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Vol. 23, No. 2/Winter 2001

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Conference Corner: Online Information 2000
By Turid Hegna


During the first week in December for the past 24 years, information technology people from all over the world have gathered at the Online Information Cenference in London to get an overview of the trends, the news and visions in our industry in addition to some good practical ideas.

Learned Information in Oxford runs this huge annual conference and exhibition, which it claims is the largest and most comprehensive information industry event in the world.

The exhibition is enormous. This year more than 300 companies focused on service and technology, e-business and knowledge management. I did find more technical companies than content companies. But of course, all our old friends like Northern Light, Lexis-Nexis, Dun & Bradstreet and Factiva had huge stands. 18,000 people visited the exhibition in 1999, and it seemed no less this year.

The conference brings together IT-people of all kinds - from end-users to vendors. I counted about a hundred from the US, including speakers. Parallel sessions ran from early morning. Even if the programme gives you a good notion of each session, I find it hard to always pick the right event - but it is fairly easy to walk out and try another.

What I found most interesting this time:

  • Dialog claimed that its death had been greatly exaggerated. They want to focus on the information business with a commitment to their customers in the future. Their aim: Leading the information world again. No less!
  • Susan Klopper from Arthur Andersen brought humour, enthusiasm and useful knowledge on super searcher survival tactics.
  • Richard Rowe from RoweCom, Inc. talked about the 3 digital revolutions - Computers, Communications (internet), and Convenience - and their implications on our society and lives. He claimed, however, that there is more to come. We are still waiting for the third revolution - that of convenience. The present digital world is too inconvenient and slow to have a fundamental impact on our world. But just you wait and see!
  • Amelia Kassel from MarketingBase talked like a machine-gun about power searching on the internet and gave a happy audience good advice on search skills. We all left as better researchers.
  • Cindy Romaine from NIKE gave an admirable performance when all the technical equipment failed her - imagine that in a building crowded with IT-people and devices. She led us through the planning and building of their new library and told us about the philosophy behind it. To me, this was a splendid lecture about inspiration and creativity.

Of course, I listened with pleasure to our own Debra Bade who presented a case study on CNN.

Sad to say that I never met so few news people at London Online as this year. To a news-aholic this was a disappointment. But do not let that stop you from going! The conference always has something for everybody, and London itself is worth a visit. I strongly recommend Tate Modern, the restaurant at the National Museum, the shops on Regent Street for shopping and those behind Piccadilly for window-shopping.

If you want to read more, see

Turid Hegna is the Chief Librarian at VG, Norway's largest daily newspaper. You can reach her at