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ALA’s Conference Planner

I wanted to take a peek at the ALA event planner for the annual conference in New Orleans, just to see what else was happening 12-1 on Sunday, when Google is holding an event. They aren’t serving lunch so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing some other, equally informative lunchtime session where I could at least snag a cookie.

Well, first, you can’t access the event planner unless you’re registered with the conference and with this loathsome bit of software. That will keep Al Qaeda out of the MARBI meetings!

Not only that, the page boldly informs me: “Please allow 3-5 business days, after registering, for your registration to be processed before you can access the Planner.”

Now, exactly what is the purpose of a “planner” I have to wait a week to use?

This is software ALA uses because Conference Services selected it without ALA IT’s involvement. The Web committee was allowed to comment on it after the fact, but most of the responses from the company were in the genre of “The software can’t support that.” It’s an idiotic product that has a poor UI, can’t output to PDAs, and grinds to a halt when it’s stress-tested by a lot of people accessing it at once–like, you know, like right before a conference. I get the feeling it’s BCBC software–that is, Beggars Can’t Be Choosers; it probably came free with something else, like the search engine that came with the execrable website management software ALA purchased in 2003.

So how do I update my schedule? The same way I always do: I look at divisional websites and scan for hand-entered meeting information, and I watch discussion lists. When I arrive at the conference, I will be handed a thick dead-tree schedule. I will rip out the meeting information and keep the maps.

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