Category Archives: Conference Reports

Breakfast talk during PLA in Denver

On the Friday morning of PLA, I presented to a great room full of library administrators and directors on a model for evaluating emerging technologies in a public library setting.

The blurb: Public libraries are being asked to do something they’ve never really had to do: continuously evaluate an ever-increasing stream of New Tech for use or relevance to the library setting. How can a model help them navigate these new waters?

Edited to add: I’ve taken down the slidedeck for now because I’m revamping this talk for another use. It’ll be back, no worries.

Internet Librarian 2012 – The Next Big Thing!

The last session of the Library Issues & Challenges track I moderated on Monday was The Next Big Thing, a chance for people to hear the big ideas and big plans of their peers. Yeah, we had Sarah Houghton (San Rafael Public Lib) and Ben Bizzle (Craighead Cty Jonesboro Public Lib) and David Hesse and Brian Pichman (Mokena Public Lib) giving their thoughts first, but then we opened it up to the audience.

And man, did they have ideas. Louise Alcorn of the Des Moines Public Library was our Madam of Awesome and took pages of notes as people told us what their Next Big Things were personally, professionally, organizationally, and what they thought was next for librarianship as a whole.

Here’s what they had to say:
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Internet Librarian Day 1 – Moderating Track D, Library Issues & Challenges

Today, I’m moderating Track D: Library Issues & Challenges along with Michael Sauers of the Nebraska Library Commission. This track is an experiment, where we encourage more interaction and participation from the audience. We’ve got them at round tables instead of in rows of chairs, and we’ve asked our speakers to keep the “talking head” mode to a minimum and to encourage lots of questions and contributions from the folks out there. It worked really well at Computers in Libraries 2012, and now we’re trying it at Internet Librarian.

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Internet Librarian, Day 1 – Keynote

I’m going to try for one post a day

David Weinberger, Opening Keynote

“Libraries as Platforms”

Not just about resources being digital – “The real change is in the networking.”
Library as Platform, with some advantages:

  • provides a unifying framework
  • social networks taken seriously
  • increases the value of the library, both perceived and real

Mentioned J.L. Austen, philospher.
Allows access to resources, encourages community networks to arise, including knowledge networks,

Knowledge networks are really big (huge scale) and have many many links – just like the internet.

Our brains are really small – just one kilogram of matter – and yet we want to know everything with it.”
We’ve come up with strategies to deal with this:

  • We need to filter.
    We divvy the world of knowledge up into brain-sized chunks, put those chunks into people and call them experts.
    We also take the products of those experts and put them into a physical medium and call them books, and libraries.
  • The property of these storage mediums have shaped our idea of the shape of knowledge.
    Including the idea that knowledge is “settled”
  • The answers that we get from knowledge are stopping points – we’ve got an answer and we’re done.

Knowledge lives in networks – not in the nodes of the networks, but in the connections between them.
Knowledge lives on the internet – that’s where the new news is.

The value of this network comes from the disagreement.
The internet is exposing the lie of The Enlightement: we, collectively, don’t agree about anything, not even facts.

Since the Web has infinite space, ‘forking’ a conversation is easy – just tell people to take it offline or offlist.
It’s also a different way of disagreeing – much more public, and can be more productive.

Social learning. – “Software developers now live int he fastest, most efficient environment ever for rapid learning.”

One of the biggest concern of this truth about the internet is that the Echo Chamber Effect will simply become magnified. “If this is true, then the internet is not the dream of democracy but the nightmare of democracy.”

Reddit can be an echo chamber that has figured out how to open some windows: it’s the promise of the Enlightenment without the presumption that at the end, we will all agree on what’s so.

What do we want from these networks?

  • Open
  • Linked
  • Sourced
  • Diverse
  • Safe
  • Iteratively Add Value

Thinking about libraries in terms of services – NOT assets, whether digital or physical

“There’s no difference between data and metadata except the direction of the operation…. At some level, everything can be metadata for everything else.”

“Backends can be Webstarts” – support standards, share our work, make things as open as possible, rethink privacy
There’s so much we can do with this data once we figure out the right balance of risk and opportunity.

You need to find enough in common to begin a conversation. You get to the 99% of sameness so you can then go off and talk about the differences.
Locality enables difference, but there must be difference – that’s where the conversation/discussion is formed.

Libraries should take everything that they know – assets, library staff from every single department (front and back), users, and the connections between all of these – and make it available to every user and network of user that can be improved by having access to it.