The International Group of Ex Libris Users (IGeLU), representing over 300 institutions from 32 countries, held its third annual conference in September 2008, hosted by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Madrid, Spain. With nearly 400 participants, it was the highest attended IGeLU conference in history, with first-time participants from many countries, including Australia and Finland.
On Sunday, prior to the conference, the now-traditional meeting of the IGeLU Steering Committee and the Product Working Groups Coordinators, with the representatives of the National and Regional User Groups, was held. For the second time, we were joined at the meeting by Ex Libris management. This forum offers a wonderful opportunity for exchanging ideas and sharing information about important issues emerging from different parts of the international user community.
The theme of the conference was the “Next Generation Library system.” In the main plenary session of the first day, Ex Libris shared enlightening insights into their concepts for future system development. These ideas and plans provided inspiration for the follow-up panel with library directors from various institutions, as well as for the Q&A session held with the plenary speakers. Ex Libris product users also contributed to the numerous workshops by discussing their expectations of next generation systems.
“Securing the Future”—the plenary session held on the second day—was dedicated to the Digital Preservation program at the National Library of New Zealand and the new Digital Preservation System (DPS) from Ex Libris. It was clear from the discussion during the follow-up panel that preservation of digital resources is a topic that is becoming increasingly relevant for many libraries.
In addition to the two plenary sessions and the general Q&A session, numerous breakout sessions were held, featuring user experiences, product updates, product Q&A sessions, business meetings of the IGeLU Product Working Groups, and focus groups reports on development cooperation activities with Ex Libris, such as collaborative testing and the enhancement processes for all products. The frequent breaks and enjoyable social events organized by the hosting institution gave Ex Libris users the opportunity to chat with each other, as well as with Ex Libris management and developers.
The presentation of the new communication platform, EL Commons, which was created by Ex Libris to facilitate communication within the user community and between the users and Ex Libris, was met with an overwhelmingly positive reception. While the Wiki area of EL Commons is managed by the user groups, the Developer Zone is managed by Ex Libris. The first user developers meeting with the development team of Ex Libris took place in November, in Jerusalem, exploring the best ways to enhance the development cooperation between the vendor and the user community.
You are most welcome to join us at next year’s annual conference, which will take place in Helsinki, Finland from September 6th–September 9th 2009. For more information, please visit the conference site at http://igelu2009.org.
If you would like to take an active role in the work of the international user community and enjoy the benefits of IGeLU membership, you can find more information about our activities and a leaflet for new members at http://igelu.org/
By Jirka Kende, IGeLU Chair