i’ll see you on the internet: IL2008

Update: All the stuff from the presentation is really, truly online now. Slides, handouts, links, and more information than you could possibly ever want.

I’m writing this from some vast elevation on the first leg of my flight home from Internet Librarian, where I gave a little talk called How I Made a Website for $16 in Chocolate [not all the stuff is there yet; I’ll update it when next in the land of ftp]. It was a great honor to present in the same session as Sarah Houghton-Jan and to be a part of the fabulous group of speakers Aaron Schmidt put together for a track called Solving Problems. The conference as a whole was good. I particularly enjoyed hearing danah boyd, who synthesized so well so many of the things that we know, or half-know, about community and the internet but haven’t quite been able to articulate ourselves. I learned some great new tricks from Jeff Wisniewski’s Fast & Easy Site Tune-Ups, drooled over SOPAC and VuFind, and, after years of reading about them, finally got to see the Dutch boys.

As with most conferences, however, the best parts of IL this year were the unofficial ones, and about those I have much to say.

I arrived Sunday evening and headed over to the conference center to meet up with Iris, and, while sitting and waiting for her, I looked up to see a tall redhead, and I think “the shock of recognition” would be the best way to explain the look on both our faces. “I think I know you from the internet!” I said to Kate Sheehan. I used that line a lot over the next few days, because I got to meet a whole lot of people that I know from the internet. I’ll forget someone if I try to list them all, but let us just say that the LSW was well-represented (and add a shout-out to my awesome roommate and queen of Capslock Day, Meg). As I think I posted somewhere at some point, I wish the rest of you could all have joined us, although as it was we were having some difficulty getting groups of ten or twelve or fourteen people seated, and any more might have been impossible.

There were all the usual shenanigans you might expect if you are a follower of ITI conferences — beer, karaoke, rickrolling, photographing, name-calling (I’m sorry, Greg, really I am), sea lion watching, and general hanging out. I have been privileged for most of my life to be around smart, talented, creative people, and this group is one of the best. The very last session I attended at LCOW was called Impractical, Unreasonable, Unfeasable, Unfundable Ideas for Your Library, and, as I’ve noted before, despite the utter whackiness of some of the suggestions, some were things that, as Jamie Markus pointed out, we could do or even were already doing. The best parts of IL felt like that: one big, ongoing session, punctuated by sessions and meals and drinks, where it seemed as though the sky was the limit. And the best part of all is that it didn’t end there. We all took our leave of one another with the same parting phrase: “I’ll see you on the internet!” I’m glad there are so many of you out there that I see there every day, too.

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