Notes from SLA Maryland Chapter’s Xtreme Reference

Oct 21 2010 Published by under Conferences

I attended Xtreme Reference on October 21, 2010. First of all, this was a very well run event. Tons of people showed (well over 300), there were great speakers, the vendors showed up and did great presentations, and the food was great and plentiful. Bravo!

Some of the speakers have self archived their slides already but the remainder will be on a wiki that is only available to attendees.  My presentation was the last of the day and I think people were a little tired. It’s archived on Slideshare at: The tweets (hashtag #slamdxr) are archived on twapperkeeper at:

The keynote was from Mary Ellen Bates, an Independent Information Professional. She talked about disruptive technologies or, well, disruptive things.  Her slides are available at My notes are unfortunately no longer in my bag, but I did tweet some interesting things. Reviewing her slides reminds me of a few points I noted. First, she talked about “in person” changing in meaning from face to face to just being synchronous communication. Everyone shares everything, everything is discussed, and everyone expects a lot of value (and that last is a change?). Expect instant gratification and continuous just in time learning (she suggests embedded instructional videos at the point of need). Our days as the gatekeeper are over but can we be between the user and the information (kind of like augmenting reality, I guess). She likes the whole ischool thing but thinks they need to add tracks for information development and information creation (there are tracks for libraries and information management already). She says that library schools have lost their focus and do not realize that, for the most part, their clients are companies that need to hire information professionals with structured training in the areas of these tracks. (I totally go for this, because some of these schools are instead trying to turn out philosophical researchers. It is a professional school to some extent, so should be preparing people for work).


I tried to go to the government information session next, but it was way too full so I went to the session on e-books. It was all about these three vendors and their offerings, but it was still useful. I’ve heard a ton about Knovel and I really didn’t see much different. She did mention using the API to integrate it with SharePoint (?!).  Books 24x7 mentioned a few interesting things. First, they’ve got a premium model that allows you to download books – but I guess this is only available for corporate customers. They’ve also got a code search (it would be cool if you could federate Safari, Books24x7, Google, and Koders code searches – but you’d want to rank by authority somehow so the ebooks come up first if available.. hmmm). They said Books24x7 can be federated, but she wasn’t answering the question like she’d heard of MetaLib (and like) so I’m wondering now if she meant something different. They’ve also now got an export to refworks button (I’ll have to look for that). The mobile version of the site is a different url and I haven’t seen it when I’ve gone to their site via my iphone so I’m not sure how that works either. Also, they have this social networking thing, which seems a bit bizarre.

What was definitely worth watching was the discussion of the new direction NetLibrary is going. As a review, it’s a miserable, miserable platform, but it was really the first ebook vendor that licensed to libraries. It also was originally the only one that carried titles from multiple publishers. OCLC sold it to Ebsco fairly recently. It will be integrated into EbscoHost – not into other databases, but as another database. You’ll have a cover browse, a way to browse by BISAC subject category, there will be additional ways to purchase books as well as a patron demand model, you’ll be able to see the table of contents and skip to a chapter… Now the important thing. Reading online will be that stupid pdf wrapped in crap model. I asked about the pdf per page model, because that doesn’t fly at all… not sure what’s going to happen with that, probably a special reader- might be better or worse. ADE is fine, but at MPOW folks will have to install it, so we’ll see.

Technology-wise the thing I took away was that there are a ton of apps and devices that can read ePub and DRM-ed pdfs now. I’ve already mentioned the nook and most people know about the Sony readers, but there’s also an iphone app, Bluefire Productions.

Search and Seek

There was originally supposed to be someone from Google, but they pulled out (surprise, surprise). Luckily, Mary Ellen Bates agreed to fill in. Her session was fabulous. I guess I haven’t been paying attention because she pointed to a lot of things I hadn’t seen before. Like she uses Google’s realtime search instead of twitter’s search. You can even click latest and it will keep updating. It doesn’t know hashtags, though, so it’s not perfect. She uses the regular google to see what people have liked in twitter ( inurl:favorites keyword). Fusion tables are a way you can upload data and then use google to visualize it (I think they offer this by api, too). I’ve been impressed with the translate function on google, but they’ve made it even better when it translates the search.

Gary Price was shortened a bit due to technical difficulties. He pointed out some really neat things, too. For one thing, I hadn’t realized how cool Microsoft’s Academic Research had gotten. I guess it still only covers a few areas, but you can search by author or venue and it links to full text. You can also do a co-authorship graph. is a good place to look for mashups. is sort of a tv guide for video available on the web including real time and things like lectures. He likes NNDB the notable names database to find biographic information. It’s so thorough it’s creepy.

Leading them to sources

This was the session I was in. The second presentation was from Catherine Johnson from the University of Baltimore. She talked about libguides – boy howdy would I like to have those. It’s a shame you can’t have intranet ones that aren’t shared, but that’s what I hear.

As for vendors, I got to see Web of Science’s new edition coming out which is cool. Also found out that they do have an export to RefWorks button, we just need to get it turned on (yay). CQPress has this new thing called First Street which combines a lot of directories about the hill (congressional staffers, lobbyists, etc). Proquest is still talking about their huge change coming up. Elsevier mentioned SciVerse and citing information for Compendex. Springer brought a few ereaders for show and tell – that was cool.

At any rate, for a local get together run by one of the smaller chapters of SLA, it rocked. It should definitely win event of the year.


One response so far

  • Last I checked, LibGuides could have non-published guides that anyone with a (LibGuide-creator) login could see, and 'private' ones left out of the directory that anyone could get to with the URL. YMMV. Thanks for the report!