UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

The ILI Conference – Looking at the History

Posted by Brian Kelly on 4 Oct 2018

Since finishing work at UKOLN in July 2013 and at Cetis in May 2015 my professional activities have focussed primarily on organising the annual Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW) which, earlier this year, celebrated its 22nd anniversary.

Abstract for “Getting Better Search Results” session at ILI 2003

However I still maintain my interested in Web developments  and continue to engage with my many professional contacts. And I’m pleased to say that I will be keeping updated with web developments at the forthcoming ILI 2018 conference. Perhaps more importantly the event, which will be the 20th anniversary since the launch of the Internet Librarian International conference, will provide an opportunity to renew contact with members of the library community I have met over the years.

I’m particularly pleased to have been invited to chair the final talk at the event, in which Phil Bradley will “reflect on the key themes, ideas and innovations that have emerged over the past two days, surveys some of the innovations we have encountered over 20 years of ILI, and looks ahead to future challenges and opportunities for libraries and information professionals.”

I have known Phil for at least 15 years – and I can date this from viewing the abstract for Phil’s talk on “Getting Better Search Results” which he gave at the ILI 2003 conference on Tuesday 23 March 2003 (see programme in PDF format).

The web sites for most of the previous ILI conferences are still hosted online. Therefore using the Google Custom Search Engine (GCSE) it is possible to create a simple search interface to the previous conference web sites, as I have done. This interface is available at:

Use of the search interface is illustrated in which I have searched for information on my involvement with ILI events.

For those who might wish to build on this, or develop other services which could reveal information on the history of the ILI event, details of the previous conferences and locations of the web sites is given below.

Year Date Web Site
1999 29-31 Mar 1999
2000 20-22 Mar 2000
2001 26-28 Mar 2001
2002 18-20 Mar 2002
2003 25-27 Mar 2003 Not available
2004 10-12 Mar 2004
2005 10-11 Oct 2005
2006 16-17 Oct 2006
2007 16-17 Oct 2007
2008 16-17 Oct 2008
2009 15-16 Oct 2009
2010 14-15 Oct 2010
2011 27-28 Oct 2011
2012 30-31 Oct 2012
2013 15-16 Oct 2013
2014 21-22 Oct 2014
2015 20-21 Oct 2015
2016 18-19 Oct 2016
2017 17-18 Oct 2017
2018 16-17 Oct 2018

What Can the History of an Event Tell Us?

The IWMW (Institutional Web Management Workshop) celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2006 celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2006 celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2006. The anniversary also marked the launch of the IWMW blog. The launch of the blog provided an opportunity for delegates to reflect on the event, the impact it had had over the years and the influence the talks and other sessions had provided. No fewer than 32 guest posts were published, including posts on the web management community (“Andrew Millar’s Reflections on Recent IWMW Events“), the influence the event had an career development (“What has IWMW done for me?” and “In 1999 I was a freshly fledged World Wide Web Coordinator”“), the changing nature of events in a networked environment (“Amplifying IWMW“)  and on a number of areas addressed at IWMW events (e.g. “The Portal is Dead. Long Live the Portal!“, “Looking Back at Web Accessibility Sessions“, “Beyond Your VLE: Strategic Challenges”  and “Web Security: More Important Than Ever“).

The authors of these posts were helped by the availability of all of the previous event web sites together with links to much of the content (mostly hosted on Slideshare) and to report on previous events, including reports posts on blogs, as well as aggregated collections of  Twitter posts.

Access to UCISA conference web sites, back to 2009

Access to ALT-C conference web sites, back to 2009

I hope that describing this approach may be of use to the ILI event organisers (perhaps for the 25 anniversary), as well as for organisers of other long-standing conference series such as UCISA conferences and ALT-C conferences.

Long-running events may therefore benefit from sharing of stories provided by delegates who have attended events over the years. The recollections will benefit from triggers such as event programmes, descriptions of themes, titles and abstracts of talks and speaker biographies. This provides good reasons for continued access to event web sites, as the ILI event organisers have done. However the maintenance of the content – and of links to the content – is not necessarily easy. For the UCISA Management Conference and ALT-C conferences links are provided only back to 2009, although the web site for the UCISA 2005 Management Conference and ALT-C 2003 Conference can still be found using Google.

An Opportunity for LIS Students?

But beyond recollections for event speakers and delegates, event web sites might also provide information for the wider community about the evolution of ideas relevant to the community (and, incidentally, when I found the ALT-C 2003 Conference web site I noticed a (broken) link to a text-only version of the web site (who remembers when providing such links was felt to provide accessibility benefits??)

So perhaps the access to 19 of the 20 ILI conference web sites might be of value to LIS students, who are likely to have an interest in the development of thinking in information management over the past two decades.

Creating the Google Custom Search Engine interface was a trivial task. However a meatier student project could perhaps make use of more sophisticated indexing tools to analyse the content provided over 20 years and the speaker profiles.

Might this be of interest to any LIS academics?


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