I am in beautiful Monterey now, having left the Wine Country this weekend to head to Internet Librarian. The vacation was everything I needed it to be and I’m here at the conference, refreshed and excited to learn new things. Sadly, wifi is a bit hard to come by around here, so I’m blogging on this decidedly 1.0 off-line application called Word. Hey, whatever works. :)

I did a preconference yesterday on wikis (you can find coverage of it on Rick’s blog). I was a little disappointed in my own performance, but I guess you are always your own worst critic since the surveys I collected were very positive. I feel like I’m still learning to be a good speaker – I’m a work in progress. I definitely have the information that would be useful to people. I can impart the information fairly clearly, but I definitely talk too fast, I forget to explain terms like RSS, PHP and MySQL, and I probably used the word “cool” about a hundred times during my talk. It gets easier and better every time though. Really. Everyone learns something new every time they give a talk that they can incorporate into future talks. If you aren’t learning something when you speak, then you probably aren’t paying enough attention. If I based my view of my ability to speak on the first talks I ever gave (presentations at job interviews), I would have quit straight away. I know there are a lot of people who are as terrified of public speaking as I was a year ago, so do consider that you could be doing a preconference at Internet Librarian next year with a little practice and a lot of chutzpah.

I think Information Today will be publishing my slides later on, but if you’d like to get to them directly, you can access my slides from Wikis: Basics, Tools and Strategies here (PPT).

I’m giving three more talks at Internet Librarian: a CyberTour called Wikis for Beginners on Tuesday; a talk with Paul Pival, called The RSS and JavaScript Cookbook on Tuesday; and am going to be part of an amazing panel on Wikis in Libraries on Wednesday. So today I get to be just an attendee. The program at Internet Librarian this year is so exciting! So many really interesting sessions, and I plan to blog some of the more fascinating ones (especially the ones where I don’t see Sarah Houghton-Jan, since I couldn’t hold a candle to her blog coverage).

I’m now listening to J. A. Jance talk about her very interesting and rather traumatic early life in her keynote. Jance is a writer of mystery books. It’s so interesting listening to writers talk about how they write and where they get inspiration from (and hers came from interesting places – local news, her alumni newsletter, offensive e-mails, etc.). I couldn’t write fiction to save my life; it’s so hard for me to create a realistic and well-rounded character. So I am in awe of people who can keep doing it for more than 30 books. I’ve always loved writing, but I never really found the right genre for me until I started blogging. Blogging for me opened a floodgate of inspiration that is amazingly still flowing almost two years later. I’m very gratified that I have had the opportunity to write on topics that I’m passionate about and that you all choose to read it. I hope you find some of it useful at times.

OK, enough jibber jabber (as the great Mr. T would say). On to the sessions!