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Under a new name, the Open Athens conference returns to London rebranded as Access Lab

The Open Athens event, rebranded as Access Lab, returns to America Square Conference Centre in London on 19 March.

Organisers of the one-day conference say it has been renamed to reflect the wider topics around discovery and access to content and the relationship between publishers, librarians and end-users.

Under the theme of 'simplifying the future together, the conference is aimed at reflecting Open Athens' collective commitment to developing a 'secure, simple and seamless user journey to content'.

The conference attracts more than 150 international publishers and library professionals from a wide range of sectors including education and research, healthcare, government, charity, publishing, and other commercial organisations. Anyone with an interest in identity and access management is encouraged to attend.

The opening keynote will be delivered by Nick Poole, CEO of CILIP – the Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals – and will be entitled: The Future of Library and Information Services.

Before joining CILIP, Poole was previously CEO of the Collections Trust, where he was responsible for developing UK and international standards for information management, advising on digital programmes and leading partnership initiatives with a range of leading digital companies. He was elected to the Board of Wikimedia UK on 25 July 2015. 

Poole is former chair of the Europeana Network and provided representation to the European Commission on culture and technology policy. Prior to joining the Collections Trust in 2005, he held a number of roles at the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), including responsibility for regional policy development and as a national ICT Adviser. Poole is currently chair of BIC Ltd, the book industry supply chain organisation.

The presentation will centre on the fact that population growth, the Internet of Things and the needs of an increasingly connected society are already placing greater demands on the library and information profession than ever before. The only way to meet the challenge of increased scale and complexity is by working smarter, not harder.

Poole will explore how librarians and information professionals can upskill to meet the demands of our future audiences – whether by creating great customer experiences, harnessing the power of AI, machine learning and automation or helping our users successfully navigate an information-rich world.

This will be followed by a plenary talk from Sam Herbert of 67Bricks, entitled: From raw content assets to personalised, digital products – how to modernise your knowledge for the digital age; and a second plenary from Open Athens' David Orrell, entitled: A password-less future.

The rest of the day will be divided into a series of 'tracks', as follows: 

  • Digital library insights;
  • OpenAthens - looking to the future;
  • Accessibility workshop;
  • Library case studies;
  • Publisher insights; and
  • Privacy, personalisation and the user journey.

Potential sponsors and exhibitors are invited to take advantage of a wide range of commercial opportunities at the event.

For more details visit