Monday, October 23, 2006

IL2006 : Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and More

Paul Miller, Technology Evangelist, Talis

(can i say before I start that Paul's voice is even cuter in person than on the podcast? took me right back to my study abroad days in Dundee--but I digress)

There were about a dozen bloggers in the room here, most of whom with much bigger readerships than I, and they were all very friendly and gracious. Thanks from the 2.0 newbie. :-) Then the presentation started, and Paul proceeded to shift my paradigms--something that has been happening about every other session so far.

The highlight reel:

Library 2.0=Fundamental shift in how libraries approach users--we must integrate INTO WHERE THE USERS ARE.
--Open the Library
--push the library everywhere
--engage with actual AND POTENTIAL users--The system's broken, not the user
--Disaggregate the ILS (this from an ILS vendor!)...and bring systems together
--Shared innovation

Attempts to harness the innovation: the "mashing up the library contest"

What makes Library 2.0 possible?
--Falling cost of storage
--" " of computing power
--growing connectivity
--"camera 2.0"
--commoditization & virtual servers

the 3 Os
--open source,
--open data,
--open APIs (I gotta learn how to do API programming--we need some gadgets for the new website )

The essence of 2.0 is an "architecture of participation", encouraging users to participate in the cataloging process (who just saw their catalogers have a panic attack if they ever heard that Idea?)

"The library is coming down from it's high horse just a bit."

Does your vendor have an open environment/architecture? are they engaging in conversations?

How to create a platform for participation:
--Open SOurce ILS
--Shared Innovation (Talis Keystone)--bolting open-source monules on top of the traditional ILS, enabling connections to the univ. portal,the institution's finance software, etc--2.0 by evolution, not revolution
--OPEN DATA (THIS ROCKED MY WORLD!!!!)--we may wind up with open source software that sends us to proprietary, locked-down data...

THE CURRENT DATA STORAGE MODEL (AKA OCLC, though he didn;t say that flat-out) IS FLAWED!!!!
--Limited data mobility (as my institution is trying to set up a resource sharing scheme with our non-OCLC public library, I know this issue intimately)
--If we don't address the data portability/freedom issues, we're just "putting lipstick on a silo"
--CONTRIBUTION CAN AND SHOULD BE FREE--we can make it mobile and accessible, while policing data integrity (we can rebuild OCLC in open source--we have the technology. we can make it better, stronger, more open...*thwacks self back into sense*)

The coming of the OPEN SYSTEMS--check out the silkworm directory at Talis, and Bigfoot data stores

What open data enables:
--greasemonkey scripts that let you automatically look up amazon or librarything items in the opac
--grouping web service--search multiple library opacs IN ONE SEARCH WINDOW, or build an api widget for that search...
--Aquabrowser for the library portal
--Cenote--mashes multiple opacs and amazon data

Liberate the data
Get the data to the user, not vice versa
Open Thinking
Shared Innovation

My thoughts--WOW. I'm still trying to sort this out in my head, but I think some of these technologies could have some profound implications for my rural-ish, 3-campus university. so what to introduce, how to do it, and how to get buy-in...Watch this space. :-)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

IL2006 Pre-Conference: Searcher's Academy

Short summary: WOW. :-)

Longer description: Greg, Mary-Ellen, Chris, and Gary seriously rocked my world with more new search engines, websites, gadgets, widgets and general internet toys than I could shake a stick at. I will be vetting some of the sites we saw later on and comment with some of my faves, so this can be more useful than just the same list of links you could get from each of their websites. (that's me, trying to provide original content!) All of them were so fervent about the opportunities (and perils) that 2.0 offers searchers, and I found out some nifty tools for searching what I had previously thought unsearchable (like speech-to text technology that lets you search inside podcasts and videos!).

Mary-ellen's presentation on searching 2.0 content was probably the most useful to me today, but Gary's left me extremely inspired about finding out more about the technology behind search engines, and about all the new toys the "big 4" are developing. Search technology seems like it's nearing a tipping point on several fronts, and it behooves us to pay attention to the trends and make sure we're part of the paradigm shift.

I also have to admit that I gained a new level of respect for (and not just because of gary's presentation--he was very neutral...). Still not sure I buy the marketing campaign that it's the "librarian's search engine", or whatever they're saying, but I am going to have to give it a whirl again. That's about it for now, and I'll probably post again tomorrow during breaks from blogger's row in the exhibit center...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

IL2006: Leavin' on a jet plane...

Bags are packed, and I'm leaving for the airport in about an hour. After a lot of waffling back and forth I decided not to take my laptop--It's not particularly light, I don't see myself bringing it to the sessions, and it's a pain to have to deal with @ airport security. That said, there will be plenty of places I can login both at the convention center and @ the hotel, so I'll be typing up my notes at least once or twice daily. I still have a few free lunches, so let me know if you want to get together! See ya in Monterey...

Monday, October 16, 2006

On Vendors

A while back, I spent a lazy friday afternoon noodling around on various training vendors’ websites at the request of my boss, looking for some web design courses for myself and a coworker to update our java and flash skills for an impending website redesign. I checked a few sites and bookmarked a link or two. By that next week another project had come up to a boil, and the web redesign that had sparked the search for cheap web-based training had been postponed anyway, so I shifted the whole thing to my someday/maybe queue and moved on.

Three weeks (and a 10-day vacation in China) later, I get a call from a perky sales rep from some company called, oh… let’s say “Train-O-Rama Enterprises.” The weird thing is, she knows my name and number, and the portions of the website I surfed. (and no, I did NOT fill out a contact me form). All I can figure is she tracked me through the library website as I was shopping from my work domain. Anyway, the point is she’s trying to hard-sell me on a product that I barely remember looking at.

I try to shrug her off for over five minutes, but she is simply not getting the hint. She’s already left 3 messages on my machine, so I know she’s not going to go away on her own. And honestly, I was too bloody jetlagged for it to occur to me to show the same level of courtesy to her that she was showing to me and simply hang up on her. I sigh resignedly, agree to have a web demo of their “brilliant” Java training curriculum, she schedules me for a time when the trainer can call me (WHY can’t I walk through this myself with a 24-hour trial login, I wonder, if they’re going through their traffic stats with a fine-toothed comb in order to make cold calls?) Over the ensuing 2 weeks between that conversation and the demo, I get one phone call and two reminder emails.

The punch line: The demo was scheduled for 1:00 today, my time. As I type this it is now 1:48. No call. No email. No trainer. And…no sale (not that there was much risk of that anyway). They’ve had their 15 minutes grace and then some. And if a vendor can’t figure out what time it is in the central time zone to make a pre-scheduled SALES CALL, should we really assume they’ll be any more competent with our invoices? So, now I’m going to just go get a mocha from the coffee bar, and then sit back and crank through some paperwork—and let the phone roll to voicemail. :-)