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Off-Topic: MLA09 Honolulu Travelogue

May 16, 2009
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This is more for me than readers, but here are the tiny tidbits about the trip, to be updated as I go:

-I got one post up on the official MLA blog prior to even leaving – this one is on the ethics task force open forum.
-Got up at 4am, left Nashville at 6am, with flights to Denver, then San Francisco, then Honolulu.
-The flight out of Denver was delayed, and I had to switch carriers in San Francisco, which involved going outside, and going back through security. I made it to the gate in time to get in the boarding line!
-OMG it’s hot here. Staying at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Bought a beach towel. ‘Bout to head off to the welcome reception for the conference.
-Hit up the Hall of Exhibits, where I ran into several lovely librarians of my acquaintance.
-Went on the MDConsult cruise. Had tropical alcoholic beverage and the first real food of the day. Watched librarians dance. 🙂
-All together, I was awake for 25 hours straight.
-I’m uploading photos to Facebook and to my secondary Flickr account.

-Post 2 is up on the MLA blog, soliciting folks to describe/review electronic resources in the Hall of Exhibits.
-Sitting in first plenary session. Lots of mentions of how nobody knew of Twitter 3 years ago. Figures, since it was just barely launched three years ago.
-Heard Adam Bosworth give the McGovern lecture. He called our current practice of medicine “19th century,” talked about not just prescribing drugs but intervening to get people not to need them, personal health records (and what they lack), etc.
-Caught first presentation on diversity in section programming. Was pointed to some good resources on minority health. Will try to link them up later. Update: blog post up on this topic.
-Blog post on my conversation with Elsevier reps on the fake journal issue, and a brief one to note that the New England Journal of Medicine is ceasing publication of book reviews.
-Finally got a chance to hit the pool and beach!
-Uploaded a bunch more photos, including of cooked chicken feet, and (uncooked!) penguins.
-Another blog post on diversity resources from section programming.
-Ovid party! They did this going to the hukilau song, which I realized that I already knew. Wondering now if I ever heard the Korean, Hawaii-living grandma singing it.

-Went to Pearl Harbor.
Another blog post, with resources from a vendor whose display materials didn’t make the flight over.
-Saw a bunch of interesting posters in the exhibit hall, and talked to several folks about their work. One thing to check out is Operation Medical Libraries, “a grass roots efforts whose mission is providing medical texts and journals to medical schools and hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
-I have lots of cryptic notes squirreled away on questions I want to ask people about their posters.
-Kind of excited about this exhibitor, Trapeze Media Solutions, and their online set of posters from the conference. Talked to them, and they’re currently piloting with some academic institution that found it was generating ~8K posters per year – content that was previously lost after the fact.
-Korean food for dinner Monday night at the Seoul Jung restaurant at the Waikiki Resort Hotel. Nom nom. Posted restaurant recommendation to the blog. Not sure why it says it was posted Tuesday; either I was up later than I thought, the blog is one eastern time, or I lost track of the days (which happened a lot).

-Tuesday started bright and early with open forum on the ethics task force. Tweeted the hell out of it, and posted to the blog about the tweets. Will be updating with chronological record soon.
-NLM update, with interesting bits on an images in the history of medicine resource, an emergency response resource, and upcoming changes to PubMed and MedlinePlus.
-Excellent sushi for lunch.
-Presented at first of my two presentations, as part of invited panel from MPOW. I spoke on our efforts with researchers, especially with regards to genetics information. I talk too fast; it’s my tragic flaw.
-Pool time! Ended up doing some actual swimming (not just lazy wading) in saltwater lagoon. Wore myself out in the best possible way. Sunscreen application #3 for the day (SPF 45).
-MLA luau. Excellent pineapple. Lots of Polynesian dance. Couple of Fire Rock Pale Ales from the Kona Brewing Company. I’m hearing that there were serious problems in how vegetarian dinner requests were handled, though. At some point I also became concerned about race and luaus and spectators, particularly during the bit about the “happy” Tonga – something about that particular part rubbed too close to the idea of the minstrel show for me, but I don’t yet know how indigenous Polynesians feel about the practice. Thoughts?
-Sleepytime. Attending one more lecture in the morning, giving 2nd presentation, hopefully having lunch, then heading to airport. Sorry I didn’t get chance to see kind of distant family in town, but wasn’t sure what the schedule would be like. Excuse to come back. 🙂

-Plenary session with Ben Young, MD on Hawai’i’s history, especially of disease. Talks about how many infectious diseases did not exist on the islands until immigrants arrived. A bird flies through the conference hall.
-A Twitterer mentioned this book, which I’ve added to my to-read list: The Gifts of Civilization: Germs and Genocide in Hawaii by O. A. Bushnell
-Gave my second talk, on our library’s response to the NIH public access policy, in session with a few other speakers. Went reasonably well, with better turnout than I expected on the final day and against another Plenary session.
Posted an MLA blog Wordle.
-So glad I got to see so many folks and meet many who I “know” from Twitter, etc. in person. Thanks to @shamsha for her post on our Tuesday invited session: Vanderbilt librarians make us look good!
-More sushi for lunch. Had a lot of good food in Honolulu, including lots of pineapple and pineapple juice.
-Uh, oh, boarding pass has no seat. Standby? Got to airport very early, only to have check-in/baggage folks say they couldn’t assign seat. Wait for gate desk to open. Finally get one of last seats on the plane – in the middle of the center row of 5. 7 1/2 hours of flying to O’Hare, overnight.
-Got to see the movie Inkheart on the plane – will have to read those books now. Fortuitous that this was selection on plane partially filled with librarians.
-O’Hare to home.
-Should not have worn newish shoes for the walking-a-lot conference. Feet too swollen to get shoes all the way on.
-So sleepy. 🙂

[For the library folks, don’t forget that there are lots of ways to keep up with goings on, especially and See also Keeping Up With Events at MLA. My own tweets are at]


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