Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Digitization Expo was a success (or "I can breathe again")

Yesterday was the Digitization Expo & Vendor Showcase sponsored by the Western New York Library Resources Council. We -- myself, Council staff, and committee members -- had spent a lot of time over the last year thinking about and working on this event. We were all pleased when it went off with very few problems and was a resounding success! (Photos)

When we envisioned the Expo, our first thought was to create an event where people who are interested in digitization could interact with companies that provide products and services used in digitization programs. So our original focus was on having an exhibit hall and perhaps some space for presentations. The companies that participated were:
S-T Imaging was suppose to be there, but sadly was not.

What stood out to me was the breath of products/services available from these companies including book scanning, microfilm scanning, scanning glass plate negatives, content management, and "total solutions." These were companies that could work both on small or large projects (if you're thinking of outsourcing) or provide resources for in-house projects. There were also companies who worked with/for for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. In others words, they were not just focused on libraries (and we did have non-library attendees).

We wanted to build an educational component into the day, as well as give people another reason to attend, so we had six presentations on successful projects/programs. Each presenter had a lot to say and each was well received by the attendees. The presenters came from:
  • Ohio Historical Society (Ohio Memory -- Angela O'Neal)
  • Syracuse University (Digital Projects in Special Collections -- Peter Verheyen & Nicolette Schneider)
  • Rochester Public Library (Rochester Images & Rochester City Directories -- Pamela O'Sullivan)
  • New York State Archives (Erie Canal Time Machine and others -- Julie Daniels)
  • University at Buffalo (UBdigit -- Stacy Person)
  • American Memories (Susan Allen)
What amazed me was that many people wanted to hear all of the presenters. We had not anticipated that, but thought that people might come for part of the day. Many people came before the doors officially opened and stayed until things shut down. At some points, the presentation area was standing room only. Wow!

BTW people came from a broad geographic area including Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Ithaca, Corning and parts in-between (and beyond).

As one of the event organizers -- and the main contact for all of the companies that exhibited -- I was anxious for the event to occur. I hoped that it would be a success and was very pleased when company representatives (vendors) said that they had talked to people who were interested in their services and were making good contacts. Pleased, too, when attendees talked about how much they were learning. Halfway through the day, I began to relax and breathe again -- it was all going well.

I want to thank Richard Kim at METRO and Charles Dufresne of CSD Exhibits / Displays LLC who gave me valuable advice early on. I cannot tell you how much I learned about "event planning" over the last year. There is a reason why some people specialize in this -- and now I know the reasons! Thanks also the Sheryl Knab at WNYLRC and members of WNYLRC's Regional Digital Heritage Advisory Subcommittee for their parts in making the day a success. Sheryl found the location and got all of the speakers lined up (as well as handling other details). It was a team effort.

Finally, there is one more benefit I should mention about yesterday. People got to see and talk to other people that are interested in digitization -- people involved in projects as well as people who are just thinking. Who knows what ideas were sparked or what collaborations might occur because of the event.

Addendum 6:12 p.m.: I forgot to list American Memories, which I've now done, and I added the presenters' names. I should note that Susan Allen works for Nichols School and had an opportunity to work on American Memories. It was that experience that she spoke about.

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1 comment:

Linda said...

I attended the Expo and come home with alot of good ideas. (See for May 25th) Thanks for an inspiring day.