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It's that Special (Library Association) Time of Year Again!

Posted by Ian Palmer on April 28, 2011

Just like you and your Special Library Association (SLA) and information professional colleagues, Reprints Desk is getting ready to make the pilgrimage to the annual conference.

My colleagues and I consider ourselves to be pretty inquisitive and observant. We like to ask questions, identify trends and generally help out where we can. In thinking about the upcoming SLA 2011 Annual Conference, we wondered, "how could we summarize the session topic trends in a semi-scientific way? What about the trends for the vendors that are exhibiting?"

So, we put a little work in and created un-edited word clouds for the SLA sessions by using the session abstracts and titles. And here's what we found:

SLA 2011 Annual Conference Session Word Cloud

sla2011session wordcloud resized 600

SLA 2011 Annual Conference Vendor/Exhibitor Word Cloudsla2011exhibitor wordcloud resized 600

We would have liked to have seen "document delivery" scale higher. However, we were pleased to see the level of applicable hands-on themes apparent in the session word cloud. For example: practical, basic, effective, value, needs and techniques. We also appreciated the presence of mainstay terms in the vendor cloud: information, research, journals, content, management, science and others.

A little surprising were the over-use of boastful words like "leading" "products" "business" and "years" in the vendor cloud and the under-utilization of words like "strategies" "statistics" "communication" in sessions.

My question for you is whether or not there are any surprises you see in what is showing or missing when you view these SLA word clouds?


Topics: document delivery, community, scientific literature, special libraries, sla, information retrieval, information services, journals, content analysis

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