Autumn is here, and next week will be my eighth Access conference. Ah! Où sont les feuilles d’antan?

The most exciting presentation I’ve heard at Access is still Herbert Van de Sompel at Access Y2K in St. John’s. At that point OpenURL was still on my vague list of things I ought to figure out, despite Dave’s attempts to get me to understand Godot. Van de Sompel’s presentation was dynamic and engaging, and I remember starting a personal hackfest in my venerable hotel room that evening, dragging a marble-topped table over to the phone jack so I could get online. I logged into TAL Online and figured out how to configure SiteSearch to link from a book record to the reviews in one of our databases using some finely-crafted embedded searches. I had been in my first librarian job for about a year at that point, and while I already knew it was fun, that experience made me realize it was really fun.

The most chilling was Alan Rothenbush and Jonn Martell demonstrating black-hat hacking techniques in “Network Security Update: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid” at Access 2003 in Victoria Vancouver. Like many others we were in the process of shoring up our security at that point: our servers weren’t firewalled, we were using telnet instead of ssh…

By far the purtiest was Stan Ruecker’s, last year in Edmonton; I look forward to seeing more of his work this year. And the one that has done the most to clarify for me what it is we do and why was Lorcan Dempsey’s, also last year. Since the invitations to Stan and to Lorcan were both (I believe) my ideas, I feel I’ve made it up to the Access community for the debacle at Windsor in Access 2002, when I stupidly used half of Steve Gregory’s time in our joint session.

Ah, memories. The leaves in Ottawa are supposed to be disappointing this year, unfortunately (they ought to look like this), but the talk is sure to be good. And looking over this year’s program makes me realize that while organizing Access was fun, not organizing Access is really fun.