I am very grateful to CS-SIS for providing me with a grant, which covered the registration cost for the AALL conference in Austin. This is my last year as an AALL member, as I have changed jobs and now work in a public library. It was especially nice to be able to attend this year’s conference to see a good friend and colleague, Vicki Szymczak, receive the Ken Hirsch award.
Austin was a wonderful town to visit! There were so many enjoyable events, as happens every year at AALL. Highlights for me include the West party at Speakeasy. I swear, I tasted the best potato salad that I had ever had my entire life at that event! The barbecue and fixings in Austin are simply the best, and is second to none! Another unforgettable adventure was my visit to see the bats at the Congress Avenue bridge. That is something you must do if you ever come to Austin. I reckon parts of the year you may see more of them, probably in the Spring. However, there were still a huge number of them and it was a delightful experience to see them take off from under the bridge in such masses.
Experiencing the heat in Austin was quite a shock. Ninety-nine degrees at 10 p.m. was a little hard to take! And speaking about the heat, I must mention the incredible adventure I had swimming in the Barton Springs Pool in Austin. That is most definitely something to experience when you want to escape the heat in Austin. You can only take a couple of minutes of being in the pool at first with water temperatures of 60-70 degrees! But it is worth staying in the water as long as you can. It was absolutely charming!
The conference schedule included a number of programs which were of interest to me. Since I just started switching from Library Systems to Technical Services, I really needed to gain more insight from the Tech Services folks. I attended many programs with that focus and learned a great deal. However, the program I enjoyed the most was one describing the Linked Data project done at the Rice University by Scott Carlson. He described an experiment done at his institution for their library’s online catalog data. The data was enriched with URI’s from LC subject headings and reloaded. This project allows OPAC data to be discoverable by search engines which connect outside users who were previously unable to see the library’s online collection be able to find that data through the web. It was fascinating to learn about MarcNext tools available under MarcEdit which was what they used for this project.
This year’s conference was also significant because I got to see my wife, Prano Amjadi, pass the gavel after serving as ALL-SIS chair, and my friend, Ron Wheeler complete his term as president of AALL. I have watched Ron throughout his career at AALL, and he is definitely among my most favorite AALL presidents. This was probably my last AALL conference, and it was very special to be there and see Ron in all his glory. I will miss him very much.
I want to thank the CS-SIS grant and awards committee for providing me with the assistance that made attending this year’s memorable conference possible. I plan to continue working with the Awards committee to stay engaged with this great association.