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Paul Aiken, attorney for the Author's Guild, claims that Google's digitization of copyrighted material could pave the way for the demise of writers and publishers. Aiken and the Guild have sued Google, and the case is winding its way through a multi-year process. "Fair use doesn't mean free use," Aiken told a rapt audience at a presentation titled "Copyright in an Internet Age." Questioners after his talk challenged his reading of the tea leaves.

As the crowd was settling in to the "PIO Basics" session of the 2006 NASW meeting, a man in the row behind me leaned forward and whispered to the woman next to me, "I know nothing about being a PIO." "Neither do I," she whispered back.

The How to Cover a Scientific Meeting session drew a standing-room only crowd, with participants lining the walls and sitting on the floors as four consummate professionals held forth on everything from the imminently practical ("Read the program" and "Eat breakfast") to pointers on schmoozing researchers to slick tips on how to capture elusive details to entice picky editors.