Just a quick post for anyone who's going to be at the Charleston Conference next week: we'll be there, soaking up the information industry news and views (not to mention the southern sunshine). We'll be imparting our own share of wit and wisdom, with three of our representatives presenting during the conference. Here are the hot topics we're covering in our sessions:

"Authoritative? What's that? And who says?"
Thursday Concurrent Session 1, 4.15-5pm, Rutledge Room, Francis Marion Hotel
Our Chief Technology Officer (and AME blogger) Leigh Dodds is teaming up with Laura Cohen of the University at Albany, SUNY (and Library 2.0 blogger) to explore what defines "authoritative" in the age of user-generated content, and to assess the respective benefits of both Web 2.0 technologies and traditional publishing processes such as peer review. Anyone who has seen Leigh speak will, I am sure, vouch for the high-quality of both his presentation style and subject matter, and in this case I think he's come up with another fascinating new perspective on the changes in scholarly publishing being wrought by new technologies.

"Publisher Consolidation: Where Does It Leave Us?"
Friday Lively Lunch, 12.15-1.45pm, Colonial Ballroom, Francis Marion Hotel
Janet Fisher, Senior Publishing Consultant at our sibling company PCG, will moderate a discussion led by Margaret Landesman of University of Utah Libraries and Diane Scott-Lichter of The Endocrine Society. They will explore the driving forces, repercussions and potential responses to ongoing consolidation within the publishing industry. Given how publishers seem endlessly to be merging with one another, I think this too will be a pretty pertinent panel.

"Best practices: improving librarian administration interfaces"
Friday Concurrent Session 1, 2-2.50pm, Pinckney Room, Francis Marion Hotel
Ingenta's Director of Library Services Claire Winthrop will participate in a panel discussion seeking ways to reduce the learning curve required for librarians to familiarise themselves with multiple publisher and vendor interfaces, and at the same time increasing the amount of control that librarians have over their users' interaction with content. This session will see representatives of the "big three" in scholarly content hosting all together on the same speaking platform for the first time - Claire will be sharing the stage with Atypon's Chris Beckett and Dan Tonkery of EBSCO (owners of Metapress) - so there is a real opportunity for collaborative progress to be made.

"Librarians, aggregators, and publishers: Can we all live together?"
Friday Concurrent Session 3, 4.15-5pm, Room 227, Addlestone Library, College of Charleston
Janet Fisher will take to the floor for a second time, joining with Todd Spires from Bradley University and Kate Duff from University of Chicago Press to explore the benefits of journal databases and consider whether librarians' purchasing choices allow aggregated databases to co-exist happily alongside publishers' other distribution channels. This issue has been widely debated in a number of fora but often without hard facts to underline the supposition, so the research underpinning this session should make for some evidence-based discussion at last.

If you're not going to make it to the event, then hopefully Leigh Dodds will be posting regular reports on its progress on this very blog.