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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship Fall 1999

Conference Reports

Report from the Geological Society of America Conference and Geoscience Information Society Annual Meeting
Denver, Colorado, October 24-28, 1999

Kay G. Johnson
Cataloger and Geological Sciences Librarian
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
johnsonk@utk.edu

The Geoscience Information Society (GIS), an organization of librarians and other information professionals, holds its annual meeting during the annual Geological Society of America (GSA) Conference. It provides a rare opportunity for geoscience information professionals to mingle with all types of geology practitioners and attend a few hard-core geology research talks in addition to meetings about geological information.

This was my first conference as a new member of GIS, and I didn't know what to expect. What I discovered was a small core membership who welcomed me openly and amazed me with their intelligence and knowledge about geoscience information issues. I attended the GIS Preservation Meeting, GIS Poster Session, GIS Collection Development Issues session and the Geoscience Information Topical Session. The Preservation Meeting examined the importance collections of field notebooks and other raw data have for geoscientists, particularly those interested in the history of geology. I also learned that large brittle maps can be copied by scanning them into a digital format and printing the scanned image.

The major discussion topic at the Collection Development Issues session was the future of the geoscience journal and publisher package deals. Many are concerned that the electronic journals often leave out information available in the printed journals. Advertisements can be important even to geoscientists and geoscience information providers. Michael Noga from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology provided a handout illustrating Geoscience Serials Prices tracked by individual title from 1993 through 2000 with percent changes for 98/99 and 99/2000. He updates this list yearly, and will publish a longer version in the December issue of the Geoscience Information Society Newsletter.

The GIS poster sessions and talks covered a variety of topics from archival geology collections to a statistical analysis of the longevity of geoscience information. Full reports will be published next year in the GIS Proceedings volume.

When I wasn't attending GIS meetings, I browsed through the GSA exhibits, poster sessions, and a saw a presentation on the recent earthquakes in Turkey, Taiwan and Arizona. The exhibits feature a huge GSA Bookstore booth plus vendors selling everything from books and minerals to x-ray diffractometers. The exhibits provide a great opportunity to collect obscure catalogs and field guidebook information.

The best part of the GSA Conference/GIS Meeting was meeting the GIS members. I'm convinced that every geology librarian should join GIS. The group is a strong force within the geosciences community and acts as a lobby for the continued dissemination of continuing, low-cost publications. The GIS members encourage and assist one another in geoscience collection development matters, making themselves an invaluable resource. For more information about GIS and its publications, see the web site at: http://www.geoinfo.org/

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