Information Online and Ondisc 93

By Lance Deveson

Being one of over 800 Information specialists in Sydney for the 6th Australian OnLine and On Disc Conference in Sydney was a privilege that my position as Senior Information Officer at Curriculum Corporation afforded me in January this year. The Conference,held bi-annually in Sydney has become the showcase for new products in the realms of CD-Rom and now CD ROM networking, On Line databases and this year the trend towards Electronic Publishing. The conference is a mixture of keynote sessions , workshop sessions on a variety of topics and a trade fair.

As the Conference has become bigger so has the organisers' ability increased to attract overseas presenters and keynote speakers. This year was no exception. The three day conference began this year with a brilliant keynote address by the "laid back" Dr Clifford Lynch, Director, Library Automation, University of California, USA. Dr Lynch in a very relaxed way took the assembled body through Global Networking and the networked information explosion. His ability to communicate the most detailed concepts of networking globally for the common person was well received by all. Alas his is the only keynote address not included in the conference papers. Dr Lynch is also one of a group of Library educators who are working together to develop standards for uniform access to databases using the Z 39.50 interface.

Day two had Dr Donald Hawkins, AT and T Bell Laboratories, present the address on "The Information Professional in the Electronic Information Age". Dr Hawkins illustrated his talk with his own slide show detailing his own progression through the industry. Once again as with Dr Lynch, this session was a stimulating way to begin another. day of the conference.

One of the best features of the Conference is the trade fair which this year was host to over 40 Companies involved in the database and disc industry. The range of stands included Library software suppliers to CD ROM distributors, a large DIALOG stand of interest to teacher librarians, to those promoting the new area of electronic publishing. An addition to the area was the CD ROM showcase where, without 'the company representative breathing down your neck, you were able to try out some of the CD ROM products. Here I was able to try the different databases on disc offered by DIALOG and experience the searching techniques needed to retrieve the information, although to get access to the products meant forfeiting a workshop session such was the demand to try the products.

As with all Conferences, there is the added attraction of attending workshops either before or after the Conference proper. The week ended for me by attending a full day workshop on using the Aarnet and Internet networks. This was my first extended use of the Internet and I came away with a much greater understanding of the uses of the network for schools i.e for electronic mail with schools around the world, but also the realisation that the Internet now needs some uniform control before it becomes too big and easy to get "lost" within. However, I did enjoy looking online at the NASA, Geology, database in Houston, and reading the various Library bulletin boards from around USA and Europe.

On Line OnDisc Conference 93 was a credit to the organisers and further confirmed my opinion that the development path that Curriculum Corporation has set down for the re-development of the SCIS database in 1993-94 is the way to go. Our intention of not only offering increased access online to our users, but also offering the database on CD ROM was confirmed by my participation in the Conference.

SCIS users wanting more information on the Conference and topics covered are only too welcome to contact me at Curriculum Corporation, and I will forward the information to them.

Lance Deveson

Lance Deveson

Senior Information Officer