The U. S. State Department (the Office of International Information Programs Global Issues and Communications, or IIP/T/GIC) asked me to speak today to a group of information science students in Poland via a video hookup. OCLC does this sort of thing between divisions around the world, but the State Department arranged for me to use the facilities at a little office near downtown Columbus. This is the first time I've been on the delivery end of this sort of thing outside more informal OCLC video meetings, and I'd say the technology worked pretty well. The connection dropped once for a few seconds, but then came back by itself. The sound quality was good and the video a bit slow, but adequate. I had some PowerPoint slides, but wasn't able to show them.
The students seemed interested and probably better informed about the state of libraries in the U.S. than I am about those in Poland. We talked about how changes in 'information architecture' are changing catalogs. Because of the transmission delay it is hard to have a normal conversation, but it is possible to have a question and answer session, and being able to see the audience makes it much easier to interact with them. We talked for about 40 minutes and I hoped they enjoyed it. I know I did.
I thought about putting a picture of Krakow in this posting (where I think the conference this session was a part of is being held), but really there was very little feel of being in Poland, other than the people I was talking with. As far as the room they were in, it could have been anywhere, and my room was equally anonymous.