VRA 2009 Toronto
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Visual Resources Association
27th Annual Conference
March 18-21, 2009


Dear colleagues,

The 27th Annual Conference of the Visual Resources Association will be held on March 18-21 (Wednesday through Saturday), 2009, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  This vibrant, cosmopolitan host city will add to the excitement of our program, special events and receptions.  VRA 27 will cover topics of significance to our profession, including metadata issues, emerging technologies, resource sharing initiatives, and new approaches to serving clienteles in transition; it will attract professionals from major academic institutions, cultural organizations, and the commercial sector. In addition to professional sessions, workshops, and special interest groups, conference goers will have plenty of opportunities to experience Toronto’s museums, world-class architecture, diverse ethnic restaurants, and other cultural attractions.

Conference headquarters will be the Sheraton Centre Toronto, conveniently located on major bus and streetcar lines in the heart of downtown, and one short block away from the Osgoode subway stop, from which a few minutes’ ride can take you to the Royal Ontario Museum, the Bata Shoe Museum, or the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art. Even nearer at hand, the Sheraton Centre connects directly to PATH, downtown Toronto's all-weather underground walkway linking 27 kilometres of shopping, services and entertainment. Only minutes away are major attractions, such as the world-renowned Art Gallery of Ontario (famed for its collection of Henry Moore sculpture), the CN Tower (celebrated as the “world’s tallest free-standing structure”), and even the Hockey Hall of Fame (where you can contemplate applying CCO and Core 4.0 standards to describe your photo of the actual Stanley Cup).

International and commercial air service for the region is provided by the Pearson International Airport. Amtrak trains arrive at Toronto’s Union Station, 5 blocks from the hotel (all underground along the PATH system if you don’t care to venture outside).

Our conference organizers, Vice-Presidents Vickie O’Riordan and Brian Shelburne, assisted by the VRA Canada Chapter’s local arrangements committee, are planning a program of sessions and events not to be missed.

Highlights include:

  • An opening plenary presenting a lively comparison of the U.S. and Canadian copyright environments, with an opportunity to engage in dialogue with area law students, library/information science students, and ARLIS/NA Ontario members.
  • Informative sessions on metadata, specialized searching and access issues, collaboration and aggregation projects, emerging technologies, and strategies for working with “Millennials.”
  • Workshops on visual resources administration, advanced metadata, promoting collaboration with faculty, and Photoshop techniques for works of art.
  • Keynote address by Michael Edson, Director of Web and New Media Strategy at the Smithsonian Institution, detailing an emerging open access strategy for cultural heritage materials.
  • A new format “Vendor Slam,” allowing vendors to present overviews of their new products and services, with plenty of opportunities for follow-up questions.
  • Special Interest Groups, expanding opportunities for collaboration among members; and Ask the Expert sessions, providing opportunities to learn about emerging technologies, new products, and shared professional interests in one-on-one exchanges.
  • The popular Birds-of-a-Feather lunches--issue-oriented affinity discussion groups hosted and facilitated by seasoned VRA professionals, specifically but not exclusively geared towards new members of the organization and first-time attendees.
  • Walking tours of Toronto’s historic and cutting-edge buildings led by a knowledgeable local architectural historian, with plenty of opportunities to photograph for your collections.
  • Special events including the Membership Dinner and Awards Ceremony; a Tansey Fundraiser performance featuring Toronto’s famed Second City improvisational comedy troupe; and the always spectacular VRAffle, emceed by Empress Patti McRae, with the able assistance of the infamous VRAffle-Rousers.

VRA 27 will be an excellent opportunity to learn new things, share experiences with enthusiastic and knowledgeable colleagues, and enjoy local culture, architecture, and art. Please join us in dynamic, exciting Toronto for what promises to be a memorable conference experience.

Allan T. Kohl
President, Visual Resources Association

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