I just landed in Portland from Internet Librarian 2009 in be-U-ti-ful Monterey, California, and I have to say I’m glad I went! I haven’t been to the Internet Librarian conference in a few years, and I went back and forth in my mind as to whether to go this year. Now I wonder why I was hesitant — it was totally worthwhile. I’ll give it two thumbs up.
The conference planners seemed to be working on turning this year’s event into an experience as well as a conference—witness the Gaming and Gadgets Petting Zoo, the Rockin’ Battle Decks and the launch of Library 101.
As with every conference, it’s the networking and the quality of the presentations that make your actual attendance worthwhile. Here are a couple tips, tricks, and quote-ables that I picked up:
Vint Cerf, commonly deemed the “Father of the Internet” and now the Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, left us with these nuggets:
- “How can we be attentive in an age of distraction?”
- “Power corrupts, and PowerPoint corrupts absolutely.”
- “The book is static: we need dynamic information.”
Roy Tennant, Senior Program Officer at OCLC, in speaking about the Digital Library Landscape, urged us to realize that libraries are in imminent danger and that the challenges to libraries are foundational. Libraries were conceived in an era of information scarcity, whereas we now have ubiquitous information.
“If you dislike change, you are going to dislike irrelevance even less.”
–General Eric K. Shinseki, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs
We were told that libraries need to become a part of the new “information ecology” by building services around user workflows. For example, academic libraries are refactoring the research/publish process, with tools such as eScholarhip. Public libraries are building communities, and special libraries are adding value and providing ROI.
Victoria Harriston, from the National Academy of Sciences, described working with Google to digitize 6,000 NAS documents. Through this digitization project, Victoria has increased access to the NAS collection and enhanced the endurance of their collection.
Paula Wolfe, from the University of Arizona, had these ideas– which I must remember– “metadata is a way of marketing” and “the information designer must care about the searcher’s needs.”
Christy Confetti-Higgins, from Sun Microsystem’s Digital Library and Research Group, gave an impressive demonstration of integrating information and social media tools into the business workflow. Integration is key to maximizing investment, exploiting content and engaging conversation. In one example, she showed how Sun authors had “author chats” in Second Life. The individual examples she showed were interesting on their own, but it was the way they leveraged and integrated content across the board that made the work they are doing so compelling.
Paul Hodengraber, director of the New York Public library, was a lively interviewer for the keynote on day one, and interviewee on day two. He claims his role at the NYPL is to “oxygenate the library.” He sees the library as a lively place of ideas and “embraces the friction of dialog.” Paul was incredibly quotable—he wants to “make the private experience of reading public” through events that he calls “cognitive theater.” His presentation was quite enjoyable.
At this point, I wish I hadn’t taken such good notes, as there is a lot more to digest. But I have to mention two additional topics…
Library Mashups: Exploring New Ways to Deliver Library Data, is a newly released book by Nicole Engard. There was great content here with loads of potential.
Rebecca Jones and Nicole Hennig’s presentation on “Persuasion, Influence, and Innovation” showed that influence skills are critical to our success. (Please refer to Roy Tennant above for the need for success.) Rebecca pointed out that there are three components of influence: clarity of message, competence of the speaker, and making sure you have the requisite relationships in place. Nicole recommended three books on the topic of influence:
- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
- Weird Ideas That Work by Robert Sutton
- The Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas, by G. Richard Shell
There was plenty more to report on (visualization, best science sites, etc.). I’ll let you rest here, just in case you’ve reached a saturation point – as I eventually did!