The other week, I attended the Code4Lib 2009 Conference in Providence, R.I. It was an amazing conference for those who work in libraries and with technology. The program was intense providing a wide range of talks for the many levels of tech savvy in the room. Many of the presentations can be downloaded from their 2009 schedule. Two important points came to the forefront for me: library culture and FRBR. I’ll talk about FRBR in my next blog.
In terms of library culture, many libraries have the difficult task of funding and staffing. This has become an increasingly greater problem because of the current economic woes that plague us all. However, many users expect quick and seamless services whether in the physical library or in its digital commonwealth. In terms of the library’s digital commonwealth, this has become an issue. How do we provide more user-friendly, more powerful, OPACs brimming with cool web services? How do we provide seamless access to our digital collections without compromising quality and research?
At Code4Lib, one hope expressed over and over again was to try to get those in decision making places to understand that to create, maintain, and enhance a library’s digital commonwealth takes a large amount of resources not just to complete projects but also to test future possible projects. For library culture, this digital commonwealth is not there to take all the resources from our amazing print collections. It is to add to it as well enhance library services. As with the birth of some of our great libraries with their gorgeous architecture and ornate halls, the same care and detail needs to be put into the library’s digital commonwealth. A fix quick or the fast track to a digital presence might lend itself to cutting corners and creating a digital architecture that will be unstable and inoperable in the long run. How can this be done in libraries that are short on staff or lack the technical expertise?
Two ideas came to the forefront at Code4Lib. Biblios has two very important services. It offers web services and recently an open source cataloging service. Another important service is explaining of to use technology as with the presentation on Djatoka. This is an open source JPEG 2000 image service. More services like this are needed for a community short on funds and staff in many places. Also, these services need to be pitched to those making decisions.
Check out if you dare a youtube video of geeks in the Whatever Room at the Renaissance Hotel talking about various ideas from Tuesday very very late at night. Some of the topics: Freebase and whatever..