BIALL Conference 2013 - Part 1

I know I'm sorry it has been a while since I have blogged, but I promise to do better in future. The reason for the lack of blog posts will be evident to many of you, but just in case you aren't aware up until yesterday I was President of the British & Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL) It was an honour to represent the association at the highest level and I would recommend joining Council to anyone who is thinking about doing so.

What that has meant is that May and the beginning of June in the lead up to the Conference have been a bit manic! Now I was hoping that I would be able to provide a full summary of the sessions I attended, but unfortunately I was too caught up in the activities the President has to undertake at Conference to make substantive notes. So instead I have tried to remember some of the key points from the sessions I attended. I'm sure in due course there will be much better written summaries of the BIALL Conference published. I would urge you to read these and the selected papers which will appear in the Winter edition of Legal Information Management and bursary winner reports in the BIALL newsletter.

So back to the Conference :-) For me the Conference started with the overseas delegates dinner on the Wednesday night before the Conference. This was a great opportunity for Council Members to meet the delegates from our sister associations (ALLA, NZALL, OSALL, SLA Legal and CALL) and to relax in the very pleasant surroundings of the 19th floor of the Hilton. I was struck by how much everyone was looking forward to the conference and catching up will colleagues. The Conference started properly with my opening of the Conference of the Thursday morning, for anyone who is interested in what I included in my opening speech, you can look at some of the photos on the BIALL Flickr pages, including one of me doing a MoBot, or a MullBot as I referred to it! Professor Hector MacQueen then delivered a very interesting Keynote & Willi Steiner Memorial Lecture. The highlight of this had to be the playing of the Monty Python - Black Knight video

This was followed by a session delivered by Carol Tullo - Director of Information Policy and Services at the National Archives, who outlined the development and future development of There are some interesting developments planned, which I'm sure many Law Librarians will be pleased to have heard about. The next session I attended was called "Developing mature social media platforms". Whilst I wouldn't ordinarily complain about sessions that I've attended at Conference, as the organisers do such a good job, there was very little that I took from this session. The session certainly didn't talk about developing mature social media platforms, but rather took us on a tour of the presenters favourite social media tools. This was a real shame, as the session was very well attended and as ever with social media people are always interested in learning how they can do more with these tools. 

The last parallel session of Thursday was a really excellent presentation from Sam Wiggins and Marie Grace Cannon who talked about new professionals and the results of a survey they had undertaken earlier that year. I was impressed at how well they spoke despite some technical issues and they introduced a new concept to me, which was the concept of battledecks. I thought this was a really great to way to both see how well participants had been listening and to reinforce the training that had been delivered, definitely something to consider for future presentations.

However the highlight of Thursday had to be my presentation of the Lexis Library Awards and a very special prize to Catherine McArdle. It was an honour to present these new awards to three very worthy libraries. I was also delighted that Catherine was a good sport and played along with my adlibbing when I presented her a "lifetime achievement award" for attending 25 consecutive BIALL Conferences. That could have gone REALLY badly, but everyone I spoke to commented on how they weren't expecting me to do that! and that was the end of Day 1. Day 2 and 3 will be covered in my next blog post!