I’m at the ASIST conference now, and I had a realization yesterday. I attended the panel that Fred moderated, and by jove if it wasn’t the best session I’ve been to so far at this year’s conference. The research presented was interesting, the topics presented fit together in clear and logical ways, and the presenters were animated and enthusiastic, and had excellent presentation skills. I’ve been to other conference sessions over the years that met all of these criteria, but, honestly, sadly few. So that was point number one: well done Fred, on an excellent panel. Here’s hoping you do more at ASIST.
Point number two was that I realized, at some point during the session, that I was looking at the new generation of scholars in this field. (I believe everyone on that panel was a doctoral student.) I’ve spent the last five years (since I started at UNC), and maybe the last fifteen years (if you count my Masters and PhD years) thinking that I and my cohort are the new up-and-coming whippersnappers in the field. That it’s our job to challenge the “old guard,” take research in new directions, and starting soon (sooner than we’d like), start to take over leadership roles. But what I realize now is that that’s not us. We’re not the new blood: these folks are, the ones on that panel. We’ve had our day to take this field in new directions; it’s their turn now. And they’re wicked interesting and doing cool work. It will be our task to take over leadership roles, and soon… but when we do, we’re going to be the old fogies to these folks, if we’re not already.