolt gave us a glimpse of where we are going with open and linked data, and I’m certain this is going to be a hot topic in the coming year, particularly in relation to the “Make Public Data Public” initiative in UK Government. I also felt that the ‘Social Web’ theme hit the mark, and certainly all the sessions I attended were full and overflowing.So, for me and with the expert guidance of Lorna Candy and the Executive Committee, the work starts in January 2010 in planning for the next conference. I feel slight trepidation at the prospect of trying to predict what the knowledge and information landscape will look like by the end of 2010; the pace of change is relentless. Will Twitter still be the ‘killer app’? Will Cloud Computing become ubiquitous?  Who will be gobbled up by the Google and Facebook juggernauts?One thing I’m sure of is that none of us can be sure about anything and that we all need to continually refine and adapt our skills. I’m reminded of a quote which is (arguably) attributed to Darwin: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but rather the one most adaptable to change”. Let this be the mantra for 2010!

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