Tuesday, 23 June 2009

M-Libraries 2009 - The Beginning

Well after a long day travelling I arrived in Vancouver on Sunday at about 4.30pm local time (12.30am Monday England time…). I was glad to breeze through customs and obviously thrilled when my suitcase came trundling along the carousel pretty sharpish too!! It was a half hour taxi ride to the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus (unfortunately however, with a taxi driver who didn’t quite know where he was going – or maybe he was trying to fleece the ‘tourists’???) It was about 6pm by this time so I got registered for the conference and then checked in at the accommodation, glad to be able to have a shower, stretch out, watch some TV and sleep…I must admit I did try and read the conference programme but I guarantee this was not a good idea at what my body thought was 3am (even though it was 7pm, anyway enough of the time difference moanings, for now anyway)!!

Monday saw the start to the pre-conference workshops. The day had a bit of a shaky start (this next bit is for girls only…my hairstraighteners won’t work here in Canada…argh…!) but I soldiered through and headed down the UBC Irving K Barber Learning Centre. Here, the day kicked off with some lovely fresh fruit and monstrous baked goods, setting me up for my first full day in Vancouver.

The first workshop I attended was hosted by the Open University and here, I was able to create a mobile information literacy learning object. It was a brilliant experience, and the first time I had actually tried to create mobile content (I tend to just talk about it and write about it), and it enabled me to put all my m-learning knowledge into practice. The second workshop I attended was hosted collaboratively by Athabasca University and the Open University and looked to discuss the challenges and opportunities that m-library technical development can pose. This was an intensive and thought-provoking session which covered an awful lot of material; it really helped me to look at the bigger picture with regards to the back-end work of m-learning. This is not an area my research has taken me and the session taught me that collaboration with other institutions is definitely a worthwhile venture with regards to m-learning – there is no point reinventing the wheel after all!!

The evening saw a trip to Granville Island, about a half hour drive from UBC. The coach driver kindly gave a humorous commentary, pointing out some $10,000,000 houses on the way (eek!). I had a lovely walk around Granville Island which readied me further for my evening meal - a lovely 3 course sit down meal at the Dockside Restaurant. I must admit by this time I was flagging, I was sat next to a lovely lady from Australia though so I tried not to complain too much, as she rightly stated, she had the ‘rights’ to jetlag after all!!

So now it is Tuesday, the first official ‘conferencing’ day. I was up at 5.30am – I just hope I can hold out until later for some much needed sleep!! I’m looking forward to the opening keynote by Lorcan Dempsey – I have it on good authority that he is definitely worth getting out of bed for…!

Watch this space for individual blog postings about particularly interesting sessions…

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