What is your favorite industry association, the one you find most useful?

AIIM – The Enterprise Content Management Association is pretty good. As its site says, AIIM “has been a neutral and unbiased source for helping individuals and organizations understand the challenges associated with managing documents, content, records, and business processes. AIIM is international in scope, independent, implementation-focused, and, as the representative of the entire ECM industry – including users, suppliers, and the channel – acts as the industry’s intermediary.

“The AIIM community has grown to 70,000 professionals from all industries and government, over 150 countries, and all levels of management, including senior executives, line-of-business, and IT. With every organization in the world handling some type of paper or electronic content, the ECM industry will continue to grow. As the industry grows, AIIM can be counted on to provide market education, peer networking, professional development, and industry advocacy.”

They put on a big trade show, they publish a magazine and lots of resource materials. I think AIIM is alright. And I can join as a “Professional Member” for $125/year.

OASIS has more to do with standards, but doesn’t ignore education. I can join individually for $300.

IPA, the Association for Graphic Solutions Providers is “a community of premedia professionals within the creative, corporate, print publishing, packaging and in-plant sectors.

“IPA is a forum for peer networking and a vital source of business, technical, and management resources for graphic solutions providers. It’s where the industry’s leading technical managers turn for information on how to strengthen their graphics workflow competencies and increase profits. It’s where business leaders turn for tools that will help them grow their business.”

If I could pass myself off as a student, I could join for $30 a year, but instead pay the consultant rate of $400. It’s a good group.

CM Pros, the Content Management Professionals, a timely and hard-working association appropriately affiliated with Gilbane, charges me only $100/year.

There’s another association that I think does some good and interesting work. It’s the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), “a trade and standards organization dedicated to the development and promotion of electronic publishing.” (It’s the old OEB — Open e-Book group.)

“The work of the IDPF will foster and promote the development of electronic publishing applications and products that will benefit creators of content, makers of reading systems and consumers.

“The IDPF welcomes book, magazine, journal and newspaper publishers, booksellers, software developers, authors and other groups interested in digital reading to join our organization.”

Every year in the late spring they run a one-day seminar in New York that brings you up to date on what’s happening in this space. The seminar is very reasonably priced: only $89 for members. The problem is the cost of membership: the lowest price is $1,000 (except for non-profits at $650). There are no associate memberships or consultant memberships or student memberships: it’s $1,000 or get out of here. Now this isn’t the biggest nor most important trade group in our industry today. I don’t understand why they price their membership so as to exclude interest from the industry, rather than to encourage it.