One of the benefits of attending conferences that aren't AALL is remembering that it's possible to put on an annual meeting without lavish parties sponsored by
Westlaw and Lexis big-name publishers. Today we had a special treat: actual coffee for our coffee break!
Admittedly, there are only about 200 people at this conference. But on the other hand, there are about 200 restaurants within the city walls, so there's lots of opportunities to explore the local cuisine without having to scrounge up a meal at a publisher-sponsored buffet table.
I always enjoy going to out-of-the-ordinary conferences, but I'm not the most outgoing person you're going to meet. If I meet and make contacts with one or two new people I wouldn't have met otherwise, I'm happy.
One interesting program today was presented by Andrew Large, a Brit Information Scientist and former rock bass player, who talked about a research project where he worked with 4th and 6th graders to develop a web portal or interface for kids. He mentioned that, contrary to the expectation that kids love animation, the kids in the project wanted to keep their portal simple and without unnecessary bells and whistles. In response to a question from the audience, he noted that, as a result of the weeks-long process of working on the portal, maybe by the end they weren't normal kids anymore–they were now web designers! Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle in action!
This evening I stopped in briefly at the Memorial to the Dubrovnik Defenders, a small room in the Rector's Palace where are displayed photos of the 200 men killed during the seige of 1991-1992. There was also a wide-screen TV showing images of the destruction of the city–much more extensive and devastating than I had imagined, seeing how pristine everything is now. The memorial is quiet and understated, and all the more moving because of that.
Tomorrow I'm giving my presentation. Wish me luck!