IDS Project Conference 2019

by Matt Calsada

John & I had the pleasure of joining the 100+ attendees of the 15th annual IDS Project Conference held at the picturesque Utica College campus in Utica, NY. The conference theme this year was “All Systems Go: Improving systems and workflows,” and kicked off with a keynote by PALCI Executive Director Jill Morris. The Atlas Update followed right after where we had the opportunity to speak more about the ILLiad roadmap and upcoming plans for the ILLiad 9.1 update, planned for a September 2019 release.


There was a lot of excitement about continued ILLiad development and upcoming Decision Support Pipeline feature. The slide deck is available for anyone to view.

Later in the conference, we had the chance to sit in on some great sessions. A thought-provoking discussion about purchase-on-demand services and how budgets and internal policies can affect those services for users piqued my interest after much debate of unmediated purchasing workflows. We got to see a session showing how users can submit requests without ever seeing the ILLiad web interface made possible by using the ILLiad API and OpenAthens.

With a table close to the coffee and afternoon ice cream, traffic to the Atlas Systems table was steady.


We helped troubleshoot some issues, talked about ways to improve processes, and briefly showed off the new web pages released in Aeon 5.0 as a preview of what's to come in ILLiad. Despite being busy, we still were able to sneak in a few cookies. With all of the SUNY campuses recently migrating to Alma, we talked to many about the Alma NCIP addon. Other attendees were interested in knowing more about the Caiasoft addon to automate offsite request processing. Overall, everyone was looking to bring home as much knowledge as they could on improving their workflows and maximize ILLiad at their institution.


I'm sure most students passing by the vendor tables in the student union ignored us and just eyed the table with cold drinks. One particular student didn't though, and I'm glad she approached us. It's rare for me to go to a library conference and have the opportunity to geek out about computer engineering. The young woman was nervous about an interview she had the next day and wanted advice from an engineering manager. I told her to be herself, be honest, and that her personality would shine through. I reminded her that we all have things to learn, and that was the very reason I was there that day too. I wish she got the job, but I am rooting for her future success regardless.


I'm looking forward to seeing everyone in the coming months. What's next? Stephanie & John will be at the Northwest Interlibrary Loan & Resource Sharing Conference in Portland in September. Don't forget to register for the ILLiad in Focus: Version 9.1 Overview for later in October!