We’re delighted to share these thoughts on NISO Plus by some of our scholarship winners, past and present. Collectively, they provide a great overview of this year’s conference!

Nicoleta-Roxana Dinu, Librarian, National Library of Romania

WhaNicoleta Roxana Dinut a great opportunity to attend the NISO Plus Conference as one of the lucky scholarship winners of this year!  Using the online format and taking into account the time zone difference in building its schedule, the NISO Plus conference has been converted into a truly global event for information professionals. This was the first NISO conference that I attended so far (in the last year and half I have participated in many online international/ national meetings “thanks” to the Covid-19 crisis – so this pandemic has a positive side in “pushing” people to come together virtually all over the world ☺) .

The NISO Plus Conference used an efficient tool to organize and display the program to participants. It was useful to check my email in the morning of each conference day, and to find the schedule for that day.

I was interested in the topics discussed, some of them new for me, and admired the rich experience of presenters and speakers and the engagement of the attendees. Not forgetting the good job done by the moderators. The recorded sessions for those that didn’t fit for my time zone help not to miss the other presentations.

Regarding the types of presentations, maybe it could be a good idea to include a poster session in future conference editions, where people have the chance to show the objectives and the first results of an initiative/ project in its early phases.

Through attending the NISO Plus conference I have learned that the key to a successful professional meeting is a combination of a devoted, serious, and hard-working staff, an impressive high quality and variety of topics presented, and great speakers, an engaging audience, and a lot of inspiration and creativity in making an attractive programme (the social events were the “delicious” part of the conference and showed us that the human interaction works very well even in the online environment).

Jessica Nombrano Larsen, MLIS Student, San Jose State University, USA

(extracted from Jessica’s NISO I/O post, Experiencing Global Conversation and Connections: NISO Plus 2021)

NISO Plus 2021 was effectively about problem-solving on a global scale, and the conference format really lent itself to achieving this goal. While expert speakers were brought in to provide introductions and share their experiences, the aim was to highlight important topics so the entire community could then join in the conversations and work together to brainstorm potential solutions. And people were truly invested in those conversations. They discussed each problem from all angles and perspectives, provided concrete examples whenever possible, and shared resources with each other. NISO working groups were proposed for follow-up on relevant issues, and participants were encouraged to volunteer. It was wonderful to see such a diverse group of people working together so positively and respectfully; all voices were welcome, even those of students like me, who are just embarking on their careers in the information profession.

I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to attend NISO Plus 2021, not just because of everything I learned, but also because of the amazing people I met. I have made connections with information professionals whom I admire both for their expertise and their kindness. As a first-generation student from a marginalized community, it was astounding to find so many people who wanted to help me succeed. I am proud to be a part of the NISO community, and I look forward to doing my part to increase access and accessibility for all. NISO’s vision is to help create “a world where all benefit from the unfettered exchange of information,” and NISO Plus 2021 certainly made great strides toward achieving this goal.

Jihye Lee, Electronic Resource Cataloging Librarian, Nova Southeastern University, USA

As a first-time attendee, as well as a NISO Plus 2021 scholarship recipient, it was such an amazing experience to attend NISO Plus this year. Even though the conference was provided in a virtual environment due to the ongoing pandemic, NISO Plus was a huge success as it brought so many scholars and information professionals together across the nation and various countries. The conference proved that nothing could stop people from sharing knowledge and information. It also showed the advantages of virtual events as it provided practical, technological features beyond geographical boundaries. NISO Plus was a great event to connect the whole world under a difficult pandemic situation, which has been separating the world and keeping people apart. The conference provided a gateway for helping people communicate and collaborate with each other around the world. I felt so grateful to attend the conference and be part of the NISO Plus community. I learned a lot from the conference itself and through informative sessions and interesting discussions. It was incredible to see how NISO scholars support the values of community and contribute to the community in so many ways. It also made me feel proud as I could see that information professionals make a lot of efforts to enhance information services for the community. I would like to encourage everyone to join NISO Plus every year, bring your perspectives or ideas, and share your experiences. Thank you!

Dinesh Ranjan Pradhan, Scientist, INFLIBNET Centre, India

I learned a number of new initiatives and  viewpoints during the NISO Plus 2021 event, and it was a very good learning experience. The keynote by Cory Doctorow was amazing and awakening. The first session that I attended was about linked data and information sharing, where I learned about the linking methods demonstrated by Dimensions. During my work at my current organization (INFLIBNET), I always wonder about the linking of our different independent activities and how they can be interrelated. This session helped me to clear up some of those concepts. Also, being a professional working in e-resources management, my most valuable sessions were the session about the Seamless Access initiative, Identifiers, metadata and connections, and the Discovery and knowledge base session. Seamless Access is quite a good solution from the user point of view, but there is less we can do as librarians to enable these services. I learned different dimensions of PIDs and how they can be integrated in the creation of metadata for future use and linking. The KBART discussion was really useful. The automated delivery of KBART records, which came to my notice through this event, is a very useful initiative. I have been using the SUSHI service and it’s very helpful for a library in managing the usage. I think KBART automation, once adopted by more publishers, will also be helpful for libraries in managing their collection and saving a lot of time.

Due to the time zone difference, I missed a number of sessions of interest to me, and am still watching the recorded videos through the on demand option whenever I find some time. So NISO Plus 2021 is still on for me in another mode!

Raymond Pun, Education/Outreach Manager, Hoover Institution Library & Archives, USA (NISO Plus 2020 Diversity Scholarship Recipient)

What a great experience to connect with many professionals, educators, students, publishers and librarians globally, who are interested in infrastructure, system, access and standards at NISO Plus 2021! I got really comfortable moving between Slack discussions to Zoom rooms to gather.town conversations to Twitter chats to Discourse threads! It was great to connect with people in those different channels and to engage with them on important topics and conversations impacting our fields!

I appreciated the sessions held in the morning (not too early for Pacific Time) and early evening (not too late either). I was interested in the global privacy discussions and learned more from the presenters on their thoughts relating to privacy laws in Europe and in China, particularly relating to digital health. I also stumbled on a fascinating session called “Open versus proprietary in software and systems.” It was great to hear the challenges and pluses of using open/proprietary systems. Bohyun Kim from University of Rhode Island (URI) always brings a great perspective and expertise on this topic.

In addition, I had a chance to connect with NISO Plus 2021 Scholarship recipients Ira Tam Keung Kit from Vocational Training Council in Hong Kong and Jessica Nombrano Larsen, MLIS student from San Jose State University in gather.town and now in our circles! Kudos to the NISO Plus conference planning program committee and staff for making this virtual conference and its activities very seamless and fun!

Ira Tam Keung Kit, Technical Services Librarian, Vocational Training Council, Hong Kong

Ira Tam Keung KitFor me, NISO Plus was a very unique experience that I didn’t get in other conferences I have attended before; it provided me with a sense of community. Every session of the conference was followed by a discussion in Zoom that was at least 30 minutes long. With Zoom’s gallery view, I could see the profile picture of each attendee (or even video of some attendees). After attending a few sessions, I started to recognize attendees that I had seen in previous sessions. With that, I felt a connection between attendees that I haven’t felt before.

Apart from that, while listening to each discussion, I had the feeling, “Wow, there are so many people working on this topic!”. There were so many attendees who engaged in the discussions. Though conversations in some discussions were so detailed that they were not easy for me to follow, they made me truly understand how limited my knowledge is as an information professional. This is the exact experience I need at the current stage of my career.

Other than the sessions of NISO Plus, the social events in gather.town were great add-ons to the conferences. I had some conversations at the social events with other attendees.

I was so grateful when I learned that I was a winner of NISO Plus Scholarship Program. I am so happy to be a part of the NISO community, and definitely learned a lot during the conference. I sincerely hope that I can contribute my part to the growth of this great community.

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