The Conference Issue

In this issue of PsycINFO News, we're focusing on APA's 2011 spring and summer conference attendance.

In this issue of PsycINFO News, we're focusing on APA's annual conference attendance. Like Chaucer's pilgrims, each spring we feel the pull of the road and the need to meet face-to-face with our fellow information professionals in new settings.

So while still gripped in winter, we excitedly note the location of each conference, reserve our presentation and exhibition space, put together announcements, contact caterers, and begin marshaling our planning on what will be useful to share with you. As we get closer, we update webpages and send out email list announcements, put together presentations, and set up meetings. Finally, as the event itself arrives, we pack and send supporting materials, make last-minute changes to our presentations, mark catalogs for helpful sessions, and set out.

It would be hard to overstate the value of our conference attendance for us. Not only does it allow us to provide in-person training sessions and demonstrate the power and flexibility of our databases, but it enables us to interact one-on-one with you. We're able to make new connections and gain valuable feedback that we use to inform the development of our products and training materials.

To ensure that we're hearing from as full a spectrum of the industry as possible, we attend a variety of conferences to reach different audiences. They range from the very large ALA conferences, to the group-specialized MLA, SLA, and AIIP, to the topic specialized NFAIS and Charleston Conference.

In this issue, we'd like to report on the 2011 spring and summer conferences and reflect a bit about the value of these both to us and — we hope — to you, the library community.

Some of those mutual benefits are immediate and obvious. For example, for a number of years now, we've regularly held a Librarians' Roundtable Breakfast at both ALA Midwinter and ALA Annual. There we get direct and immediate feedback from attendees about what matters to you and how APA can better meet your needs. Not only have we gotten your reactions to what we're working on, we've gotten your suggestions for what you'd like us to concentrate on in the future. Some of our best ideas have come from those conversations.

Conferences are also our best opportunity to show you what we've been working on through our presentations and demonstrations in our exhibit space. Again, that provides the invaluable opportunity to talk directly with you. Some of the benefits are less immediate but do unfold over time. Over the years we've made friends and established relationships that have provided a steady stream of trust, inspiration, and testing partners. How many of you have been beta testers for an APA product?

It may seem like a lot of travel to some, but for the PsycINFO Customer Relations team, it's a key part of the job. "Our attendance at conferences helps us build relationships with our users," Susan Hillson, PsycINFO Customer Relations Manager said. "It's important for them to meet the support team here, and important for us to hear their concerns, questions and compliments."

Librarians will find us next at ALA's Midwinter Meeting in Dallas next January. We hope to see you there!

What conferences do you attend? Are there conferences you'd like to see us at that we're currently missing? Are there presentations you'd like to see that we don't currently offer? Please join the conversation and let us hear your thoughts.