in General, Libraries/Info Sci, Reviews

Computers in Libraries 2005 – Day 2

When: Wednesday, March 16 2005
Where: Washington Hilton, Washington D.C.
My Role: Attendee

Yes they spelled Pittsburgh wrong. I fixed it with pen.

I was going to post a separate entry for each speaker today, but I probably don’t have enough content from some to warrant full entries. So here we go!

Day two (my first day of taking part) of CIL2005 has been amazing.

After a continental breakfast, Clifford Lynch opened up as today’s keynote speaker. He gave a great general history of the last 20 years in library computer use, as this is the 20th conference. 1985 was the dawn of online catalogs, and he pointed out that around that time both OPACs and ATMs were the average citizen’s introduction to computer use.

The main trend he highlighted is the switch from scarcity to abundance, Especially in the area of online texts. Blogging even produces an abundance of authors and a broader authorship. Potential flashpoints in the future: Intellectual Property, privacy, security, and the persistence of personal history in the Google age.

As an anecdote, I also learned the CiL was originally called “Small Computers in Libraries.” As opposed to mainframes. Seems everybody stopped referring to your average model as ‘Microcomputers’ a ways back.

David King was my first regular speaker of the day, on the topic of “Targeting Library Web Sites to Specific User Groups. I’d met up with Greg of Open Stacks (who recognized me by my nametag) and we attended together. My first major thrill of the day was being introduced to David afterwards and hearing him say “Oh, I read your blog.” And there’s something fun about being introduced as “Chad, of Hidden Peanuts.” Suppose I should talk about the presentation itself…

Really interesting, he laid out his experience with crafting library web pages aimed at specific population segments. “Niche marketing” sums it up nicely. Common sense stuff sort of, but I never would have put it together myself. His library has seen good results from their wide range of targeted pages.

Next was David King and Scherelene Schatz at JerseyClicks & KC Research: Content Gateways. They jointly discussed their federated search projects aimed at specific geographic areas (Kansas City and New Jersey, respectively).

Lunch break! Went to Chipotle with Aaron, David, Greg, Michael, Andrea and a number of other bloggers and people whose names I have already forgotten. I’m horrible in that respect. Great food there, I had a gigantic burrito. I was my quiet self most of the time, but they’re all great people and I’m more comfortable now. Aaron and Michael are both on Library Journal’s Movers & Shakers list this year, so congrats to them!

Next up: Stephen Abram’s What do Gartner’s Predictions Really Mean to Libraries?

This man is hilarious and one of the best public speakers I’ve ever seen. He talked about the next decade as one of gigantic change, similar to the end of the 19th century and start of the 20th. He sees RFID, trusted computing, and other such things as some of the changes coming. He made an interesting point about RFID: It’s harder in libraries. Somewhere like Wal-Mart doesn’t care if the tags die the moment the items leave the stores. In libraries, we want the tags and items back.

Abram also cited one case in Canada where an extensive library instruction program for adults reduced unemployment in the community by 26%!

Designing Navigation that Works was honestly the one let down of the day. The speaker, Louise Gruenberg, was obviously very knowledgable on the topic. However, she completely ran out of time and I feel like the meat of the topic wasn’t really covered. Didn’t come away with much I didn’t already know.

Using LAMP to Make Your Library Shine was really interesting as well. Sensing a theme yet? The three presenters explained the process of implementing a number of open source solutions at SUNY Stony Brook’s medical school. Their demo didn’t function as it should have, but that’s tech for you. Nice to see stuff like a Content Management System being put into such use.

After this was the wine and cheese reception in the vendors’ exhibition hall. It was fun to wander and see the demo models of equipment, but they’re more focused on selling products to libraries than any career-related functions I might be inclined towards. Good wine, and I managed to make a meal out of all the food provided.

Lastly, the day ended with the annual “Looking at Dead & Emerging Technologies” panel discussion. Its borderline library stand up comedy, and a blast to sit through. I can’t really summarize it, you had to be there. See previous post for a bit more on the topic. Nice to have this one after they get everyone liquored up at the reception 🙂

This has been really rambling and I apologize. Tomorrow I’ll try to be more organized. Now I’m off to wander and mingle!

I’ll leave you with this picture:


That’s the line for the e-mail terminals on the vendors’ floor. Very appropriate I thought.