I'm a beginner here at JCDL, so for your amusement I'll offer a few first impressions the conference has made so far.
First of all, JCDL is the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries. "Joint" as in jointly sponsored by IEEE and ACM. The sponsorship should give you an idea as to the conference's intense focus on empirical research and theory. With that said, as I sit here and write after lunch, there's a group of apparently long-time JCDL attendees at the next table having a vigorous discussion about the place of the library in digital projects. Should the library be responsible for curating data sets in the hundreds or thousands of terabytes? Is this the purview of a central IT office? The disciplinary department? Where lies the administrative authority to coordinate and manage these activities? All of which are questions currently circulating at K-State Libraries. At least we're not alone in our boat.
But back to the conference as a whole.
JCDL is the place to see speakers whose articles your cited in library school. A case in point: Christine Borgman, who delivered the opening keynote. I can't tell you how many times I cited her late 80's/early 90's research on OPACs in one or another paper. More on her talk in a different post.
JCDL is the place to see Information Science and Computer Science cozily holding hands in a level of abstraction above Library Science. I don't mean this in any snarky way, and I don't want to spark a terminology debate on "information science" versus "library science." I say it only to point out the abyss that's opened up between hands-on work that happens in buildings called libraries and intellectual engagement and research by people who think about theoretical constructs occasionally known as libraries. One is not superior to the other, but I think people who practice in libraries can and should learn from people who conduct research on information and computing. Such research can and does find solutions to practical problems that libraries experience right now. But how long will it take for libraries to adopt (or even be aware of) those solutions?