#SLA2017 – Opening Session – Lulu Baker

Join us for the “official” opening of the SLA 2017 Annual Conference, with a welcome from President Dee Magnoni and a keynote presentation by Lulu Miller of NPR, titled  “Hack the Compass” One of the greatest impediments to reaching truth, are our own hearts. Our hunches, our passions, our beliefs… they can get in the way of the search. Confirmation bias can blind us to complexity. Selective attention can make us miss clues. Narrow framing can steer us off onto the wrong path. The internet, in many ways, has only worsened this problem. Increasingly, we live in our own bubbles, our perception double-reinforced by the pixels to prevent us from seeing reality. Information professionals are poised in the perfect spot to help right this wrong, to help truth-seekers of all kinds (reporters, scientists, historians, policy-makers, lawyers) see a fuller picture than the one they can reach on their own. In this talk, Lulu will explore a few examples in her own and others’ reporting, where astonishing truths, have been stumbled across by accident, and she will ask, in what ways can the information professional help to recreate these conditions. Is there a way to engineer in accidents and randomness to the process? Is it your job to obey the wishes of the journalist/scientist/researcher who comes to you for help? Or might it be, conversely, the job to sneakily disobey them? To sprinkle in little bits of information that they did not ask for? And how can you realistically do this, when a large part of your job is efficiency and precision? In short, this talk is about the paradox of perception: the ways in which our own hearts and mind prevent us from finding the truth, and the magnificent potential of the information professional, to steer us toward truth. The 2017 Rising Stars and the recipient of the Rose L. Vormelker Award will be recognized at this session.


  • Lulu Millerlulu_miller

    Keynote Speaker



Science Reporter and Invisible Co-founder


“Libraries were his church” — Lulu’s grandfather

  • Robert W.P.Parker, MD — retired physician.  Researched Poisoning of Jane Stanford (wife of founder of Stanford).  “Mysterious Death of Jane Stanford.”
  • Uncovers stories like this every day.
  • Bias limits search leads and miss clues (confirmation bias, illusory correlation, serial position effect,……)
  • Shankar Vedantim quote.  Trapped by human perception.
  • Information professionals point people in ways out of this narrow path
  • “Hacking the compass”
  • “Do Your Job Worse.” — send them off the path. Put our own personal touch and experience.
  • Serendipity!!!
  • How do we add serendipity into the mix?
  • — Ten minutes of disobedience
  • — One WILD CARD — story on human echolocation.
  • — Good Old -fashioned CHATSKI — talk across disciplines.
  • — Kafka Method — Confusion primes the brain — pattern recognition.
  • Librarian crucial to process.



Don’t Just Slay but DISOBEY!!!