As a Publishing student, I often get the opportunity to attend conferences and talks. Although I often feel very inadequate in these settings, it is always interesting to meet people who have years of experience in the industry and are more than willing to share their advice with newbies.
On November 18th, two of my classmates and myself were invited to the UKSG Forum. As a newcomer, I was not sure what to expect from a ‘forum’ and was going into it with many questions. I had read the programme and was really excited to hear from experts on the topic of Design, Simplicity and User Experience but I was curious to see how the day would be structured.
Thankfully, all of my questions were answered right upon arrival and I wasn’t left to wander around aimlessly. The programme was divided around three rooms, two in which the talks took place and one where the exhibition was set up. This disposition allowed everyone to move around and made for an easy-going atmosphere. There were eight talk sessions organised throughout the day, each based on a specific topic and separated into three ‘flash-talks’. These quick presentations were extremely valuable for a newcomer needing to be introduced to the current challenges facing libraries and publishers.
Two presentations really stood out to me. The first one was David Sommer’s talk on the ‘top tips to immediately improve your user experience’. It was fun, informative and the different methods he mentioned to make websites more pleasant are applicable to many circumstances. If I were a tad tech-savy, I would apply all these principles to my blog but by now, you should now that technology is not my friend. The second presentation was by Rupert Mann from Oxford University Press. In seven minutes, he went through some of the functionalities of the Oxford Scholarly Editions Online and how easy it now is to engage with material that can initially seem dry.
As a current student, I also enjoyed hearing from librarians on how they are currently working to improve university libraries. There is still a lot of work to be done but it is comforting to see that people are actively working on it.
The exhibition was a great way to interact with people from the industry who were always willing to answer our questions, silly or not. I am not great at networking and this was definitely a challenge. I also realised that it was probably time to invest in some business cards. Oh well, maybe next time!
Finally, being able to attend the UKSG was an incredible opportunity and I am very grateful to the organisation for allowing my classmates and I to be a part of it. I also want to thank Zoe (@zoesharples) and Marcel (@lepublikateur) for hanging out with me all day!
Photo credit: Lara Taffer