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Looking Back at IGeLU 2018: A Farewell from Outgoing Chair Theo Engelman


October 22, 2018 | 6 min read |

This past IGeLU was the last to be led by our outgoing IGeLU Chair, Theo Engelman.

We at Ex Libris would like to thank Theo for his years of service to the international Ex Libris community. Thank you, Theo, and we look forward to working with you in other roles in the future!

In case you missed IGeLU, be sure to check out the Ex Libris presentations from the event and the IGeLU Developers Day presentation playlist. (And enjoy watching the IGeLU twist on the Beatles’ “Let It Be” and other classic songs here, courtesy of Boaz Dotan!)


IGeLU 2018 Conference in Prague – a Farewell from the Past-Chair

Theo Engelman


Prague is very crowded. Many tourists visit one of the most beautiful historic cities in Europe, making it hard to walk in the city center as a group, even late in the evening.

But guiding participants of group dinners is one of the responsibilities inextricably entwined with the IGeLU Chair’s position – leading IGeLU officers and Ex Libris executives from restaurant to metro station to take the train back to the comfortable, modern and high-end conference venue and hotel located in the outskirts of Prague.

Imagine the picture of an IGeLU officer assisting an Ex Libris executive purchasing a public transport ticket at a Czech vending machine, and you have a clear redefinition of “Customer Support.” ?

From August 18 to August 23, the crowd visiting Prague was extended by more than 450 attendees and accompanying guests of the IGeLU Conference and Developers Day.

Hosted by the Czech Republic National Library of Technology, the conference, which also offered a social event in their architectural and functional fantastic building, turned out to be very successful and satisfactory, according to the feedback from attendees provided through the conference app.

The core of the conference was the interesting sessions presented by customers demonstrating their in-depth experiences with operating Ex Libris products as well as company insights and roadmaps for the products, followed by the Developers Day, where creative and innovative customers and company employees exchange their solutions and new developments using the most sophisticated new technologies and methods.

And don’t think you have seen it all when participating in one or two of our events! Each and every year the content, quality and formats of the presentations are surprising and entertaining. The development of software and services used in our profession is not slowing down — on the contrary. The annual IGeLU Conference and Developers Day allow us to keep up with the pace of development: a great opportunity offering great value.

Attending the conference is so much more than following an overloaded program of more than 115 sessions divided in 30+ time slots on four days  – not even counting the two-day pre-conference meetings. Networking, establishing, and deepening relationships are an integral part of the added value the conference offers. This stimulates mutual understanding and eases the more virtual and electronic forms of contact the User Community has throughout the year, not only  as international colleagues but even more importantly as customers of the provider of software and services we depend on and use every working day.

In a world relying heavily on complex and advanced technology, professionals that are part of such a collaborative and inspiring network flourish and excel.

Personally I have always advocated within my institution and among my national colleagues for the importance and benefits that come with building and expanding an international professional network. Yes, it is possible to send an email to product lists or blogs to ask for support or feedback on issues or ideas. Knowing the face and voice of respondents and being able to address an individual is yet a higher level of professional contact and it leverages the skills and experience of all who are able to use this network. Becoming active inside this User Community has been one of the best decisions I have made during my professional career. But after a six year period as a Steering Committee member, of which the last three years I also served as the IGeLU Chair, the 2018 Prague Conference was my farewell. And although I will miss the intense communication and being in the center of so much activity, it is also a relief to know that IGeLU has so many talented and active colleagues, resulting in three new Steering Committee members from Latin America, Norway and the United States, with Dave Allen as the new Chair coming from Australia. The geographic diversity of the new Steering Committee and Chair demonstrate the global spread of our User Community, which has always been one of our unique selling points.

In 2019, the IGeLU Conference and Developers Day will be hosted in Singapore. For the second time (2011 in Haifa was the first), the event will be held outside its origin continent of Europe. It is great for colleagues located in the Asia Pacific part of the world to have the benefit of shorter travel distances and lower travel expenses.

In collaboration with Ex Libris, we will be re-introducing the “Systems Training Day” where delegates will have the opportunity to attend advanced training in Ex Libris products. A survey will be issued shortly to the community to determine what training will be offered. In addition, the 2019 Conference will have a “Best Practice Day.” This will be an opportunity for the attendees to get together and discuss workflows and how to maximize the use of Ex Libris products to meet local institutional requirements.

Please follow the news on the 2019 IGeLU Conference details on our website:

I will be serving as Past-Chair for one more year to coach and help the new Chair and Steering Committee. Thank you to all whom I have had the pleasure and honor to work with during my terms as IGeLU Chair and Steering Committee member.

Kind Regards,