March 16, 2018

Split-level Exhibits, Sluggish Internet Mar Boston ALA Midwinter

By LJ Staff

As slow as molasses in winter. That old maxim now can be altered to "as slow as the Internet at Midwinter." The demo-destroying sluggishness of the show floor’s net connection at Boston’s Hynes Convention Center during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting, January 14-17, was a close second to major concerns over the two-tier exhibits, which ganged all the top tech houses on the second floor, which received little traffic for their layout of cash, despite an increase of several thousand attendees over the 2004 show in San Diego, while the ground floor exhibitors enjoyed record traffic. Boston proved the typically quiet Midwinter, with few significant announcements. Nonetheless, enough products, and advanced word of forthcoming ones, were revealed to make the show vibrant. The hot topics at recent shows–RFID, self-check, wi-fi, federated searching, ebooks, and others–continue to be hot, despite privacy concerns, rising costs, and infighting between venders.