August 11, 2020

The Code4Lib Conference Comes of Age

Long-time readers of my column and this blog (we could all fit in a phone booth, unfortunately), will remember that I’ve often mentioned code4lib and the various channels of participation it has spawned. The latest of these is the conference, which is in its third year. It has grown dramatically each year, and this year participation was capped at 200. Well, registration maxed out in a week. Yes, you read right — a week.

I guess you know you have something right when people are beating down your door. This doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement, and an area that we’ve been working to improve has gotten better this year, although there is still some distance to go. Whereas in previous years the number of female registrants has been rather disappointing, this year there are over 40 women signed up. Again — a major improvement, but still fewer than we would like given the gender mix in the profession as a whole.

There are of course also challenges that come from success. At the first conference where we had 80-some participants it was much easier to organize social events and talk with almost everyone there. At 200, such things become quite challenging. But a group that can marshall volunteer resources to videotape, edit, and put on the web every single talk is a group to be reckoned with. This will come as good news to those of us who couldn’t go or simply missed the boat. And of course there’s always next year.

Roy Tennant About Roy Tennant

Roy Tennant is a Senior Program Officer for OCLC Research. He is the owner of the Web4Lib and XML4Lib electronic discussions, and the creator and editor of Current Cites, a current awareness newsletter published every month since 1990. His books include "Technology in Libraries: Essays in Honor of Anne Grodzins Lipow" (2008), "Managing the Digital Library" (2004), "XML in Libraries" (2002), "Practical HTML: A Self-Paced Tutorial" (1996), and "Crossing the Internet Threshold: An Instructional Handbook" (1993). Roy wrote a monthly column on digital libraries for Library Journal for a decade and has written numerous articles in other professional journals. In 2003, he received the American Library Association's LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education. Follow him on Twitter @rtennant.