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Librarians, Health and SXSWi

SXSWi 2011 Logo

Many people are familiar with South by Southwest (SXSW), the annual music showcase where many popular bands find their big break in Austin, TX. Since the early 1990s, SXSW has also offered another type of showcase, one for multimedia and technology, currently referred to as SXSW Interactive (SXSWi). As with the music festival, SXSWi is a conference and festival where the best and the brightest come to showcase their new ideas. New startups and experts in the field converge to share ideas about technology and better understand the technology trends we can expect to see in the future.

Technology startups that launched at SXSWi or were introduced to a large audience for the first time include some well known social media tools such as Foursquare and Gowalla. Twitter also achieved popularity through use at SXSWi.

Panels of experts and leaders in a variety of fields report on the state of technology from the value of data visualization to technology’s role in healthcare. Many tech savvy librarians also attend and participate in the conference.

According to the recent article from The Atlantic, SXSW 2011: The Year of the Librarian, librarians were plentiful at the conference this year and focused on a variety of topics including the digitization of Federal archives, adequate access to the Internet, data visualization, social media and the rights of online users.

The role of technology and healthcare is also a popular topic. In the past favorites such as e-Patient Dave been included on panels. This year members from the Department of Health and Human Services were on hand to partake in the interactive experience. They have shared their experiences at the event on their blog. From discussions on open data to mobile health care apps, technology and healthcare do have a place at SXSWi. As technology continues to change our daily life, we can expect to see more discussion and innovations at popular events such as SXSWi.

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