1. I went to SEI at Duke a few years ago- it was great! It’s great opportunity to learn and network. Some things were overwhelming for me at the time, but those items were good introductions to concepts. If you can go- do it.

  2. I went to SEI in Bloomington as recent LIS graduate and four months into a VR position. (I have had substantial previous experience in other areas of visual arts, so am not a complete newbie.) The timing for SEI was excellent, coming when I was getting my feet on the ground and wanting to calibrate myself against what others in the profession were doing. The well-rounded approach to the programming was helpful. In areas where I knew quite a bit already, it was useful to see how VR people were doing things. In areas where I didn’t know so much, it was obviously helpful to begin to pick up some necessary knowledge. I probably didn’t pay so much attention to specific facts and instructions as to general approaches. For example, it was useful to get a better understanding of VRA core, not only by learning some of the concepts, but also to learn that there is considerable flexibility in how one applies core. I had already been taking some liberties based on local need, and it was reassuring to know I wasn’t off the wall in doing so. Private conversations with long-time image curators were helpful in answering questions about such things as developing a workflow, from receiving orders to organizing student workers. SEI also gave me a footing for negotiating my way among librarians, archivists, etc., in a setting where I am the only visual resources curator. In other words, my colleagues know libraries intimately, but are not entirely familiar with visual resources practices. It is important that I have some grounding in the profession beyond my own homespun views when I make proposals or whatever. An intense period of time with peers and leaders in the profession has helped to provide some of that grounding. A subsequent visit to a regional VRA/ARLIS meeting has provided reinforcement and follow through.

  3. I attended the SEI in Bloomington and thought it was a wonderful experience. I have been at my job less than a year so I was still rather a newbie! Not to sound too star-struck, but as someone who has been lurking on the VRA listserv for years, it was great to see in-person the individuals who are the foundation of our profession. That was one of the best things about SEI. The instructors are truly the experts in the field! In addition, it’s always great to meet people who are in the same boat as you. I mean, how often do you meet someone to discuss implementing VRA Core 4.0 and CCO.

    I admit there were moments when the information presented was both over and under my head. But I think that is common at all conferences.

    To me, it was just reassuring (and worth the trip) to know that I was going things 98% right!

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