Show Preview: Online ’98 – Online on target

Those who like their IT industry events simple and monothematic mayOlympia in December, and highlights some of the main attractions. not find Online Information ’98 to their taste. In keeping with the current fashion for shows with a multitude of dimensions, themes and satellite events, Online Information, now in its 22nd year, is a veritable stew.

Alongside the main conference and exhibition, which is at Olympia from 8 to 10 December, there will be no fewer than four new shows aimed at so-called information-rich vertical markets. Online Information for Accountancy and Finance is matched by similar events for the health and pharmaceutical, investment and security and sales and marketing industries. Each of these extra shows will have its own “expo” area, an information trail linking exhibitors with relevant stands in the main show and well as dedicated conference and product presentation sessions. If you want to get to grips with the whole thing, be warned and set more than a morning aside.

If it is possible to distil one major theme running through all events out of this maelstrom of information, then it is knowledge management.

Organiser Learned Information promises a whole day of the event (the Wednesday) dedicated to “the whys and wherefores” of practising knowledge management.

A conference, Knowledge Management at Online Information, will aim to talk through the values of KM, its relevance to business and its implementation.

There will also be a one-day seminar at the nearby Novotel in Hammersmith.

The scale of the event (last year some 17,000 people attended, as well as 850 conference delegates) is reflected in the variety of companies exhibiting, which ranges from information veterans like Dun & Bradstreet through to the European Union.

Of particular interest to many information professionals may well be the Financial Times Electronic Publishing stand. FTEP will be showing off a new interface for its FT Profile search tool. On a more specialised level, FTEP will be giving many people their first sight of its China Intelligence Wire, which now contains over 12,000 indexed full text articles in Chinese, with translated summaries in English.

Also with an international flavour is Interactive Digital Media, the newly opened UK branch of the leading French supplier of software and services to the information publishing industry. Interactive Digital Media specialises in the development of web-database and e-commerce applications.

At Online Information 98 it will be featuring a new generation of advanced editorial and publishing systems based on Internet technology and standards.

Organiser Learned Information, part of the multinational VNU group, publisher of Management Consultancy, has its own presence at the event. It will be demonstrating titles like Information World Review, the newspaper for the information industry, Online & CD-ROM Review and IT directories and CD-ROMs, including Datasite, The Computer Software & Services CD-ROM and The Computer Users Year Book.

The UK Online User Group (UKOLUG) is a self-help group run by online users for online users. It is now the main national user group for online, CD-ROM and Internet searchers.

Its key activities, which it will profile at the show, include seminars, workshops and a biennial conference at which delegates can address work-related issues, aid career development and learn from other practitioners and experts in the information field. It also lobbies on behalf of users and offers practical help on all manner of search-related enquiries through a range of publications including the Quick Guide to the Internet and CD-ROM Networking.

Adding a further dimension will be the keynote address from Thomas Yeoh, assistant CEO of Singapore’s National Computer Board. Under the heading “Singapore: the Intelligent Island – is this the global role model?” (which presumably begs the answer yes), Yeoh will talk about how achieving a nationwide IT vision requires more than just good infrastructure.

Presumably unchastened by south east Asia’s considerable economic woes, perhaps Yeoh will inspire the UK business community to adopt a friendlier approach to the adoption of technologies like data warehousing, extranets and e-commerce.

For more details call 01865 388000. To register e-mail

Guy Matthews is a freelance journalist.

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