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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship Fall 1999

Conference Reports

IAMSLIC 25th Anniversary Conference, 1999

James W. Markham
Davidson Library
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9010
markham@library.ucsb.edu

The International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers (IAMSLIC) held its 25th Anniversary Celebration and Annual Conference October 16-22, 1999, in Woods Hole, MA, the place where it was founded, at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). IAMSLIC has grown from a group of 27 librarians from the eastern U.S., Canada, and Bermuda, who met at Woods Hole in 1975, to an international organization of 300 members with regional subgroups in Europe, West Coast of North America, Southeastern North America, West Africa, and the Pacific Islands. Besides meeting on both coasts of North America, IAMSLIC has also met in Bermuda, Hawaii, Bremerhaven, Germany, Southampton, England, and Reykjavik, Iceland. This latest conference, back where it all began, was attended by 139 people from 19 countries, including Mozambique, Palau, Greece, France, Iceland, Japan, South Africa and Mexico. Librarians from 19 U.S. States and 3 Canadian Provinces were in attendance.

The conference included 3 pre-conference workshops, on HTML, Web Design, and Ariel, eight invited keynote speakers, 19 contributed papers, and 11 poster presentations. The posters were all summarized in short oral presentations as well. Keynote speakers covered both library issues and marine biology topics: millennial libraries, legalities of electronic information, information technology, electronic journal collections, metadata, coastal ecosystems, history of cod fishing, and the use of marine organisms in biomedical research. Among other topics covered, a study of the timeliness of electronic journals vs. print showed electronic is faster. Information on establishing bibliographical instruction programs and rethinking outreach was presented, and various other education initiatives were described. Trends in aquatic science research as indicated by entries in the Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts showed that the percentage of papers devoted to taxonomy has declined greatly in the last 25 years, but papers on genetics, environmental quality, and ecosystem ecology have increased. One presentation outlined GIS applications to maritime boundary questions. An update was presented on the controversial Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate (ATOC) project with its possible effects on marine mammals.

As is usually the case in this international organization, many members represent one-person libraries in isolated locations. As a result several presentations and much discussion centered on interlibrary loan and other aspects of resource sharing. The annual conferences, as well as a lot of traffic on IAMSLIC's listserv, are building and strengthening an increasingly useful international network of librarians who help each other with resources and advice, often more efficiently, and certainly more personally, than through other library channels.

The busy week also offered plenty of opportunities for enjoying seafood of various kinds, always an important part of IAMSLIC Conferences, including the conference banquet, a clambake, which is apparently understood by the locals to include lobster and corn, but not necessarily clams. We also enjoyed trips to the Cape Cod National Seashore, Provincetown, and Harvard University where we had tours of the Museum of Comparative Zoology and its library, as well as the Botany Library and associated herbaria, the Natural History Museum, and the famous Ware Collection of Glass Flowers.

The Proceedings of the 25th Annual IAMSLIC Conference are being edited by J.W. Markham and A.L. Duda and will be published within a few months. All attendees will receive copies and extra copies will be available for purchase. The 26th Annual Conference will be held in Victoria, British Columbia in October 2000.

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