The first TOC conference has ended and I have to say I loved it.
Some irregular postings here have captured some of the sessions but there was such diversity it was not possible to record it all; that and the fact I also had project deadline to hit while I was here which was a little distracting.
Not too distracting though. The 3 days started with tutorials on a range of topics and it's here where you'll find the biggest grumbles I guess. Too long, but somehow not managing to get into any great detail. The RSS workshop from Newsgator was interesting enough without offering any real insight but it did prompt me to look closer at widget technology, so no complaints really.
A theme running through the sessions has been a commentary on growing culture of free content. Chris Anderson started it all on Tuesday and Jimmy Wales continued with news of his new project, wikia.
However, it's not as straight forward as that. A counter cultural series of talks also promoted the notion that people also want to pay for content, assuming certain conditions are met - Richard Lindkes session, and the SafariU Books case study stand out here.
This is great stuff. I blogged here some time ago about the insipidness of a recent eLearning conference in which many of the under the surface issues were neatly managed through the novel tactic of not talking about them. Not so here and it made for a far more interesting three days.
They keynotes were passionate, inspiring and informative. Special mentions to Manolis Kelaidis (Blink:Completing the connection between the analogue and the digital) for his truly wonderful book hybrid which received the only standing ovation from the floor. Tim O'Reilly talks about it here. And Erin McKean, the DictionaryEvangelist, for her contrary, highly entertaining, thought provoking and just plain wonderful final talk on Dictionarys and Other Book Shaped Objects. Blogged on these pages shortly after it's conclusion.
Although the publishing world is large and diverse - here we had book publishers, magazines, scholary publishers, fiction and non-fiction, hardwares and software vendors all promoting and defending opinions of how things are and how they should be.
I've learned a lot about the industry I find myself in these days and I will be returning to the UK inspired and stimulated. Can't ask for more really.
Some images of the three days can be found here (Flickr).
And although the final day was little fraught, trying to squeeze all this and get a project off the ground in the UK at the same time, it all ended up OK; in the closing draw of conference evaluations I won a free pass to TOC2008!!! HAHA!
Great stuff. See you next year in New York.