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For Librarians | LibraryZone July 2011, SLA-AGC Conference, Oman

SLA-AGC Conference, Oman

Madani, Nadja, Springer
This year, the Special Libraries Association-Arabian Gulf Chapter (SLA-AGC) 17th Annual General Conference took place in Muscat, Oman. From knowledge transfer to customer relationship management and from open source automated systems to training needs for information professionals, the conference themes explored the changing role of information professionals in the Middle East and the numerous challenges and opportunities that they face.
We spoke to Springer’s representative at the conference, Nadja Madani-Moudarres, to find out the participants’ reaction to the conference and what opportunities lie ahead for Springer.
SLA-AGC Conference, Oman

SLA-AGC Conference, Oman

Nadja, you recently attended the SLA meeting in Oman. What was the experience like? Where was the conference held? What were your own personal highlights as a result of attending the conference? 

This year the Arabian Gulf Chapter of the Special Libraries Association was held in March 8-10 in Oman. This chapter is existing for 17 years and Springer has been participating over the last years and is has turned into the main networking platform for librarians and information specialists in the 6 Arabian Gulf and other Arabic countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Iraq.

What were the key conference themes? 

This year’s title was “The changing role of information professionals in the knowledge economy: Challenges and Opportunities.” There were numerous presentations, covering a range of topic areas including knowledge management and the supporting technologies; knowledge transfer and open access.

We understand that this conference is quite unique in that it provides information for both corporate and academic libraries. What topics do you think were of most interest for participants? 

Yes, the conference does cater for both types of libraries and there were some interesting topics, particularly for corporate libraries, such as:
  • the role of knowledge managers
  • improving the visibility of information professionals in the digital era
  • information profession as a bridge to social and economic society
  • information as a strategic economic resource

We understand that the conference is quite unique in that it attracts both academic and corporate libraries. What do you think the key objectives were for these groups in attending the conference?  

For both types of librarians, I would say that networking is probably the most important objective. Whilst the presentations were good and informative, I think the main draw of the conference is the opportunity to share experiences and ideas with peers. And whilst both academic and corporate librarians attended the conference, the majority of attendees were from academic institutions.

What role did Springer play at the conference? What do you think were the particular highlights for Springer? What were the key successes and “take aways” as a result of attending the conference? 

Springer sponsored the dinner cruise and had a large booth at the conference exhibition. Springer has always shown its support for this conference but this support has become more important in the last year as we continue to grow our standing in the library market and build our relationships with librarians. This year, the Dubai office has made significant strides in developing publishing and marketing initiatives to support local authors and researchers at the same time as beginning to address libraries’ needs for greater scientific content.
Attending the conference has helped us to raise the profile of our Dubai office and to get close to the libraries to understand first-hand their key issues and concerns regarding information needs. As such, we are better equipped to address these concerns and further develop our strategies for the region.

What opportunities do you think that the conference has presented for Springer? 

In particular, I think that the conference has helped Springer to strengthen its relationships with existing customers and to begin to develop relationships with new customers. The conference opened up some exciting new prospects for us and we look forward to developing these prospects over the coming months.
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