Collaboration, Convergence, and Communities: A Successful Student Conference

The fourth annual University of Toronto Faculty of Information Student Conference took place this past weekend.

So much happened that it is hard to pin down the most important points for sharing. I’ll make an attempt, anyway:

  • The conference kicked off with a great Q&A panel from U of T faculty and a local museum professional. Their experiences in collaboration, convergence, and working with communities provided insight into how these themes fit into the daily work and research of information professionals. After the panel, we enjoyed some celebratory libations at a well-attended Opening Reception.
  • Saturday morning we hosted several interesting poster displays for some fascinating projects that Museum Studies and Information Science students have been working on.
  • The panels began after lunch on Saturday, and throughout the weekend, the speakers presented excellent papers on very interesting topics, and we had good audience-panel discussions and questions after each.
  • Saturday night we hosted our keynote, Diane Zorich, who spoke to the Beyond the Silos of the LAMs report she worked on several years ago, and brought into the discussion questions of personalities in collaboration, and how different perspectives might allow collaborative efforts to avoid groupthink.
  • She also outlined catalysts required for successful collaboration: shared vision, mandates, incentives, change agents, flexibility and trust.
  • Recent collaborative projects I want to look into: ARTStor, europeana think culture, and the Digital Public Library of America.
  • Many came out the post-keynote pub night as well, and stayed late!
  • Sunday began auspiciously, with two great panels on information behaviours, augmented reality, and considerations of the performing arts and zines in cataloguing, libraries, and the information professions.
  • The round table session on Sunday afternoon was one of my favorites of the conference. We had good numbers: 5 discussion leaders, and about 15-20 participants throughout. Every time I went up to the podium to suggest people begin new discussions, I was ignored by many who wanted to continue the conversations they were already having! I count this as a mark of the success of the session’s format.

There is plenty more to say about the conference, and probably more interesting things, too, but you can find those on the wiki, the website, Twitter, or Facebook. Check out my Portfolio for the wiki link, for the program and general information, and @3Cs_iSchool for the tweets.


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