This year, NASIG’s 2021 Virtual Conference was held from Tuesday, May 18 until Friday, May 21.  It was a blend of both live and prerecorded sessions with a variety of speakers and topics.  I also served as a member of the Program Planning Committee again this year, and the committee did a wonderful job to schedule all the sessions for the versatile space.

The vision speakers for this year were Twanna Hodge who spoke about The Future of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Librarianship, and Fobazi Ettarh, who spoke about “The Future of Libraries:” Vocational Awe in a ‘Post-COVID” World.  Both sessions were excellent and spoke about some of the current trends in the profession as they apply to issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the profession.  It’s also hard to summarize these broad-reaching presentations, so the links to their respective YouTube videos are shared so that you watch them for yourself.

Last year, I served as the host for a pre-recorded session.  I had the privilege to host a live presentation this year, entitled “New Developments for Journal Package Analysis and Data Visualization.” It was given by four librarians from Minnesota State University, Mankato about how their library used data visualization to analyze their journal packages for collection development purposes.  The presentation was a lively one with questions that continued even after it was over.

To tie in with the “talking in the hallway” that happens at many conferences, NASIG hosted its discussion forums on a Discord server for the first time.  It was a way to continue those conversations in a closed space and it gave some options for those to connect or converse in a different way.

Other sessions addressed the following topics:

  • Towards More Equitable, Diverse, and Inclusive Representation in Metadata and Digitization: A Case Study
  • Measuring Collection Diversity Via Exploratory Analysis of Collection Metadata
  • Reevaluating and Strengthening Publishing Partnerships Between Librarians and Researchers
  • Does Artificial Intelligence (AI) Have a Role in E-Resources Licensing?

With a return to in-person conferences expected next year, I hope that certain elements from the past two years will continue forward.  Adapting quickly to the pandemic has brought out certain factors that kept this conference vital, and I’m encouraged by the promise of the virtual sessions.