Conferences and memory supplements

I spent the second half of last week at the 2009 ACRL conference in Seattle, having a generally great time, going to a lot of panels and poster sessions (of which more blogging to follow), helping to facilitate what proved to be a very popular roundtable on Ph.Ds in libraries, visiting the Seattle Public Library in its strangely appealing Rem Koolhaas building, eating excellent meals at, among other places, Cafe Campagne and Place Pigalle, and fitting in some tourism time (cheers to Jane Dark, who steered me toward the Underground Tour and the Smith Tower, not to mention some lovely Italian sandwiches and gelato).

I ended up with a lot of notes and impressions to review, in a variety of media. I took notes in a notebook, as is my wont, but I also posted a bunch of updates using the conference Twitter hashtag. I subscribed to a search for that hashtag, so several hundred tweets are sitting in my Bloglines reader waiting to be scanned. I wrote down a bunch of people's Twitter handles (hi @shinylib, @ijastram, @srharris19, @shawncalhoun, @uinen, and everyone else who was at the meetup!) and a bunch of recommended readings. ACRL itself is posting a lot of the conference materials on their website. And as I wandered around the poster hall, I saw lots of fellow attendees taking pictures of the posters they wanted to remember, which struck me as a great idea, so I did likewise.

There's also an ACRL 2009 Flickr tag that everyone's been encouraged to use for their conference pictures, which I'm planning to do, as soon as…well, there's a slight problem. On Saturday night, while stupidly trying to take a picture while getting my gloves off, I dropped my camera, damaging the lens and making the camera refuse to start up. So there go a lot of the things I was going to say about the poster sessions, plus some neat shots I got inside the Central Library, plus a shot of a monkfish in the fish market that I just had to preserve for posterity. I'm hoping it's fixable, but until it's fixed, some of my conference impressions are unshareable. Alas.

It's ironic, because my dissertation was about the ways people supplemented their memories before the digital age, and the anxieties about permanence that sometimes went with that—and here's a proof of the fragility of memory supplements. At least I didn't drop my notebook into Elliott Bay, or lose my iPod (though I very nearly lost my phone).

I also brought home some commemorative smoked salmon and See's chocolates, which will probably be gone very soon, and a lovely souvenir head cold, which I hope will also be gone soon. But apart from the rhinovirus and the camera breakage, it was a fantastic trip.

2 Responses to “Conferences and memory supplements”

  1. dale says:

    Oh! Sorry about your camera!
    Nice to know you were sort of in the neighborhood. (Well, only a few hundred miles away :->)

  2. Amanda says:

    I definitely enjoyed the neighborhood. I could really see myself living in Seattle — except for the part where it’s all the way on the other side of the country from most of my family and friends. But if I go back to visit, I’ll see if I can get out your way!