i go to a lot of conferences (my gig has no roadmap – so i go places to see and hear what other folks sans roadmap are up to, or even better, to swipe their maps!) and i’ve helped organize a few as well. my absolutely favourites, in terms of bang-for-my-buck, are unconferences. no sage on the stage, just real discussion with folks who have questions and answers. they are simple to organize (well, as simple as any event where you have to corral a buncha librarians/tech-types/publishers/researchers… so… okay, “simple” might be the wrong word) and folks generally leave feeling that they learned something, cuz the whole deal is, if you’re not learning, it’s up to you to fix that by seeking out the information you need.
this year at ER&L, the organizers went for my idea of an unconference on library-based publishing. not only that, they opened it up to those in the area for free – you didn’t need to register for ER&L. how awesome is that?
we had a great session (with snacks – you always need snacks at unconferences) and the notes from the day can be found here. we had a great group of librarians, publishers (thank you Margy Avery from MIT Press!), tech-types, and vendors.