Subscribing to the digest version of the Archives & Archivists list, I sometimes feel left out of the discussion by receiving the posts the following day. But frankly, I can no longer cope with being bombarded by its often seemingly ceaseless flow of messages in real time. The RBMS electronic discussion list, on the other hand, is (except for certain predictable times of the year) fairly low traffic and manageable. Recently, however, a discussion has been raging about the growing pains of the RBMS Preconference and the future of conference-going as we have known it–some of it even quite eloquent.

Would utilizing existing and emerging technologies increase participation in our professional organizations? Is there something intangible to be gained by physically attending conferences (other than a greater appreciation of David Lodge novels)?

You can test drive some changing concepts of “interactivity” for yourself a bit this year whether you are planning to attend the SAA 2008 Annual Meeting or not. At least two groups have created areas on the unofficial Wiki in which you can post questions to (and presumably receive answers from) the panelists at various sessions. These include the Manuscript Repositories Section, which is featuring a presentation on Archives 2.0 Projects as part of its business meeting on Friday, August 29th, and the EAD@10 Symposium, which takes place after the Annual Meeting technically ends.

Image credit: Motion picture poster for Quo Vadis showing Nero playing lyre while citizens of Rome flee the fire. Library of Congress P & P Online Catalog Digital Image ID # ppmsc 03509 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsc.03509

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