Wednesday, October 12, 2011

InfoCamp Seattle Recap

I shot off a quick post the other day from the middle of a session at this year's InfoCamp Seattle, but now that I am home I wanted to sit down and report back on my time there:

Opening session at InfoCamp Seattle 2011
Kane Hall, University of Washington 

For those of you who aren't familiar with InfoCamp: it's a user experience unconference. User experience (UX), in very broad terms, is a look at how users/customers/patrons are interacting with the systems that are created for them. These systems include, but are not limited to: web sites, databases, software, programs, catalogs, etc. Probably 60% of the participants were from more technical industries (web designers, programmers, coders, developers) while 40% were from the library community. The "unconference" model is one where breakout sessions are organized as the day progresses, so anyone who shows up who would like to present would have the opportunity. It adds a grass roots feel to the event, which is pretty awesome.

The Keynote was given by Nishant Kothary, a writer, entrepreneur and Microsoft employee. His talk centered around the importance of failure, and included insights about behavior, neuroscience, design, economics, and, of course, cute dog photos. It was excellent. 

 Taco Time!

I attended some great sessions. The highlights included discussions on how to enter into a UX career, how to use tweets as a data set in quantitative and qualitative research, and how to incorporate UX principles into academic libraries. I also volunteered, to help cover the cost of the conference, and it was awesome to interact with folks at the registration table.

View of Mount Rainer from the University of Washington Campus.

The location was beautiful. I never realized how awesome the University of Washington Campus was. Not only was it a perfect setting for InfoCamp, but it was so much fun to spend the weekend in Seattle, seeing some old friends and eating some amazing food.

Librarian Extraordinaire, Kirsten Himes, trying to decide on which bowl of pho is for her. Don't let the sign dissuade you, it was an amazing meal. 

The highlight of the weekend, other than InfoCamp, was spending my birthday weekend with some close friends. Below, you can see Pfeif (our gracious host) preparing an amazing birthday dinner: tamari-maple-almond salmon with green beans and salad from her and her boyfriend's garden. It was great to spend a weekend out of town, with friends, learning about better ways to meet and exceed the expectations of our patrons.

InfoCamp was both invigorating and inspiring. I feel a renewed momentum to help get an InfoCampPDX started! We have a space booked in February 2012. So now it's time to roll up our sleeves and make it happen. if you live in the area, and are interested in helping out check out this wiki and feel free to drop me a line (

Special thanks to the organizing team of InfoCamp Seattle for an amazing weekend, and to Serenity Isben for letting me share her wonderful photos on here!


  1. thanks for posting about this ... i thought about attending but there has been too much going on in my life at the moment. nice to know there might be two somewhat-local options next time around ...

  2. It's worth checking out! I went last year as an excuse to visit Seattle, and InfoCamp surpassed my expectations, making me think about Library Science and Information Management in a whole new way.