Exhibit Hall News: Springer “Pedia,” Centurion Rebates, Ship Index

June 30, 2011

At the invitation of the vendors, I spent a chunk of time Monday at three booths in the exhibit hall in New Orleans during ALA to hear the lowdown on the new Springer Reference Database, Centurion Technologies’ Energy Saver, and Ship Index, the brainchild of Mike and Peter McCracken.

Every night libraries around the country leave power on unnecessarily, Centurion’s Phil Simeone told me, and over the course of a year, the cost can amount to thousands of dollars in wasted energy. Energy Saver gives network administrators the power to manage all aspects of their workstation energy usage, he said, but it hasn’t caught on with libraries yet the way they were hoping it would, and Centurion offered rebates for librarians who signed up during the conference. “We invented this technology,” Simeone noted, and “Energy Saver is the perfect tool for tracking, documenting, and managing your workstation energy consumption.”

While Springer’s Wouter van der Velde explained the advantages and delights of the Springer Reference Database, I typed “Polish Diaspora” into the search box, thinking it would yield little or nothing. Much to my surprise, it turned up items that I found quite useful for my own research and had not known about. Van der Velde called the database “more of a ‘pedia’ database,” but one that only the authors can edit and update. It’s a unique product, he said, that allows for rapid publication of a completed piece and offers “print as needed.”

Peter McCracken proudly demonstrated Ship Index, noting that “there was no way to do research of this kind before.” It’s a database with “a narrow focus and broad applications” he said, especially for genealogists. I typed in the name of the ship that carried my grandmother across the ocean from Poland to America in 1913, and several splendid photographs popped up along with other useful information.

Some 650 companies exhibited their products and services at the 2011 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans, with major program sponsorship provided by Gale Cengage Learning (shuttle buses), ProQuest CSA (the Scholarship Bash), Boopsie (ALA Mobile), ReadHowYouWant (accessible final program), Credo Reference (Convention Center Wi-Fi), School Library Journal and Library Journal (“Into the Stacks” coupon booklet), Elsevier (internet cafés), and Combined Book Exhibit.