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Knowledgespeak Interview: Kat Meyer, Conference Co-Chair, Tools of Change for Publishing, on the forthcoming TOC Conference - 10 Feb 2011

Q

Knowledgespeak: Can you briefly talk about the forthcoming Tools of Change (TOC) for Publishing Conference? Also, can you share with us any interesting events / trends that you expect to see in the Conference?

A

Kat Meyer: TOC is a conference focused on technology and publishing -- cutting a broad swath, and including all kinds of publishing and publishers, as well as all kinds of technologies that enable "publishing", or sharing of content. TOC is now in its 5th year and has grown each year. We have a sold out attendance of more than 1200 attendees from around the world joining us in New York this year. That, right there, is a big trend at the conference --- we're increasingly seeing TOC as a global community of technologists and publishers gathering together. Publishing has long been quite segmented, but this year, more than ever before, there's a definite interest in publishers of all kinds (and from all locations) to learn from one another, and just network with professionals they might not otherwise meet.


Q

Knowledgespeak: The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Publishing Without Boundaries.’ What are some of the boundaries of the past that you expect to disappear in the future?

A

Kat Meyer: Boundaries of who is a publisher, and who is a reader – they’re disappearing as digital production and distribution tools are more and more accessible to pretty much everyone. Boundaries of what content is available where and to whom — those boundaries are disappearing as digital content refuses to be easily confined by territorial rights restrictions…An industry that was once a rigidly defined landscape is being transformed into uncharted territory.


Q

Knowledgespeak: You have an interesting panel of speakers lined-up for the conference. Can you give our readers some highlights from the schedule?

A

Kat Meyer: I’m blatantly going to repurpose a portion of my good friend Liza Daly’s Three Press blog post where she brilliantly summed up some of the highlighted sessions, panels, workshops and keynotes.

Workshops

This year’s workshop program is really strong. Attendees will not be disappointed by any of:

Sessions

Tuesday

Wednesday

Keynotes

Do not be caught schmoozing in the Exhibit Hall during these keynote speeches:


Q

Knowledgespeak: How, in your opinion, have the needs of information-consumers evolved in the recent years? How is the TOC Conference evolving accordingly?

A

Kat Meyer: I wouldn’t say information consumers’ needs have evolved or changed so much as have their expectations. The immediacy of the web leads the information consumer to expect to have 24/7 access to content. And, there is plenty of content to go around. The next step -- or evolution in this new information age (for consumers and for TOC) focusing on how to find the RIGHT information. A lot of the conversation at TOC this year revolves around aggregating and curating information. How can it be done to garner the most value for the publisher and for the consumer? And, along with that - the presentation of that information -- we’re moving beyond reflowing text or straight pdf to the next phase of reading on screens -- good design.


Q

Knowledgespeak: New leaders are emerging with the vision to adapt or change their business models to embrace the opportunities created by the social web and the cloud. What are the implications of these generational changes in technology and online networks and do you see the TOC Conference as a venue for sharing information on these changes?

A

Kat Meyer: My hope is that we’ll see collaboration across industries. There is a lot of opportunity for publishers to learn from those in other media, and vice verse. TOC purposely seeks out leaders and visionaries from technology and businesses that don’t necessarily fall neatly into the "publishing" sector. Change is happening at lightning speed, and if we can learn from each other what works, what doesn’t, and maybe if businesses could partner instead of purely compete, we all stand to gain a lot.


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