Friday, February 16, 2007

Online Northwest Conference, Done

Online Northwest 2007 is over, and I'm going to get some impressions down here before my brain cells carry out their threat to stop working for the day.

The conference started off with a keynote address from Stephen Abram, one of the rock stars of the library world, and for good reason. He's reliably visionary and provocative. Here are some highlights from the keynote:

    Google is generally better than we are for "who, what, where" questions, but we are much better at "why" questions, and need to start publicizing that fact.

    Everything is social, and just seems to be getting more so. Libraries need to integrate themselves into our communities, and we should use social networking software to do this - we need to offer RSS feeds (though we don't need to call them RSS feeds), and presence in sites like MySpace and Facebook are necessary if we're going to be relevant to our users.

    "If you don't use IM, you are basically immorally serving your users," not just because it's another viable way to connect, but because the cell phone will be the dominant personal tech device in the very near future and we need to be ready for that.

    Being cute isn't getting us [libraries] anywhere. We have to start demanding money.

So, invigorating.

And kind of a hard act to follow, but I was pleased that Alex and I managed to hold the attention of our audience when we presented on WSU's federated searching tool. We ended up with a lot of good questions, and I'll post the link to our PowerPoint slides soon.

The last session of the day that I attended was "Not a Series of Tubes," By Rachel Bridgewater of WSU Vancouver. This was possibly the clearest delineation of internet copyright and technology policy that I've ever heard, with very good descriptions about how issues like net neutrality affect not just libraries but everyday people who use the web. I'm hoping to link to her presentation materials as soon as they're up, too.

It's been a long day, but my mind is buzzing with new ideas that I get to bring back to work with me, and I'm tickled about this - clearly the sign of a good conference.

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