Back to the future - Online Information and Internet Librarian International

An interview with information industry pioneer Roger Bilboul, the founder of the Online Information meeting, about his memories of that event in its heyday, and about his current company's plans for Internet Librarian International.

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What about as the show grew and went from strength to strength through the 1980s and 1990s – what are your memories of that time?

With the explosion of usage and supply, the Online Meeting became the place where one came to secure one’s place in this new future. Thousands of visitors would queue on the opening days and many conference sessions had to be expanded to cater for unprecedented demand. From its onset the meeting was truly international with an attendance covering the four corners of the world. With time the industry matured and as access to information went beyond the preserve of professionals there were major shifts and transformation of the industry. The function of the professional librarian which had always been a core component of the meeting was also undergoing significant change.

Today, the team that founded and ran Online Information through its most successful years are the organisers of Internet Librarian International – what themes do you see in common between the two events? How has the information industry changed?

Today we have chosen to remain focused on the needs of the librarian/information professional. With Internet Librarian International now running in its 16th year we are helping this community evolve in a constantly changing technological world. We are helping vendors of specialised information and solutions, with significant added value, relate to their key markets and to foster an environment where like minded professionals can benefit from interacting with one another. In other words we are back to our roots -- still passionate about this field and with bags of experience to boot. 

Roger Bilboul is Chairman of the Board of Information Today Inc, which produces a variety of magazines, books and conferences for the information industry including Information Today Europe, Online Searcher, Computers in Libraries, Internet Librarian International and KM World.

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