I'm back in Dubrovnik after two days on the island of Mljet. It was cold and wet, so I didn't get out to explore. I also couldn't post anything here, because although the Hotel Odisej had wi-fi (in the lobby only), it was an extremely slow link.
I decided to treat myself to a nice hotel for my last night, and it's beautiful! During the earlier part of the week I stayed at the Hotel Splendid, which (like most hotels in Dubrovnik) is well outside of the old walled city. Bus transportation is good, though, and it only took about 15 minutes to get to the Pile Gate each day. It's a typical tourist hotel, without a lot of frills, but clean. Now I'm relaxing in the Pucic Palace, one of two hotels within the walled city. The Pucic Palace is a small, luxurious boutique hotel in a centuries-old building with only 19 rooms, beautifully remodeled and furnished. (I've added more pictures to my Flickr account.)
It took me the first few days to get into the swing of this conference. Part of it was jet lag, part of it was needing to get in sync with the subject area and methdologies of a conference that is a bit out of the ordinary for me. That's probably why I got the most out of the programs on Thursday and Friday. Thursday morning was taken up with the catamaran ride from Dubrovnik to Mljet. After lunch, Colleen Cool from CUNY gave a paper on "Human Information Behavior in the Help-Seekign Process: Implications for the Design of Interactive Automated Help Functionalities in Digital Libraries." Thursday night was the big cocktail party and banquet. At the cocktail party we were all treated to samples of travarica, a tasty and warming herbal brandy with, we were assured, enormous medicinal benefits. I certainly felt fine.
During dinner, over more Croatian wine, I had a friendly and spirited debate with Andrew Large from McGill University's GSLIS over the value and societal effects of blogs and podcasts. Guess which side I took? Chris Armstrong of UK's Information Automation Limited and Info NeoGnostic helped back me up. After dinner, LIDA ringleaders Tefko Saracevic of Rutgers SCILS and Tatjana Aparac of Osijeku University Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Library and Information Science, recognized the winners of the poster session competition.
I stayed up late to catch up on email the lobby. The LIS graduate students stayed up much later, dancing and singing along to Croatian songs, also in the lobby. Everyone was very impressed with the graduate students. They were all very bright, hard-working, cheerful and high-spirited, and their energy was a big part of the conference. By all accounts, much of the credit goes to Tatjana, who works closely with the students and keeps them intimately involved in the conference every year.
It's 7:30 pm in Dubrovnik. Enough time for one more Croatian beer.