The Existential... Beyond the Data

By Noé Nessel | July 10, 2023

First of all, I must clarify that I am not ChatGPT. I am not a bot! This blog was written by a sentient human being who participated in the IASSIST 2023 Conference.

A group of white and coloured people standing in a banquet room, posing to the camera.

IASSIST Fellows 2023 with IASSIST officials.

Often, professionals from the Southern Hemisphere travel to the US to enjoy a greater sense of autonomy and an international experience. For me, attending IASSIST was a brief but important professional opportunity. I’d like to acknowledge the support of Kevin Manuel (Canada) and the rest of the conference program committee, who provided me an opportunity to present my work to this international audience. Also, many thanks to Bobray Bordelon (USA), who has been a very supportive and active mentor before and during the Conference.

Despite the challenges of scheduling visa appointments, my persistence in checking the Consulate’s page more than 7 times a day paid off!

In recent years, I have realized that it can be challenging for information professionals from South America to find the courage for public speaking in front of international audiences. It can also be challenging to network and connect with influential professionals in Latin America, since most librarians are not active on social media and many in the profession are approaching retirement. There is a general uneasiness among many information professionals in the region about the advancement of technology and the massive challenges of digital data management, and a general distrust of social media. This makes it extra challenging to build a solid global professional network.

Looking forward to Halifax 2024, I hope that in addition to the important discourse on digital data, there will continue to be an emphasis on the more human connections that IASSIST conferences can nurture. Those human moments, like enjoying each other’s company on the Ben Franklin Yacht in Philadelphia, are what make professional opportunities like IASSIST so meaningful.

Hopefully, the future of conferences isn’t overtaken by cyborgs and chatbots, with these meaningful human experiences reduced to cold and inert statistics!